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A Review Of The 2011 Honda Fit

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On: Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 1:54PM | By: Mary McRae

A Review Of The 2011 Honda Fit

Honda stepped away from the subcompact car segment that helped build the brand so long ago, but Honda has recently rejoined the game with its five-door Fit.

The Fit goes back to what made Honda popular in the first place—back to its roots, a vehicle that stays true to all the elements that made the Civic so popular—however, with the modern day comforts and safety features that were not available during the Civic's childhood. A car that is cute, frugal, fun-to-drive, and, above all, is reliable; again, back to the roots of the Civic. The Fit was created to challenge the new kids on the block such as Scion, Hyundai, and MINI, in addition to Toyota's econo-box Yaris sedan.

Even though the Fit is priced a little higher than most of the competition, Honda is designed with a substantial number of standard features, plus one attribute you will not find on any option list: Excellent resale value.

Offering one of the largest cargo holds in the class, innovative interior storage options, good fuel economy, and spunky performance, the 2011 Honda Fit is hard to ignore. Finding a compact car that will "fit" four full-size adults may not be easy; nevertheless the Fit can do exactly that plus more. Fold the Fit's rear seat flat, and the interior offers a decent 57.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity, more than either the Nissan Versa or Kia Rio5. For optimum cargo hauling, the Fit's front seat may be folded flat, providing enough space for items as much as seven feet, nine-inches long.

The 35-mpg Fit offers good fuel economy, excellent resale and reliability ratings, and legendary Honda build quality. As the 2011 Best Hatchback for the Money, it is the also the best hatchback for your buck. Honda's Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) is included in the Fit's standard equipment, as are cruise control and remote keyless entry, plus a USB audio interface. The Fit Sport gains carpeted floor mats and four new colors are included in the car's color palate.

You usually don’t expect an economy car to handle all that great; we were pleasantly surprised by its agile handling, precise steering, and lack of body roll and lean in the turns. Add the Sport Trim Package with the larger wheels and tires and rear stabilizer bar and the experience behind the Fit's wheel gets even better.

Acceleration onto the freeway or darting across intersections was no problem, but the Fit’s little powerplant can struggle with moderate inclines; if you live in a mountainous region this could be an issue for you. Even though the Fit was eager to tackle the highways and by ways for us, we suggest the Sport models that are outfitted with the automatic transmission that feature paddle shifters which can make downshifting for passing or merging a snap. But I would also suggest taking a good look at the short throw five-speed manual transmission for all-around driving fun! After all, it's not just getting from point A to point B; it's the journey that matters...

Our favorite features included the Satellite Navigation: The available touch-screen navigation system includes a voice recognition feature that allows you to speak, rather than typing in commands. Without ever removing your hands from your steering wheel, you can control the navigation, locate the closest service station, even find restaurants by genre. We also really enjoyed the USB connectivity: With this universally accepted connection, the Fit can accommodate portable audio players and USB storage devices which may be controlled through the car's audio system.

Where some recent Honda vehicles have been criticized for their conservative interiors, the Fit earns no such censure. Looking at the super cool dash and blue-lit instrument cluster, plus the deeply sculpted door panels and seats, the 2011 Honda Fit is designed with a fun and functional interior.

The tall roof line and doors make it easy for tall people to climb in and out. With the ample use of glass, especially forward of the front door, gives everyone inside a clear, unobstructed view. The Fit's long wheelbase provides maximum interior room, as well as a more stable and comfy ride. Toss in the Sport trim's 16-inch alloy wheels, color-key lower body kit, and rear spoiler, and the economically minded Fit looks like anything but a boring sub compact.

The base 2011 Honda Fit includes a five-speed manual transmission, power door locks and windows, power mirrors, a rear wiper/washer, 15-inch wheels with full covers, 60/40-split second-row Magic Seat with under-seat storage, cruise control, remote keyless entry, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, a 160-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with four speakers, a USB audio interface, and an auxiliary audio input jack. Safety measures include dual front airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags, electronic traction and stability control (VSA), anti-lock brakes, and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD).

The 2011 Honda Fit also offers some impressive upgrade options: One trim up is the Sport, which includes a security system, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, color-key side mirrors, chrome exhaust finishers, a six-speaker audio system, and, with the automatic transmission, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Exterior upgrades include an underbody kit, a roofline spoiler, fog lights, rear stabilizer bar, and 16-inch alloy wheels. The Sport trim can even be ordered with Honda's satellite-linked navigation with voice recognition software. An automatic transmission is available for both trims.

The 2011 Honda Fit has a 1.5-liter engine furnished with Honda's advanced i-VTEC system. The i-VTEC varies the intake and exhaust valve events, which in turn enhances performance while still achieving good fuel economy and low emissions. The Fit also comes in two different flavors: Manual and automatic. The automatic version uses a three-mode system: a standard drive mode; a sport mode, which holds off shifting gears for maximum performance; and a manual mode, which allows the driver to shift gears using the paddle shifters.

Specifications & Pricing

• 1.5-liter in-line four

• 117 horsepower @ 6600 rpm

• 106 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm

• EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/33 (manual, Sport automatic), 28/35 (automatic)

• The 2011 Honda Fit has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $15,800 with the five-speed manual.

• Models equipped with the automatic transmission add about $800 on the base price.

• The MSRP for the Sport trim starts closer to $17,500 as well as a fully loaded model with navigation tops out approximately the $20,000 mark.

• As for residual values, we expect the Fit to be comparable to the Toyota Yaris and Scion xD, but better over time than the Chevrolet Aveo5, Nissan Versa and Kia Rio5.

While the Honda Fit's price seems steep for a subcompact, this is one in name and exterior size only; it's actually a small wagon that challenges some compact SUVs for room while getting far better fuel economy.

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DipStick | 12:09PM (Tue, Jun 21, 2011)

What a surprise. Small on the outside, the FIT is large on the inside, behaving as a small minivan! Sporty looking, standard safety features usually found in higher priced vehicles, excellent mileage.
The paddle shifter is a neat innovation, giving the car extra power when you need it

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