My 26-year-old son found full-time employment and now commutes about 30-miles round trip every day, so he recently purchased his first car, a Milano Red 2013 Honda Fit Sport automatic. (This isn't his car, but his looks just like this one-> http://images.gtcarlot.com/gtgallery/85852515-640.jpg
He still lives at home, so he lets me drive it occasionally. Here's the story about how we chose it, and some of my driving impressions:
He's driven our 2003 base Vibe a lot since he got his license 10 years ago, and he likes the Vibe and hatchbacks in general, but they stopped making Vibes a while ago now, so it was time to look for something new(er).
We sat in the front and back seats of a lot of small cars at the Indianapolis Auto Show in late December: MINI, Fiat, Focus and Fiesta, VW Beetle, Chevy Cruze (Bolt was a locked prototype, not yet for sale in Indiana) Buick Encore, Toyota iM (nee Scion) Corolla and Prius, and Hyundai (strangely, no Kias were on exhibit), and Honda. He was most impressed by the 2017 Honda Fit.
There were two 2017 Fits at the show, a Passion Berry purple EX (alloy wheels, sunroof, touch-screen audio system, automatic) priced at over $19k, and a Mystic Yellow EX-L (L meaning Leather seating) priced at over $21k. The 2015-2017 GK generation Fit is slightly larger, has 13 more horsepower, AND is also more fuel-efficient (38mpg vs 33mpg) than the 2009-2013 GE generation Fit. I personally find the 2015-2017 Fit styling far less attractive
than the 2009-2013 models, especially the Sport trim. Maybe hideous is too strong a word for the 2015-17's, but bizarre isn't far off the mark. But I'm old. He's young. Generation Gap.
Anyway, I started looking online for used Honda Fits using a lot of websites, but especially CarGurus.com
The advantage of those two car-shopping sites over many others is that in most states (sorry Texas!)
these sites show the number of days a car has been listed on the web, as well as charting all price decreases (and increases) over that time period. So you can quickly see if a dealer is playing games with pricing, and determine when a dealer really REALLY wants to move stale inventory. Both sites also 'rank' selling prices relative to similar cars, so you can see in chart form whether you're getting a good deal or not, relative to similar cars. ISeeCars.com ALSO lets you click on the dots that represent comparable cars and see the complete details for that vehicle.
So I found a red 2013 Honda Fit Sport 5-speed Automatic, and a silver 2015 Honda Fit EX with CVT located at car dealerships that are literally across the street from each other in nearby Lafayette, IN. We visited both dealerships the same day for test drives. The used-car salesman at the Chevy dealership greeted us warmly, and quickly got us on the road for a test drive in the red Honda. I wanted to try the 2013 first, because it had 13% less horsepower than our Vibe and the 2015 Fit, so I was skeptical about how well it would accelerate. Honda's 1.5 SOHC 117-hp with 5-speed automatic actually felt a bit quicker than our 1.8 DOHC 130-hp 4-speed automatic Vibe. We drove a loop including city, rural highway, and finally some miles on the interstate with lots of heavy truck traffic, This was intended to judge how 'safe' my son felt around much larger vehicles. He was fine with it, and I agreed. The Fit really doesn't feel all that small from the inside.
Then we went across the street to the Honda dealer to (attempt to) drive the silver 2015 EX I'd found online. The used-car manager greeted us and immediately steered us to a different 2015 Fit, an LX with CVT and steel wheels, and offered excuses why he couldn't let us drive the specific 2015 EX I asked about. So we drove the same loop in the LX. Back seat room was a tiny bit larger, and it was a little bit quieter, but acceleration FELT significantly slower than the 2013 Sport, and the ride and handling felt quite numb in comparison. The acceleration of the 2015 with CVT felt significantly slower than the less-powerful 2013 with automatic! Perhaps the apparent decrease in acceleration is how Honda increased the EPA highway rating from 33 to 38.Long story a wee bit shorter:
We went back and purchased the 2013 Fit Sport the next week. The price had decreased an additional $400 from the first time we saw it, and was over a thousand below the $12500 to $13500 price range for a one-owner no-accident Fit Sport with ~35k miles in our area.This 2013 would be the perfect 'college car' for a lot of students.
Seats 5 in a pinch, 4 very comfortably.
Small on the outside, so it's easy to find parking on a crowded college campus.
Huge interior space that is VERY flexible for 'moving' to school and back home at the end of the year. Or transporting kegs from the beer distributor to the party. Not that I ever did that when I was in college, of course.
Fuel efficient. Not hybrid-efficient, mind you, but at 33mpg highway, you wouldn't go broke driving a couple hundred miles to see your girlfriend at her school (or even to your parents to get your laundry done) on the weekend.
Appliance-like Japanese car reliability. (2013's were the last Fits built in Japan. There was no US Fit in 2014. 2015's & newer are assembled in Mexico.)
Used Hondas tend to depreciate less than most American brands. Because we bought it at well below market price, my son will be able to sell this one for about what he paid for it, including finance charges, 3 years from now.
The 2013 Fit Sport interior seems comparable to the Vibe. Lots of matte-finish plastic. TEN cup/bottle holders. TWO glove boxes! Standard 160-watt six speaker audio system. USB and 'cigarette lighter' ports. Audio system features Apple iOS device recognition via the upper-glovebox USB, so you can change tracks & volume using steering-wheel controls. (Not Android, though. And NO Bluetooth or hands-free voice command unless you bought the Sport with NAV system) AC, keyless entry, power windows, power locks, cruise control all standard. The cloth seats are firm, but have more lumbar support. There is no factory center storage bin (though Honda sells one as a $200+ accessory).
From the outside, Fit seems 'small' compared to the Vibe. Wheelbase is a couple of inches shorter. Width is within an inch of the 2003 Vibe width and has MORE interior cargo space with the back seat folded. AND Honda back seats fold either UP or DOWN, so large items like tall plants and bicycles can be loaded upright easily using the rear doors. The hatch opens to reveal a recessed load floor. There is a compact spare under the load floor. The Fit weighs at least 200 lb less than the Vibe, and is about 10 inches shorter overall. No rear cargo cover is standard. Honda sells one for about $150. In looking over a hundred used Fits online, it appears that almost no one ever shelled out the extra dough to buy a cargo cover. I've literally seen only 3 with cargo covers.
The 2013 Sport model features a modest rear sway bar that is not part of the base car. Combined with 185/55 tires on 16" alloy wheels that gives it a decent ride and great handling for the size. The car also came with virtually new Hankook Ventus V2 H-rated tires.
There are a number of Fit forums online. The one I found the most GenVibe-like (in terms of TONS of useful info about all 3 generations of Fit, and knowledgeable courteous members) is FitFreak.netSilly Questions:
Why does anyone put paddle shifters on an automatic transmission car with only 117hp??? "Looks cooler"
Why do the 'aerodynamic extras' of the Sport model (fog lights, more aggressive front lip, and rear wing) actually DECREASE the mpg's??? "Looks cooler"BOTTOM LINE:
If something happens to our Vibe and we need a fast replacement, I'm definitely going to consider a 2013 Honda Fit Sport. There are a lot of one-owner 2013 Fits that have come off 36-month leases recently, though you might have to search a while online and be willing to drive several hours to find a screamin' deal.
Here's full specs on the 2013 Fit models from Edmunds.comhttps://www.edmunds.com/honda/fit/2013/features-specs/