2004 Honda Fit 1.4A 1.3
Spacious, economical, but not good for rutty roads
The car has been used in Japan for around 3+ years before it was shipped to our country to be sold as a "reconditioned" car.
The car seems to have the common problem with carpets on the drivers side, which has torn off, as it does not have the clips to hold it, and Honda or the previous owner had glue the carpet, resulting in the tear in the carpet.
There are many parts internally which are removable for easy access for replacement of internals (E.g. Rear shocks, rear tail lights), and the manner in which these are fixed is not very rugged, and they can start to squeak/rattle over time.
Have had the car for a while, and running has been mainly in city conditions. After moving from a 2 liter Accord, I expected a quantum leap in economy (the Accord with a manual gearbox returned 7-8km per liter in city conditions, with a fair bit of spirited driving). However the though car was fully checked by the agents (plugs, engine tune, air filter, etc) the economy within the city conditions has been around 9.5-10 : (and not with as much spirited driving as with the Accord).
The ride of the car is frankly poor, as it cannot take any humps (a common problem in our roads) as it just bounces up, and rutty roads (where you feel as if you are on horse). I got the shocks tested, and the agent confirmed they were in good condition, so it seems the car is mainly suited only for smooth roads.
The acceleration is nippy for city driving, though the engine note is nothing pleasant when revved beyond 3500rpm : (Something sad as the Honda engines have a history of being acoustically pleasant! However the moment you start driving it, aggressively the economy comes closer to 9 km per liter.
The interior is very spacious, and the rear legroom actually is more than my Honda Accord, however the rear seats are not very comfortable for long trips. The front seats are much better, but still in the budget group. The fact that the headrest cannot be adjusted in tilt, means shorter passengers can find it jutting into their heads.
The fact that only a single bulb is used for both the normal beam and main beam seems a dangerous option in the event the bulb was to fail, as replacing the bulb is not a simple process (you cannot do it through the front bonnet), and requires removing the front tire guard, and some very deft work that would leave an expert surgeon at shame to remove the connectors!
The noise insulation is very poor, and brings in a lot of noise from the outside (and the sound from the inside speakers is also heard far too clearly to the outside!). This can be very irritating, and other cars in the same class (the Toyota IST, Toyota Vitz, Toyota Vios, Suzuki Ignis/Swift, Nissan March) all have much better noise insulation.
The only thing that still makes is pleasant is that the driving position and feel is more a proper car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th July, 2008
Well it's time for the long term report, exactly 2 years since the purchase, and 73000 KM on the clock now.
The car has held itself well, and I have now worked out that revving the engine is not the thing this car likes. The i-DSI engine it seems gives 80-90% of its torque under the 2000rpm range, so you don't really benefit from revving that much in city limits. Once I did that I was getting 10.5-12 kmpl in the city. City in Sri Lanka means every 50-100m you have color lights, so it's a lot of idle, stop starts in addition to traffic. This advice has been shared with a lot of my friends who have similar cars, and they have also got improved economies.
Driving outstation from the city, again this is not highways. The only difference is that you don't have traffic lights (the roads are narrow single lane), you get economies around 13-15 kmpl. The best I have got was driving on Sunday where the roads were fairly clear, and averaged a remarkable 19kmpl (again not highways!).
The power curve is also different from normal cars, with the engine pulling upto around 80-100kmph, and then its flat. I have seen a review by a site, where they indicated that there is a small jump again at around 130kmp, but sadly I have not got these speeds here since we don't have any real highways.
The rutty ride seems to be a trait in this car, and I tested the new Honda Airwave, which is an extended version of this car, and found the ride was no different, even though they had made the car heavier and longer. I assume it's a purposeful move since this car is very similar to a Honda Civic in interior size, and making this any better may ruin their Civic sales (as a past owner of a ES1 Civic, which also had a rather rough ride compared to the Toyota's).
The much spoken about CVT gearbox jerk issue has been a major concern for owners, but the solution of using an additive called "Oil Extreme" has worked very well in Singapore and Thailand, and I have shared this information with several friends who had problems with their gearbox, and they have had instant success. Sadly the lack of local availability of this oil has made this an exotic solution. The additive seems to be able help fix any small damages to the belt which might be the cause for the jerks, and it also helps avoid the problem if the additive is used proactively.
The oil for Asian users is available at a garage in Singapore called "Buddy Club" who also have a web site.