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Honda Fit

My wife & I are thinking of buying a 2009 Honda Fit. Does anyone have experience driving a Fit in winter/snowy conditions? How about overall impressions on the car? Would you recommend it? Thanks in advance!

The Honda Fit does not behave substantially different from any front wheel drive subcompact. It has 15 inch wheels; some cars in the past in that size range only had 13 inch wheels.

A Fit with a good set of winter tires will be fine for almost anywhere in the US. I live near the mountains and see a lot of them with ski racks.

It’s an extremely reliable car and should serve you well for years.

That’s the top-rated car in that price range. Everybody loves it. Make sure you drive it, the power is adequate but not huge. Doc’s right on snow, winter tires will be all it needs.

Yes, we took one up in the snow. It was a 2008 model with a stick.

It was surprisingly versatile for a car of that size. It handled well and had substantial power.

Keep in mind we had an '08; your '09 is bigger and has more power. Still, if you can, get the stick for that kind of driving.

Read this link on the ride motions in the Sport http://community.cartalk.com/posts/list/2116765.page

Please be sure that you take an EXTENDED test-drive in the exact same model that you intend to buy. About a month ago, we were subjected to a tirade from someone who took a brief test-drive in a “regular” Fit, but bought a Sport-model Fit. She was complaining bitterly about the ride quality on rough roads, and despite the fact that car magazines had noted the choppy ride of the sport model, she was convinced that she bore no responsibility for having a car that she did not like–even though she did not test the sport model and though she did not research tests of that model adequately.

More recently, a woman who ignored our advice to buy a Fit decided to buy a Yaris hatchback–after taking a brief test drive in a Yaris sedan–which is a different car!

The moral of the story is to read and research as much as possible about the exact model that you want to buy, and then take an extended test-drive in the same model. Despite all of that advice, if you wind up being unhappy with the car, please don’t come back here and complain about the car, as the two aforementioned people did!

Right on, VC. I would take a test drive, and if I liked the car I would spend another $50 or so and rent one for the weekend (weekend rates are cheap). After listening to all sorts of criticism of the Hyundai Accent as a “cheap” car, we rented one for 2 1/2 weeks on a holiday in the East. This little 4 door was comfortable, good gas mileage, and quiet enougn not to be tiring. Regardless of what Consumer Reports says about it, I would buy one tomorrow if I needed that size car.

I’m sure it’ll be fine. I had a 1988 VW Rabbit that was outstanding in the snow. Both hatchbacks, both FWD, both light. Except for a couple of decades, they have a lot in common. For he reasons that you are interested in, anyway.

I only drove mine once on icy road and it was terrible. I did not have any extra weight in the back. I used to drive old Civics on very bad roads and did not have the experience that I did with the Fit Sport.

“I did not have any extra weight in the back.”

Well, you should consider yourself fortunate to have not had any extra weight in the back of that front wheel drive vehicle!

If you were driving a rear wheel drive vehicle, some extra weight directly over the rear wheels would have aided traction, but doing this on a FWD vehicle will only serve to disrupt the existing weight distribution sufficiently to produce LESS traction for the front wheels that are powering the car.

If you experienced “terrible” handling characteristics on icy roads, there are two explanations:

  1. You were using so-called “all-season” tires, which in almost every case should be called “Three Season Tires”. There are absolutely no standards for an “all-season” tire, with the result that many–if not most–of them produce very poor traction in winter conditions. If you had equipped the car with Winter Tires, you would have experienced vastly improved handling and braking characteristics–unless you were also exhibiting factor #2

  2. You were driving too fast for road conditions. Any time that you cannot control the car satisfactorily, you are driving too fast for road conditions at that point.

The Fit sport is a light car on wide wheels that are biased for performance. Change the OEM tires all-season tires better suited towards winter or true winter tires and it will run fine.

Your old Civic had smaller wheels and narrower contact patch along with non performance tires which as a generalization are better in the winter.

As a guess the non Sport Fit likely does better with factory tires due to smaller size, narrower patch and non performance biased tires.

The critical point in winter traction is really the tires not vehicle as much.

The Honda Fit Does Well In Government & Insurance “Barrier Crash Tests” . . .

. . . However not so much in a real “car-to-car crash tests”. When crashed into an Accord, it didn’t do well, in fact poorly, according to a recent U.S. News report.

Definitely check with your insurance company to find out how much insurance will cost. Also, many agents can advise you in regards to safety, as they deal with the realities of unsafe vehicles.

CSA

I say for the small price difference between the Fit, and Civic I would go with a Civic.

Unless you specifically need a hatchback.