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New York Auto Show 2008 – Improved Honda Fit

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We’ve liked the Fit since it was first imported from Japan for US Sales in April 2006. Conceptually very good, but lacking a sporty look. The second generation of the Fit for US sales gets a lot better looking, as well as some package improvements to make it more compelling. “The goal is to provide entry-level vehicle customers with functionality and refinement that’s a class above,” said Dick Colliver. “Buying a Fit is a choice, not a compromise.” Ah yes. A nod to the aspirational small car.
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More Forward Design, Package, and Features
American Honda saw what the new Fit needed and has done a good job in improving the 2009 Fit revealed here today. The 2009 Fit has a more aggressive stance, leaving behind the less than masculine appearance of its predecessor. Larger 15” and 16” wheels add to the new look. In addition to giving the Fit a more sporty appearance the Fit’s key features have been enhanced. The 5-seater’s wheelbase has been stretched 2 inches and center mounted fuel tank remains, offering a cavernous interior. It’s rear “Magic Seat”, now has a one-motion dive-down operation, which allows the rear seat to fold flat with the front seats in the rearmost slide position and without removing the rear headrests. Additionally, a new hidden storage bin under the rear seat adds a place to store small items. The Fit Sport will now offer an available factory-installed Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Voice Recognition. Also, all Fit Sport models will feature a USB audio interface compatible with current generation iPods® and many USB storage devices.

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Safety Sells
With more B-Class Entries coming to the US market, we’re seeing more safety messages in the front lines. The Fit incorporates Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure technology, available Electronic Stability Control and active head restraints. Dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags, dual front-side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System and side-curtain airbags are standard equipment on all Fit models. All 5 seating positions have three-point seat belts. Anti-lock braking system (ABS), and electronic brake distribution (EBD).
The Drive
The 2009 Fit has a new 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder, i-VTEC™ engine coupled to either a 5-speed manual transmission or an available, 5-speed automatic transmission, which includes steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters on the Fit Sport.
We’re looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the 2009 Fit. Info on pricing will come closer to the US launch this Fall.

1 Comment

  • anthony masciopinto| April 3, 2008 at 9:28 pm Reply

    I think Honda is positioned to rake in the dough once the American public realizes that high gas prices are here to stay.
    I’ll even go you one better than that: five years from now the freeways are going to look vastly different than they do now with respect to what kind of vehicles that will be on them.
    American drivers will finally realize that the money they spend filling their gas tank: 1) is burned, just like setting fire to 3 or 4 $20 bills, never to be recovered, 2)are enriching foreign entities which will never trade back to the US the same amount that was given to them for the oil they sold us.
    Because of this, I believe most American families will be multi car affairs – the job of mailing one’s rear end to the job and back will be handled by very small frugal cars; the big SUV’s and pickup trucks will be relegated to “use only when needed” status. In other words, they will spend 90% of the time parked.
    Gone will be the days of seeing oversized, 4 door, 4 wheel drive, 3/4 ton, long wheel base, extended cab vehicles being used for simple transportation.
    So who will reap the benefit from this new American change of automotive attitude? First, the obvious ones: Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, BMW and Volkswagen. Why? Because they mostly hail from countries that have had a steady diet of high gasoline prices for a long time. Also, the manufacturers listed above design and build cars with good fuel economy in mind from the first doodle on engineering design paper.
    Next, we have the auto makes that will probably make it eventually, but will go to the fuel effiency party kicking and screaming: GM, (you know they knew that fuel prices were about to go through the roof and they STILL blew countless millions redesigning their ridiculous pickup and big SUV line). Ford, (thank GOD that Ford has a really large presence and market in Europe – if they are smart they will federalize as many of the cars they sell over there, for sale over here. Chrysler, well, they have bought a management team that should be able to see the writing on the wall, let’s just hope that the big shots at Cerebrus are cool headed enough to give Jim Press and the others enough time to get their act together. Mercedes-Benz, they made a savvy move bringing the Smart car line here to the US – those jewel like cars are small alright, but I think $5 gas will put them right where they need to be. Also, MB has access to some really great diesels, however, the success of those cars relies on diesel fuel not being priced consistently higher than premium gasoline.
    And finally, the car companies filed under “I wonder about them”: the new upstart companies from China, India and elsewhere are currently dicey affairs at best. Are they going to be able to come to the US with high quality cars and set up dealerships, scource parts for repairs and then stay the course with new redesigns to keep their product line fresh? If they make it, their story will be good compost for a Havard School of Business course for sure.
    Ok, let’s close all this up with look at the far off future (although I hope it’s not too far off). I believe all this bio fuel, hydrogen and everything else that can be burned in an internal combustion engine will be eventually eclipsed by totally electic cars.
    First, where do we get the electricity? Wind generators, solar cell farms, wave and tide generators and the like will be the key – these types of electical generation do so with no fuel costs. The wind, waves and sunlight are all free so the cost of the electricity they produce will be nearly free. The only costs to be recouped are the initial investment and maintenance. Try pitting a natural gas generator against a wind farm and it’s a no brainer. OK, so we blow a bunch of $$$ doing this and now we have lots of electicity. Currently, we have barely scratched the surface of we could be capable of.
    Next, the cars. I believe that we CAN build a viable car that runs on electricity. First let’s put together a standard: Tomorrow’s electric car must: have a range of 300 miles when driven at high speeds under the usual loads that we put the cars we now have under. They must be refueled in approximately 10 minutes, which is about the time one spends at his neighborhood gas station from start to finish.
    You’re thinking “this guy is an idiot, it’s impossoible”. But is it really? I can remember when the first computer controlled cars came into being and replaced carbureatored cars literally overnite. Car enthusiast magazines told us how these new fuel injected cars could tune themselves as they went along their merry way. At the time, I thought it imposssible. Just look at the 2008 models and the prosecution rests it’s case.
    Cars have advanced so much that the current Z06 Corvette could win the 1973 Indy 500 with the A/C on. So what would your advanced electric car be like?
    For one thing it would be very powerful. Electric motors produce very high torque at low RPM’s. Couple that to a CVT transmission designed to extract the most from the motor and you’d have plenty of driving fun! Let the tuners get hold of something like that and WHOOOEE! it’ll be the ’60’s all over again!
    The motors and transmissions are in their infancy at the moment. If we really tried, we could build a motor that was designed from the ground up for electic car use – separate windings for take off and cruise, internal capacitors for momentary hi horse needs etc. A transmisson optimised for use with this motor is relatively easy. Ah, but the battery – that’s the crust of the biscuit.
    I can’t believe that America, with all it’s intelligence and free market reward can’t overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of a viable battery. If we would throw as much money at this project as we have in Iraq, we’d be hot on the trail to a new kind of car. You can tell me anything you like, but don’t try to tell me we can’t come up with a solution to this battery problem. Is it going to be easy? NO. Putting a man on the moon was thought to be impossible, but we did it with .001 of the computer power we have today.
    Alright, so who in the hell is going to take on such a heavy capital investiment / talent wearying project? Just look at the top of the list in this little diatribe and there’s your players – Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi, etc. Personally, I’d put my money on Honda. Time to go! Cheers all!

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