The Honda Fit: A TechnoRide on the Cheap

 
 
By Bill Howard  |  Posted 2006-05-29
 
 
 

The Honda Fit: A TechnoRide on the Cheap


"Why dont we review more affordable cars?" asked my editor-in-chief. "Because they dont have as much technology as, say, the $100,000 Mercedes S-Class," I rejoined. It was a Mexican standoff, and I blinked. Besides, Jim had a good point.



Click here to read the full review of the Honda Fit.

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"Why dont we review more affordable cars?" asked my editor-in-chief. "Because they dont have as much technology as, say, the $100,000 Mercedes S-Class," I rejoined. It was a Mexican standoff, and I blinked. Besides, Jim had a good point.

The Honda Fit is a good vehicle for proving both our points. Cheap cars dont have a boatload of shock-and-awe technology. But the just-out Fit, around $15,000, has quickly become the best cheap car you can buy. I arrived at a rating of 4 (out of 5) by way of simple math: technology wizardry, 3; traditional automotive bang-for-the-buck excellence, 5; average, 4.

Having said all that, the Fit is an excellent platform for adding your own technology. Id say the same about the Ford Fusion, except that the Fusion is an okay car platform with a neat hybrid engine, and the Fit is leading edge. The Fit Sport, $15,720 with the manual gearbox, is so much fun to drive that it reminds me of the Mini Cooper, but with a real back seat and a real cargo bay. And, alas, with less horsepower.

Good Audio Technology

The Fit (called the Jazz elsewhere in the world) has a reasonable audio system, with huge buttons and dials. It plays audio, MP3, and WMA CDs. And on the Fit Sport, theres six-disc changer, a line-in jack, and six speakers to reproduce the 200 watts of audio power.

The faceplate displays MP3 and WMA folder, album, artist, and track information, but only one type of information at a time even though there appears to be room enough on the multi-line display for all of it. You can add an iPod adapter for $199 at the dealership; you cannot add satellite radio through Honda, though theres room aplenty for a $50 XM or Sirius add-on module through the line-in jack.

As with the Honda Civic Hybrid, which we liked enough to name as one of the top ten Digital Drive cars, the Fits sound was most impressive with the tone controls set to flat. When you turn up the treble too much, it gets tinny.

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