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The 2007 Honda Fit doesn't look a car that would inspire jealousy in the hearts of onlookers. But if the window sticker was still attached, it would definitely do so, as this car is an excellent value for the money. The Honda Fit is just now making its debut in the United States, but it has been tooling around roads in Europe and Asia for some time. Honda hopes this new addition will be fit (pardon the pun) for a fan base here in the States.
The most impressive feature of the Honda Fit is its incredible interior space. Both front- and backseats fold down into several different configurations, so it can schlep stuff of just about any size. The car is also surprisingly zippy, as long as it's relatively empty and driving on a flat surface. But once it gets weighed down or enters hilly territory, the 1.5-liter engine that could turns into the little engine that might if the throttle is depressed hard enough. The small power train yields big benefits at the gas pump, however; the Fit's high gas-mileage will be easy on the wallet. Its emission rating is OK but could be better for a car with such a small engine.
The stereo's auxiliary input and ability to play MP3 CDs are just the start of its MP3-friendliness. It's a good-sounding system for an economy car and uses interesting and unique controls. Unfortunately, these controls also make it hard to stick an aftermarket system into the dash. Furthermore, navigation and Bluetooth aren't available.
Pricing for the 2007 Honda Fit starts at $13,850. Our Fit Sport model with automatic transmission and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters was $15,970, not including destination charge or tax.
Despite its diminutive proportions, the 2007 Honda Fit feels incredibly roomy inside. The configurable interior features a high roof and fold-down seats to accommodate passengers and cargo of varying sizes.
The cockpit is outfitted with slick dark-blue-backlit gauges, which are a nice change from the duller dash colors of yesteryear. The sporty steering wheel is surprisingly comfortable and easy to grip, and it has buttons to set the cruise control but none for the audio system.
The front seats are comfortable on short drives but lack a wide range of adjustability otherwise. One manual lever under the lower cushion moves the seat forward and back, and another lever on the side reclines the seat. The lack of lumbar support could prove problematic on long road trips.
Rear space is a sight to behold when the back 60/40-split Magic Seat is stowed. The Honda Web site shows a photo of an alpaca in the back seat of the Fit, but we weren't able to verify whether the car could indeed carry farm animals. We did, however find that the backseat provides enough room for two adults to kick back and stretch out. Cup holders in the rear doors and the back of the center console ensure that drinks are close by and easy to access. Legroom is adequate even for large adults, as long as the front seats are moved up slightly.
The Honda Fit's stereo uses a unique circular button arrangement for mode selection.
The blue-backlit, 200-watt stereo system looks cool. The in-dash CD player supports burned discs in both MP3 and Windows Media (WMA) format, and it displays ID3 track information. The stereo controls are well laid out, with a large unique knob surrounded by mode buttons. Unfortunately, this arrangement is not aftermarket-friendly; it would take a lot of custom work to shoehorn another stereo into this dashboard. An auxiliary jack near the 12-volt DC power adapter allows for easy hookup of a portable music player. But other gadgets such as satellite radio, GPS navigation, and Bluetooth integration are conspicuously missing. The Sport's six-speaker setup offers decent sound, and preset EQ modes may be selected to suit different types of music. The nomenclature on the last feature, however, is a bit baffling; we couldn't figure out what exactly Smooth music was.
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.
Paddle shifters behind the wheel spokes let drivers select the gear for the automatic transmission.
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.