Sunday, June 11, 2006

Pondering the new Honda Fit

I joined Andrew for Bill Maher on Saturday at D.A.R. Constitution Hall in DC, which turned out to be a much funnier show than I expected. Since I only have six months left on my car ballon, the conversation turned to possible replacements at the end of the evening.

I drive less these days, so I'm considering some more obvious choices like an Impreza Wagon (minus the WRX-part) and a VW Golf (Rabbit). I've also had some far less obvious choices stuck in my head like the Honda Fit or a Scion xA, with the likelyhood in mind that once I test drive either car, I'll probably still end up with another Impreza. Andrew brought up the Yaris, which I didn't even know existed, but his thinking was that he wouldn't be comfortable with a friend driving something as small as a Fit or a Yaris should it face-off against something much bigger.

Curious as to how big or small these cars are, I did some research on Edmunds:

The Washington Post had this to say:

Here is a car that is 20 inches shorter than the Honda Civic, previously the smallest car sold in America, but that has as much interior space as the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. The Fit's cabin is multi-configurable, meaning it can be changed around several ways to accommodate maximum hauling of stuff or people. It is family friendly.

As I often do with such vehicles, I enlisted the aid of Ria Manglapus, a neighbor, fellow Post employee and family friend, to give the Fit a real-world shakeout. Ria has two sons -- 11-year-old Q and Bori, 16 -- who keep her running from home to school and myriad places in between. Her taxi duties also include the hauling of equipment such as long bamboo kendo swords and musical instruments. She normally does all of the running around in her Honda Odyssey minivan.

But she managed to do with the Fit everything she could do with the substantially larger, more fuel-thirsty Odyssey. "I think I'll trade in my minivan," she said.

I was impressed, too. In the past, "small" often meant "cheap" and "boring" in automobiles. The Fit proves that is no longer the case. It is a zippy front-wheel-drive rascal with a 1.5-liter, 109-horsepower, in-line four-cylinder engine that uses regular unleaded gasoline. It maneuvers easily through city traffic and fits neatly in tight urban parking spaces. It is charmingly ugly, eliciting the affection one might have for a bulldog.

Ha! I get it. Bulldogs are ugly, but they're kind of cute in their uglyness.

In any event, Andrew and I agree we need to test drive a Fit and just what the thing is all about. I have until October to decide what I'll be tooling around town in when my WRX goes buh-bye.


Justin said...

Bill M. is a raging asshole. He treats waiters like slaves.

Mike said...

I dunno....the man-factor on the Fit looks to be only a 5, versus your current WRX at 7. Although, I am a Honda fan and regular gas is cheap(er). I think the deciding factor for you should be that Ria can fit her sons' long bamboo kendo swords and musical instruments inside -- almost exactly the types of stuff you haul around. ;)