So we have owned our Honda a few years now, I thought it might be time to do a quick review.
What is it?
A late 2007 Honda Fit RS (also called a Jazz Sport). 118HP from a cute little 1.5L L15A7 iVtec engine, which pushes its power to the front wheels via a Continuously Variable Transmission. This is a Second Generation Fit/Jazz.
If there is one thing that the Fit is known for, it’s the HUGE amount of flexible space inside. The rear seats fold up, down, and any which way you want, meaning we have carried some pretty large items in ours. The front seats are decently bolstered for a granny spec shopping basket, and comfortable (for me at least, Mrs Petrol not so much) over long periods of time. The rear seats have good legroom, but aren’t sculpted much meaning its sort of like sitting on a bench.
The dash layout is simple and clear, with all buttons that driver will need clustered easily within reach next to the wheel. Ours has climate control, which works well and AC that is cold as ice. My one little gripe about the dash cluster is that it only has idiot lights for the temperature, no gauge. The interior plastics, like most cars in this segment, are textured hard plastic. Its hard-wearing, and ages well. The door cards are the exception to this where they have fabric on them, including the top edge which gets noticeably worn if you rest your arm on it.
It’s an inoffensive car to look at. I wouldn’t go as far to say as its good-looking, but it’s better than some others in the same price range. The RS is lucky enough to get a slightly more aggressive body kit, which takes away some of the typical Fit “bubble” design. The factory JDM privacy tinted glass in the rear is very handy, and looks much better than the NZDM Jazz which has clear glass. The Storm Silver metallic paint seems to last pretty well, and is awesome at hiding dirt and grime from not being regularly cleaned.
I like driving this car. For a small compact car, it’s actually a lot of fun. It’s a bit like the Mini Cooper, the wheels are on the corners and the chassis/body is very rigid. It is a little top-heavy and as ours is getting on in years and KM, the shocks are starting to show that weight a bit more, allowing more body roll in corners. We have taken this on some long trips up and down the country, and its handled all the driving like a champ, including the twisties. We have noticed that putting weight in the boot improves handling a lot; maybe I should just carry a bag of sand in the boot. Lowering would help the handling greatly, but would also completely compromise the “fly over anything” ability of the car.
The engine is perky and loves to rev, which is just as well, as the CVT will keep the revs up to help you when you want to get your speed on. Down low it can be lacking but the CVT quickly makes up for it, and it’s never really bogged or struggled for me. Everyone is quick to jump on the “hate CVT” bandwagon, but I wouldn’t have another daily without it. Its smooth, effortless and when just puttering around the revs are constantly so low you sort of just waft along the road. The First Gen Fit has serious CVT shudder issues, but they were completely resolved for the Second Gen like this car.
One thing that I don’t like about the handing in the Fit is that it is BADLY affected by wind. Even a small gust will be noticed by the driver, and anything more can lead to the car weaving down the road like a drunk. I have driven in 148KPH winds in the Fit, which although was pants crappingly terrifying, us and the Fit came through it in one piece. It’s not a feeling of tipping over, the Fit just gets pushed around easily.
Blind Spots are another thing to keep in mind when driving one. The front A pillars are big enough to hide a whole car behind at intersections and it can be hard to judge exactly where the front and rear bumpers are (the car is shorter than you think when parking). You get used to most things, but the A pillars are a constant problem. Modern/Safe car life I guess.
Don’t get a First Generation with CVT, these Second Gen cars are so much better, even before you get to the CVT, and the prices are dropping fast. There are a lot of different combos of spec, but personally I would go for the RS (more powerful engine, paddle shifters, and nicer body) with climate control and HID lights. The panoramic glass roof looks like a cool option though. Like anything, the key to the car lasting for ages is maintenance. DO change the CVT fluid, DO change the spark plugs, DO change the oil often, and DO run a decent high-octane petrol in it (I use 95, or 98 in a pinch). If you do that, the car will treat you to care free motoring for years.
In terms of what goes wrong with them, almost damn near nothing. I can’t think of any really common issues these have, and all we have done to ours is general maintenance stuff. I guess keep an eye out for rust if it was in a snowy part of Japan. It’s a Honda, they know how to make cars.
It’s no secret I’m a big fan of this car. We looked at many other cars in this segment/price point before settling on this, and I honestly feel we couldn’t have done any better. Ours has over 160,000km on it now, with anything over the 99,000km mark done by us. We use it every day, it gets multiple short runs, and sometimes lots of idling in traffic. We maintain it well, and it just keeps going. The only real issues we had were caused by work not being carried out properly at the Dealer. My plan is to start looking for a replacement at the 200,000km mark, which will probably be a Third Gen Jazz.