Review: Is 2011 Honda Fit still the best super-small car you can buy in America?


We are lucky to have the Honda Fit. Even if we don’t like Honda or the Fit, it is a good thing its here. Why? A few years ago, it was hands down the best car in its class. Now, with some nifty cars like the Ford Fiesta, Mazda2 and Chevrolet Sonic, Honda’s Fit is no longer the best in its class. It’s still pretty close.

Like Toyota, Honda is painfully slow in updating its vehicles. As good as the Fit was, the new batch of contenders out class it in ride, performance and economy – but NOT utility. In this class, the Mazda2 is still my favorite to drive, but if I had to stuff my kids, dogs, shopping and “She-who-must-be-obeyed*” into a daily commuter, the Honda Fit wins hands down.

Here are five reasons why:


1. Duh – it’s a HONDA!

This is an automaker that knows how to build reliability and quality into everything they produce. As a bonus, new goodies for 2011 include standard iPod/MP3/USB hookup, cruise control, stability control and keyless entry. Sweet. You can get a well equipped base mode for LESS than $16,000!

2. That tiny 117 horsepower 1.5 liter engine puts out 106 lbs-feet of torque and is a little gem.

Sure, the Honda Fit is real slow from 0 to 60 mph (the manual took over 10-seconds measured at over 5,200 feet elevation, the automatic is much slower) – but it’s downright zippy in traffic. You can get either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic (with paddle-shifters on the Sport), but I recommend the manual for people who want to live a little. The Honda Fit with the automatic transmission can get 28 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, that ain’t too shabby.


3. Handling is remarkably nimble with good steering feel and has flat cornering at speed.

Sure, if you overcook it – you will plow or swap ends, but that’s only if you’re driving as freaky as I do. The Honda Fit is very lively and one of the easiest cars to park that I’ve ever tested. If you want a real treat, try shifting the five-speed manual. Honda builds some of the best manual transmissions; you owe it to yourself to try it out.

4. Interior quality is good for the class, although it can’t match the Ford Fiesta’s beautifully built innards.

I like the simplicity of the control layout, which is easiest to use sight-unseen. Seats are comfy and there is great space in the back for little ones. There are ten (yes, ten) cup-holders! Oh, and even the base level’s audio sounds great – but if you’re speeding down the highway at maximum warp – the sound is partially muffled by the excessive road noise.


5. One thing NO CAR can claim is the Honda Fit’s astounding interior space.

I have a massive dog and she requires huge bags of doggie chow. Simply flip up the rear seat and I can place the largest dog-food bag I can find on the flat floor. Flip up the other seat and my big dog (seriously, if she had udders she would be a cow) can comfortably chill sitting OR lying down. With all the seats folded, there is 57.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity – that’s better than some SUVs. Also, you can fold the passenger seat completely flat and easily hold a seven-foot ladder! That’s the good stuff folks.


You may wonder about the negative issues, and there are a few: excessive road noise, occasionally jiggly ride, some cheap plastics and slow acceleration. Still, once you see that (use a baby voice here) cuttie-wooty-patootie and that adorable shayna punim (Yiddish for “pretty face”) – you’ll overlook these trivial issues. Look people, I used Yiddish to describe the damn thing for god sakes – that means I’m serious!

The 2011 Honda Fit is one of the best super-small cars out there for families and commuters. It’s a real mensch.

* = for those of you who are wondering about “She-who-must-be-obeyed,” I shamefully lifted that phrase from Rumpole of the Bailey. I declare it fits my situation to a “T” and claim it in the name of Nathan.

Nathan Automotive media, racing, vehicle evaluation, wrecking yards, and car sales are just a part of Nathan Adlen’s vehicular past. He writes out of high octane passion! To read more reviews by Nathan Adlen or just to enjoy more of excellent writing please visit him on at his page HERE.

Are you shopping for a small car? Check out this video of the debut of the all new Nissan Versa one of the few new cars that you can buy in America for under 10K.

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