2013 Honda Fit Review
I just bought a new car a couple of months ago and I thought I would share my thoughts on my car seeing as this was a huge change from anything I have owned before. I'll give you some background on my previous cars. They were all Buick LeSabre's. My first car was a '92 LeSabre Custom that my parents got for me for commuting to school in 1998. I had that car until 2004 when the repair bills were just getting too large. I bought a 2004 LeSabre that year with some pressure from my parents. I was looking at Hondas back then, but they persuaded me to get the LeSabre. I got a good deal on it and it was a decent reliable car. I never had any major issues with it, but my 22 year old self was not thrilled with the car at the time. That car was taken prematurely. In 2008, I was rear ended by a drunk driver and the car was destroyed. Fortunately, I walked away from it with a little soreness and a concussion (although the concussion's effects lingered for a couple of years after the accident.) After the 2004 LeSabre was destroyed, I decided to essentially pick up where I left off and bought low milage 2005 LeSabre. That car ran pretty well initially, but I had to dump alot of money into for repairs. I had to replace the A/C compressor, an intake manifold gasket, a passenger side air bag sensor, and a transmission cooler line. The cooler line is what did ultimately led me to getting rid of the car. The shop that replaced the cooler line power flushed the transmission afterwards and blew a bunch of junk from the pan into the solenoids. After the "repair," what was once a smooth shifting transmission would intermittently shift incredibly hard. It would do it every few weeks and it would sounds like I was hitting a pothole every time it shifted. I drove it like that for a year and half, but finally got frustrated with it and traded it in for my Fit.
My overall memories of the LeSabre are actually pretty good. The '92 I had was just old. It had 12 Cleveland winters and a couple of car accidents. It was rotting away. The '04 was fine until it was trashed by the drunk driver. Honestly, I'd probably still have that car otherwise. The '05 I bought used and I'm not sure the previous owner took very good care of it. I'm guessing it was an old lady. There were scratches right abve the driver's side door and door handle. Probably from garish bracelets and rings being scraped into it. The buttons on the radio were pretty scratched up too. Probably from here overly hard and long manicured nails. She probably didn't pay attention to the leaky manifold gasket that could have been replaced under warranty or the failing A/C. I lucked out with the used '92 and never had any serious mechanical issue, but the used '05 was a different story. It had a lot more headaches than I had anticipated. I still think that was from the previous owner ignoring things and me not knowoing that transmission flush would wreck the transmission. The only reason I didn't seriously consider a new Buick is they are getting much more expensive. The cheapest new Buick is still over $23,000. That's not an outrageous price, just more than I wanted to spend on a compact.
A couple of things I really liked about the LeSabres was the low end torque. That car had 230 lb-ft of torque and most of it was available at very low RPM. It could get out of it's own way and most other cars without issue. The 3800 V6 wasn't the most sophisticated engine, but GM did a good job of refining it for power and torque over the decades. It was also surpisingly fuel efficient on the interstate too. The sticker for my '04 and '05 LeSabres reported 30 MPG for the highway. I routinely beat that and often got 34 or 35. That's pretty amazing for a 3700 lb car and a four speed automatic.
So now for the featured vehicle, my 2013 Honda Fit. I decided to go with the Fit because my wife's 2012 Fit has been really reliable. All she has had to do with it is oil changes, tire rotations, and any recommended fluid or filter changes. I know there will be more expensive routine maintenance in the future, but that's pretty darned good. She hasn't had any warranty claims on her's either. The car gets much better fuel economy than the sticker and has plenty of room. I'm 6'3 and I have plenty of head and elbow room. I actually have more head room in the Fit than in the last 2 LeSabres I had. It also doesn't feel like a penalty box. Even though it's small, it still has all the features you would expect on a moderately well appointed mid size car like power locks, A/C, power windows, keyless entry, and a USB audio interface. The ride is good too. It's not pillow soft like the Buick, but it's not jarring either. It also corners better than the Buicks. The Fit feels like it is on rails as opposed to the Buicks which always felt like a stage coach about to tip over.
Things that disspointed me but I was expecting are road noise, low end torque, and the way the transmission behaves under certain circumstances. This car is noisy on the interstate. The Buick's I ownded were never whisper quiet either, but they had more sound deadening material and cruised at lower engine speeds so they were quiter. The Fit has little or no sound dampening material so more road and engine noise is transmitted to the cabin. It also cruises at higher RPM's which makes for more noise. This leads me to the lack of low end torque. Part of the reason for the higher RPM is the lack of low end torque. Top gear has to be geared lower to make up for the lack of engine torque. The engine can't hold gears as well because of this. The transmission has a much different feel than the 4 speed automatics in the Buick's I had driven before. Upshifts aren't as smooth and the transmission can downshift abruptly too. Another big difference I noticed is the GM automatic would allow for more coasting. When you get off the gas in a GM car with an automatic, the car essentially was out of gear and coasting. The Honda transmission will staty in gear and engine brake. Both ways are valid, but I preferred the GM way. There was less shock and noise when coasting to a slower speed in my Buicks. I feel bumps and shifts when the Honda coasts and I don't think I like that. Honda could stand to smooth out deceleration in their automatics.
Overall, I like the Fit, but it was a pretty dramatic change from the full sized Buicks I have driven previously. I went from a full sized highway cruiser to a sub compact city car. I made the switch because my job no longer requires me to get on the interstate to get to work. The Buick was getting 20-22 MPG for my commute whereas the Fit routinely returns 35MPG. I would recommend the car to anyone looking for a fun, roomy, and economical car. If you are coming from a larger more powerful car, there will be a learning curve