Welcome to a brand new world-a world where the Civic is no longer the smallest car in the Honda lineup. So basically, welcome to what it's like everywhere else in the world.
Five years after its launch in Asia and Europe, the Honda Fit is finally coming to America. Following the graffiti-sprayed path paved by Scion, Honda is releasing the five-door hatchback version of its globalized Fit this spring. There are two trims to choose from: the plain, normal Fit and a sportier version, called Fit Sport. Both will be powered by a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder SOHC VTEC, pumping out 109 hp.
It's not the sexiest powerplant in the world, but the power-to-weight ratio seems to have more potential than the Civic.
In Japan, the Fit comes with two transmissions, a 5-speed manual and a 7-speed CVT Multimatic (which means it has shift buttons on the steering wheel). For the States, Honda is going with a 5-speed auto tranny, while offering the paddle shifters (though not the 7-speed CVT) on Fit Sport models. Don't worry, we'll also get the stick.
At the North American International Auto Show unveiling, Honda kept quiet on details like suspension, curb weight and dimensions, but don't expect many structural changes between the USDM Fit and what's available in Japan and Europe. That means MacPherson struts and an anti-roll bar up front, and rear trailing arms with torsion beams and a rear anti-roll bar.
The compact suspension system falls in line with Honda's new low center-of-gravity design philosophy. Reviews from Europe have raved about the chassis setup and handling, so we're expecting good things. The seats fold flat for more cargo space. The Fit also comes with standard dual front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, standard ABS, standard power windows, mirrors, door locks and A/C.
No word on pricing. Honda says it will come in under the Civic, so expect it in the $13,000 - $15,000 price range.
'07 Honda FitEngine: 1.5-liter SOHC VTECHorsepower: 109 bhp @ 5,800Torque: 105 lb-ft @ 4,800Transmission: 5-speed MT/5-speed AT
B SeasonComparing the Fit with the other new B-segment cars.
The Nissan Versa boasts above-average headroom and a deceptively large amount of interior space. With 120 bhp, it comes with far more power than the other three Japanese B-segments.
Engine: 1.8-liter DOHCMax power: 120 bhpMax torque: 125 lb-ftTransmision: 6-speed manual or Xtronic CVTInterior: 94.4 cu-ft.
The Yaris liftback might be the best-looking B-segment of the bunch. But it also has less interior room than the Versa. Power and torque numbers are comparable to the Fit.
Engine: 1.5-liter DOHC with VVT-IMax power: 106 hpMax torque: 103 lb-ft Transmission: 5-speed manual or 4-speed ECTInterior: 84.1 cu-ft (liftback)