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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2010 HONDA FIT REVIEW

2010 Honda Fit (select to view enlarged photo)
2010 Honda Fit

See Also: Honda Buyers Guide
See Also: A More Perfect Fit
See Also: E-Carmony: Is The Honda Fit Your Perfect Match?

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HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE HONDA FIT VEHICLE

The Honda Fit is a 5-door hatchback compact aimed to please and surprise drivers with its spunk and spaciousness. Largely unchanged from last year’s redesign, the 2010 model is still holds a small price tag of under $20k but offers big technology features like a voice-recognizing navigation system.

I drove a 2010 Honda Fit Sport with Navigation with a topped-out price tag of $19,110. The 1.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine produces 117 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 106 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm. The base Fit begins at $14,900 and the Fit Sport at $16,410. Standards at the base level begin with a 4-speaker 160-watt audio system with MP3 playback capability and 10 beverage holders. The Fit Sport adds two more speakers to the audio system, 16-inch alloy wheels and remote entry, more body-colored exterior pieces like a rear roofline spoiler and an underbody kit plus all automatic transmission models feature sports car-inspired paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel.

The Sport Fit has all the above plus two very important features: the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice-recognizing software and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control. What makes the Fit fun is that there are dozens of fun accessories to personalize your Fit, from interior illumination lights to custom alloy wheels. No matter the Fit you choose, you get 57.3 cu-ft of storage space when the “Magic Seat” is folded down in the rear.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: I took the Fit on a camping trip and with the second-row seats (or Magic Seat) folded down create a cargo floor with 57.3 cu-ft of storage space, I was able to fit a full-sized tent, a couple coolers, boxes of groceries, a Coleman stove and a small boat – wait – and overnight bags plus sleeping gear. What’s great about driving the Fit is the passenger and driver don’t feel cramped. Significant legroom and elongated dash design that stretches the windshield creates an illusion of excellent cabin space. Honda’s navigation system isn’t going to win any graphic design awards and the touch-screen commands are slow to respond, but you can still count on ending up at the correct destination.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2010 Honda Fit earned 5-star crash ratings in frontal for driver and passenger and side for driver with the National Highway Safety Transportation Association (NHSTA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) granted the Fit scores of Good in frontal and side impact crash results with rear crash protection for head and seat restraints also receiving Good ratings. The Fit received more 5-star crash-test ratings for frontal impact performance from J.D. Power and Associates. Safety highlights on the Honda Fit include: Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure; Standard anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD); Dual-stage multiple-threshold front airbags; Dual front-side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); and Side-curtain airbags.

Cost Issues: One of the most attractive qualities about the Fit is a base price tag of $14,900 and $19,110 when equipped with the navigation and assorted interior and exterior and features. Although the compact doesn’t possess the same charisma as the MINI Cooper or a smaller VW, it doesn’t have as high of a cost to maintain.

Activity & Performance Ability: It’s the Fit’s versatility and fun-to-drive characteristics that far outweigh acceleration capabilities, which kind of fall flat. Yet when tooling along at steady speeds, the Fit swerves inclined corners and climbs steeper curves with surprising ease. You’ll praise the Fit’s mysterious size versatility when sneaking it into miniscule parking spots or packing it full with camping gear for a weekend for two. And like most Hondas, the Fit’s brake response displayed stop-on-a-dime traits.

The Green Concern: When equipped with the 5-speed manual transmission, the Fit achieves an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy rating of 27 mpg city and 33 miles per gallon. The 5-speed automatic transmission achieves 28 mpg city and 35 mpg highway.

FINAL PARTING WORDS: There’s a lot to love about the Honda Fit, from its spacious rear cargo area to its more than affordable price. Unlike a lot of trendier compact cars, the Fit focuses on delivering the driver true versatility before anything else.

©2010 Katrina Ramser