At a Glance
Big on flexibility, efficiency and reliability, the Honda Fit found homes in the driveways of thousands of active Canadians, students, busy couples, pet lovers and outdoors buffs alike. It’s good on gas. Small. Easy to park. Put a roof-rack on it, and it’s got nearly as much cargo room as an SUV.
The spiritual successor to the Civic Hatchback, Honda’s Fit launched in Canada for 2007 with a cleverly-designed body and cabin that translated into a whole boatload of space in a small package.
All Honda Fit trim levels, namely the DX, LX and Sport, feature standard power windows, tilt and telescopic steering, up to eight beverage holders and a fuel consumption display. Air conditioning is available on every model where it isn’t standard. Safety is covered by an advanced antilock braking system, active headrests and side curtain airbags on all models. A brand-new Fit is scheduled for launch later this year, which means the original generation models are now fully transitioned into used-car territory.
Choosing a used Honda Fit is easy – just track down the trim grade you want, and decide if you’re after an automatic or manual transmission. In either case, you get five forward gears. Note that the Fit’s manual transmission features a light and easy clutch, making it a forgiving, easy-to-drive setup.
Also, note that for 2009, a facelift enhanced the Fit’s looks and cabin considerably, and bumped horsepower from the 1.5L engine from 109 to 117. You’ll find an all-around more upscale package in a 2009 or newer model as a result, if your budget allows it. The 2009 update also saw changes that helped the Fit earn a “Top Safety Pick” rating from the IIHS. Translation? Choose a 2009 or newer model if possible.
Fit owners tend to rave about mileage, versatility, handling, braking, maneuverability, visibility, ergonomics, and a surprising level of on-board roominess, despite the machine’s compact size. In fact, Fit won a ‘Best New Design’ award, partly for delivering huge space in a compact package. In all, Fit is reported to be an easy car to drive, park and live with on a day to day basis.
Fit owners sometimes complain of a noisy engine and ride, abrupt ride characteristics, as well as diminished performance when the vehicle is loaded up. Seats in the pre-facelifted models are commonly accused of being uncomfortable – a fact which your writer can back up. As the owner of a 2008 Fit LX, it’s the only car I’ve ever driven that requires a pillow to compensate for the complete lack of lumbar support.
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Check 1: Body and Paint
Inspect your potential used Fit candidate for signs of damaged or peeling paint, which is likely most prevalent on the front and rear bumpers. Many owners taking to the web to share ownership experiences say they wish for a more durable paint finish.
Check for signs of rust, or repaired rust, around the rear wheelwells where the steel body panel meets the bumper – especially in first generation models. Other areas to check for corrosion include the lower, inner edges of the trunk and doors, the edge of the hood, and around the hatch-latch. Be sure the rear bumper is properly attached too – not suffering from sag on account of a broken attachment clip.
Check 2: The Tailgate
Spend a moment inspecting the tailgate. Be sure it stays open on its own, even when you apply slight downwards pressure at the edge when it’s open. You’re confirming that the struts that lift and support the tailgate aren’t worn. While you’re looking at the tailgate, be sure the first-generation Fit has a properly-functioning external release latch. If it sticks or fails to open the hatch, an occasional blast of WD-40 can help until you wind up replacing the assembly.
Check 3: Rear Floor Water Leak
Press your hand into the carpeting in front of the rear seats, feeling for signs of moisture or dampness, which could be caused by a problem with the drainage system in the rear doors. In a nutshell, heavy rain could overwhelm the drainage system, allowing water to overflow inside of the structure of the door and leak into the car.
Check 4: Engine Electronics
Note that lumpy or hesitant power delivery at moderate or full throttle may be the result of a failed coil pack, which fire the Fit’s spark plugs. This issue could cause a code to be stored in the engine’s computer, or a check-engine light to illuminate – so be sure to have the Fit’s computer brain scanned by a mechanic if you note an issue.
Another issue to be on the watch for is failure of the engine’s VTEC valve-timing system. At full throttle, the Fit should pull strongly, eagerly and smoothly to near redline. If the revs seem to struggle to climb past about 4,000 at full throttle, the VTEC system is likely not engaging, which is probably the result of a failed or failing VTEC solenoid. Replacing the solenoid isn’t a terribly difficult or expensive job.
Used car shoppers can expect the Fit to command a premium in the used market, in exchange for above-average reliability, versatility and driving pleasure. Seek a mechanical thumbs-up from a Honda mechanic ahead of your purchase, and then buy confidently.
autoTRADER.ca Owner Review
2007 Honda Fit: “This car has been a dream!. It has excellent handling in winter driving, good traction and is very peppy! Although it looks small from the outside it is so spacious .. last year it even "fit" my 7-foot Christmas tree - inside the car! Passengers are always surprised by the room and comfort of this car. It's never given me any problems. I changed the brakes about a year ago, and other than this + regular maintenance, I haven't had a hitch. Best bang for my buck ever!”
by M-Fit on autoTRADER.ca 04/19/2013
Autos.ca Review Quotes and Links
2007 Honda Fit: “The 2007 Honda Fit Sport adds a little style to what is probably the most practical small hatchback on the market. Honda Fit highlights are a roomy interior and cargo area and a fuel-efficient and quiet engine. Dislikes include no variable intermittent wipers, no intermittent setting for the rear wiper; no locking gas cap, and no standard privacy cover.”
- Greg Wilson/Autos.ca
2009 Honda Fit: “The Fit impressed me in every way. On the weekend I spent four hours on highway and it was smooth, not really affected by winds and was quiet. The engine does turn over 3,500rpm at approximately 115km/h, but it is barely audible — and cranking up the iPod took care of what little noise there was!”
- James Bergeron/Autos.ca