2007 Honda Fit Sport

2007 Honda Fit Sport 2007 Honda Fit Sport
Long-Term Road Test

Over the years, we’ve been reluctant to put little economy cars into long-term service, for one simple reason: It usually takes forever to accumulate the 40,000 test miles we require. It’s not that we have difficulty getting the troops to drive these cars. It’s that we have difficulty getting the troops to drive them on long trips.

By its nature—limited size, limited space, limited power—a subcompact gets to be tedious when the trip goes much beyond commuting. Historically, that’s been the case, but the perception is eroding. The basic-transportation car has evolved into something not so basic, less of a confining penalty box, more of a ride for all seasons and all distances.

The Honda Fit, now in its second year on our 10Best Cars list, is a compelling case in point. We took delivery of a Fit Sport in June 2006, and the Fit’s odo clicked over the 40,000-mile mark in July 2007. Over 12,000 of its miles were racked up during trips of more than 500 miles—from Ann Arbor to such diverse destinations as Cherry Valley, New York; Key West, Florida; and Winnipeg, Manitoba; as well as some 4500 miles as a One Lap of America staff vehicle and a five-month, 7800-mile sojourn with our man Bedard in Arizona. Twenty different states and two Canadian provinces show up in the Fit’s fuel log.

Don’t get us wrong: We can’t say that responses to the Fit during these heroic voyages were all unalloyed joy. For example, there were some who found that the Fit didn’t quite fit. Six-foot-five Dave VanderWerp found that "space up front is tight," about 10 percent short of comfort for someone with his personal specs, and others noted that the absence of a telescoping steering column (a function Honda will add to the 2009 Fit) made it difficult to achieve an optimal driving position.

But in the main, comfort was not a problem, and the Fit drew many positive reviews for its highway performance. VanderWerp said, "It does fine on the highway, no problem keeping up with 80- and 90-mph traffic." Like most, he was also impressed by the Fit’s agility—"feels light on its feet, frisky"—an impression that solidified when he took it to an autocross on a frozen lake near Saginaw, Michigan, and finished second in his class. The only negative comment concerned the car’s sensitivity to crosswinds, a function of its light weight (2448 pounds) and tall profile.

One area where the Fit’s reviews ran to consistently amazed praise was an ability to swallow quantities of cargo and/or people that seemed almost magical, given the small exterior dimensions. Occasional contributor Mary Seelhörst referred to it as "Harry Potter’s tent—looks small from the outside, big from the inside." Another diarist said his "first impression of the interior was, ‘What kind of mad sorcery is this?’ " Even VanderWerp was happy: "With the front seats all the way back, I can still sit comfortably in the second row, and there’s still a huge cargo area with all the seats in place."