- The Washington Times - Friday, November 2, 2007

The trend of the North American automotive industry is to grow smaller. Not in the size of the business but the influx of smaller city cars that are accommodating and economical.

The price of a gallon of gas is hitting “weight in gold” levels and there’s no end in sight.

So, we have room for more economical vehicles on our city streets. Just how do these sub-compact vehicles fit into the everyday life of most commuters? After a week with the Fit, I can say this Honda is sure to fit.

The Fit has plenty of safety features such as crush zones, airbags and anti-locking brake systems. The Fit maneuvers rather well and flat out is fun to drive. Honda’s answer to the sub-compact question is the right one.

The Fit doesn’t feel overly large from the driver’s seat, but it offers plenty of interior space, particularly for the driver and front seat passenger. Even the rear seat has ample room for passengers. The times I offered rides to friends we did have to adjust a little to make everyone happy and comfortable.

Power from the smallish four-cylinder engine was not over whelming but able to power the Fit down the road at prevailing traffic speeds. It also had plenty of grunt to get us moving quickly from stops. Be assured you won’t be winning any drag races with this car. Unless another like-sized car is in the other lane.

This 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine may not have super powers, but it makes up for it as it sips gasoline. Even with only 109 horsepower and 105 pounds-feet of torque the Fit accelerates well and responds to the throttle at highway speeds. Its real highlight is the estimated EPA fuel economy rating of 33 mpg in the city and 38 out on the highway. Think about those numbers for a minute. To get nearly 40 miles per gallon these days is nothing to scoff at.

Safety is always a major objective of the Honda engineers. In the planning of a small car, safety must be a high priority. The Honda Fit is equipped with anti-locking brakes, driver’s and front passenger front airbags, and dual front side air bags as standard equipment.

This is no cheap stripped down car. The Fit is outfitted with the extra features you might associate with higher priced models. Standard are air conditioning, power windows, door locks and outside mirrors along with Honda’s Maintenance Minder system that signals the driver when maintenance is required.

All the features in the world don’t mean a whole lot if the vehicle doesn’t drive well. No need to be concerned with the Fit, here is a car that will make an excellent addition to your life, while not taking a huge chunk out of the bank account.

True, it isn’t as exciting to drive as a sports car or offer the luxury of a limousine, but it will keep you safe and provide excellent transportation while offering enjoyable driving.

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