Vent and AC controls work well and are easy to use, although the Fit doesn't have a more sophisticated climate control system, as found in other cars. The knobs and vents feel a bit flimsy, but they aren't bad for a car of this price. The vast size of the sliding control that opens and closes the fresh air vent raised a few eyebrows among staffers; we thought it an odd use of valuable real estate on the center display. The rear defroster must be switched off manually, which can lead to accidental overuse for those of us accustomed to hitting a button once and forgetting about it.
Although the interior is for the most part cleverly designed, large quantities of plastic and fabric still give the Honda Fit an entry-level feel. The glove compartment offers plenty of space, but a skinny shelf cut into the area above the glove compartment had us scratching our heads trying to figure out what it was for. The center console lacks an enclosed storage compartment, but a long, narrow opening fits a cell phone or other small odds and ends.
Don't judge the 2007 Honda Fit strictly by the numbers. The 109-horsepower, 1.5-liter, VTEC four-cylinder engine puts out a mere 105 pound-feet of torque but feels quite peppy off the line. Once the car is cruising, however, it strains to muster up power for freeway merges and steep inclines. The pedal hits the metal especially hard when the car is full of cargo.
The car handles amazingly well around town. Cornering is stable and tight, and the steering wheel responds nicely with minimal input. The power-assisted ventilated front disc/rear drum brakes engage succinctly and with little pressure.
The five-speed automatic transmission suffers from some lag time between shifts, even in Sport mode. The paddle shifters are fun, but the car takes over and automatically shifts up or down if the driver fails to hit a paddle within a designated RPM range. While this is helpful for people who aren't used to manually changing gears, it's annoying for those of us who prefer to shift near redline.
Cruise control is easy to set but feels a little jerky. We could feel the car constantly speeding up and slowing down to maintain speed.
Wallet- and eco-conscious consumers will be pleased with the 2007 Honda Fit's EPA ratings. Cars with the manual transmission get an estimated 33mpg in the city and 38mpg on the highway, while automatics get 31mpg in the city and 38mpg on the highway. Our automatic Sport model achieved a documented 31mpg in the city and 37mpg on the highway. In addition, the Honda Fit is a LEV II low-emissions vehicle. Previously, the EPA rated LEV II vehicles an 8 out of 10 (with 10 being the cleanest) on its air pollution score, but newer, stricter standards have caused the rating for these types of vehicles to fall to a 6 out of 10. We would expect a car of this size that gets such good gas mileage to score better on its emissions rating.
The 2007 Honda Fit features good passive safety but lacks electronic roadholdling technologies. The car comes standard with dual-stage, dual-threshold front air bags, as well as side-impact air bags for both the driver and front passenger. Side curtain air bags help protect occupants in the event of a rollover. The chassis is built with side-impact door beams for added rigidity and energy absorption. Families will like the outboard lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH) and the childproof rear door locks.
The front-disc/rear-drum brakes come standard with electronic brake distribution and ABS, although we didn't feel much pulsation in the pedal during some hard braking tests. In one instance, we were even able to get one of the front wheels to lock. The car also lacks traction or stability control, features that come standard on the slightly pricier Scion xB.
The 2007 Honda Fit offers a basic three-year/36,000-mile warranty. The power train is covered for five years/60,000 miles, and rust is covered for five years.