Small cars are easy to drive, park, and easy on the pocket. There is plenty of choice when it comes to small cars and prices vary wildly from brand to brand. Honda’s original Fit, with first model year 2001, quickly became admired for its clever use of interior space and easy-to-drive manners.
The Fit, like Hondas tend to be, is one of the premium models in its class, but that did not hold it back when it came to popularity. The second generation arrived in 2007 and built on the first generation and the success it enjoyed. There was a new body, although it looked much like the old one that had proved well-liked, particularly with women buyers who were taken with the styling. The same two engines continued to be offered, but they were revised. Everything about the second generation Fit has “better” as part of the description. Of course we cannot overlook the fact that Honda as a brand is still behind Toyota in terms of mindshare in Uganda
Broadly speaking, the original concept was retained and why not? But despite looking pretty similar to the car it replaced, it was an all-new design. The tiny footprint makes parking a breeze. In terms of looks, the second generation Fit is quite polarising with sharp lines and typical Honda look.
The very short chiselled bonnet flanked by the large headlights gives the car a modern look that would and has stood the test of time. Most used examples from Japan come with steel rims and wheel caps, a choice that was by design to help stay within budget. Proper sport rims are bound to exponentially increase the street cred of the Fit when employed. Otherwise, in silver, it is a handsome car.
Honda is a car maker that never appears to waste much time looking at what its rivals are doing. It is a company with a well-developed picture of the way things should be done and rather than obsessing over the competition, it gets on with doing them. For a nation obsessed with Toyota, you are bound to find Honda interiors different. These interiors invariably turn out to work and work well. For instance, the rear seats cantilever down when you lower the backrests so they lie completely flat giving huge boot space.
When the rear seats are in place, a six-foot passenger can sit behind a similar-sized driver without their knees touching the seat in front. All the seats are also mounted higher than they are in smallest hatchbacks to make it easier to get in and out. Standard equipment includes a CD stereo with MP3 compatibility and speed-dependant volume control.
Engine and driving dynamics
Light steering makes the Honda Fit quite effortless to drive in town. However, the firm suspension is evident compared to the competition. Some might like this whereas others might find it discomforting. There were two engines offered; a 1.3-litre producing 99 horsepower and a 1.5-litre outputting 118 horsepower.
From the Japanese used car market, these were mated to a CVT transmission although in 4WD models, there was a five-speed automatic. Manuals were mostly for the European Market. The Fit is not in the slightest a sporty car, it was never meant to be. Practicality and manoeuvrability are the two things that it does better than the vast majority of its rivals.
The Fit may not be the first choice on a shortlist of used mini cars but it definitely merits a look. With solid build quality, a super economical engine and plenty of space inside, it makes a different choice to the usual run of the mill alternatives and at prices which are starting to look a steal, you will not be penalised for your individuality.
Would you pick the Fit over the Toyota Vitz? Well that should come down to a few tiebreakers. The Toyota shall surely have higher resale value, not by much but the initial price of admission is higher as well. If you can overlook the resale value and the rarer replacement parts, in favour of a cheap, extremely practical and fuel economical car, then the Fit should be on your list.