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From the logbook: Honda Fit

Consumer Reports News: December 04, 2008 02:20 PM

We’ve had two redesigned Fits in our test fleet for several months now and have accrued many miles driving them. (Read our detailed First Drive report.) We bought a manual-transmission Sport model ($16,730) and an automatic Base ($16,020). The Fits were in high demand, requiring us to go out of state to buy them.

While this blog is about the Honda Fit, I can’t help mentioning the Smart ForTwo. You see, when I’m asked about the Smart, the Fit constantly comes up since it’s a natural alternative. Our Smart set us back $15,355. For just a little more money than the attention-grabbing Smart, Honda’s small, four-door hatchback seats three more people, has loads more cargo room, a smoother ride and a better transmission. So far, we’ve regularly seen 40 mpg or more on the highway, regardless of which transmission you choose. Plus – and this is a deal breaker for some – the Smart requires premium fuel; the Fit gladly drinks regular.

Here are candid logbook comments from our Auto Test Center team. And, no, these Hondas are not giving us “fits”…

“Brilliant little car: comfy, efficient, cheap and fun.”

“[Automatic model] drives well – adequate power (better than before at climbing hills) but merging takes planning.”

“[Manual transmission] needs to be shifted often to get the most power from the engine.”

“Enjoyable handling but the ride is somewhat choppy.”

“[Sport model] has crisper handling than the Base, but ride is stiffer.”

“Good steering; handling remains excellent – especially for an entry-level model.”

“Driving position is MUCH better than before – enough foot room and telescoping steering wheel helps, despite its minimal range.”

“Comfortable seat over the long haul.”

“Pretty noisy on the highway.”

“Surprisingly high amounts of squeaks and rattles in the cargo area and around the front dash.”

“Lots of room inside; flexible interior with innovative seat-folding technology is being applied in this generation.”

“Controls are excellent.”

“Not a lot of content [with the Base model]: no remote locks or cruise control.”

“Fit and finish is good for a budget car.”

“Give the Fit ESC and a 6th gear and it would be all the car I need.”

“[Sport model] is almost as much fun as driving a Mini. Awesome car.”

“This Honda blows the Smart into the weeds.”

As you can tell, we like both Fits a lot. They’re good at many things, from cargo/people carrying and zippy performance to good fuel economy. One comment seems to sum up the strength of the Fit: “Hard to believe it’s so roomy inside…makes all those small SUVs look silly.” No, the Fit won’t tow a boat, but it can do just about anything else.

--Mike Quincy

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