September 15, 2008

2009 Honda WTFit


So I popped into a Honda dealer yesterday afternoon to see how the new 2009 Honda Fit looked in person:

$2,000 in mandatory dealer options, plus $2,085 "additional markup" is how it looks, on a $16,000 car. If I'm gonna significantly overpay for a Honda Fit, it'll be a hybrid.


for that price, why wouldn't you just get a toyota matrix?

The Fit is supposed to be a great car though. The reviewers are fawning over the new model even more than the last one. And I don't think Honda's planning to bring a Hybrid Fit to the US. (They don't want to compete with the upcoming Insight and they've learned with their Civic and Accord hybrids that Americans don't want to drive a hybrid unless it's styling is distinctive enough so the neighbors know it's a hybrid.)

If I was shopping this segment I'd take a test drive in a Suzuki SX4. It's roughly the same size as the Fit but for thousands less you can get all wheel drive and standard navigation (Suzuki is looking to blow up the notion of $1-2K optional navigation systems, recognizing that its a couple of hundred dollars worth of technology at most.) The Fit does get much better mileage but its price premium is meaningful and all wheel drive isn't available with the Fit. I'd imagine the Fit is a little more refined inside and screwed together better but the Suzuki has a 100k mile warranty.

Styling wise, these things aren't beautiful but I'd have to give the nod to the SX4 which is quite unique and has a pretty friendly look to it.

SX4s are starting to appear in my neighborhood more and more, competing with the Fits and Minis for the smaller parking spots.

Great oxymoron: "Mandatory... options"!

Or make the economically rational choice and buy a two-year old car with nearly the same gas mileage for thousands less- you use the difference in price to pay for the extra gas and pocket the money you would have spent on depreciation. And you stick it to the (Honda) Man.

We seriously looked at this - as well as a 2008 model - we found one dealer who wasn't marking up seriously but all the others were and all of them were only selling the Sport model plus loads of extra features. They *say* that's all they are getting in. We did really like it.

In the end we got a Nissan Versa. Which we almost like as much, and was a whole lot more affordable.

We just wish there were more hatchbacks in the US - what is it with sedans? Why are US drivers so addicted to sedans, even for small cars?

Not knocking new cars——someone has to take my depreciation hit——but I just don't get the idea of buying a $16K new car to save money on gas.
Mid-30's gas mileage is nice, but it's only 15-20% better than my 9 year old V6 Passat with almost twice the power. That translates to about $25/month for me at today's prices.

Overall, it's going to cost me a _lot_ less to drive a larger used car than a new fit, and the larger car is faster, quieter, more comfortable, hauls more of my stuff and is safer in most types of accidents. Small cars today are so bloody heavy that they wallow around corners like big cars, anyway (Mini Cooper excepted).

As far as environmental impact goes, it's almost easier to green yourself by changing your lifestyle than by adding an additional car payment. Live closer to work, walk or bike, consolidate trips, carpool, etc. At least, that's how I justify the 20 year old, 17mpg pollutasaurus BMW I drive on the weekends. :)

In most of the world, cars like the Fit are popular more for the convenient-to-park size than anything else...and that's hardly a problem in 99% of the US.

Perhaps, but the "convenient-to-park size" IS a factor in the 1% of the US where Greg happens to live...

Definitely email me if you want some help finding out where to get a Fit wihtout the markup and I'd love to know where this was.

As for mandatory options, were you talking about automatic transmission? That is pretty standard on an economy car as an added option.

Auto is $800 on the 09 fit and is really it's only option. Unless you go with navigation. That would be a $2500 package.

For us, the mandatory extra "options" weren't automatic - we expect that here - but MP3 player, sport model, satnav, alloy wheels, with of course wheel locks, floormats, bumper protector, paintwork protector (OK I think I've made some of those up but you get the picture!). Of course these are all overpriced and of course they all add up.

We kind of want an automatic (Mr Spouse is used to driving a manual but not used to driving it on the right; I'm the one who's used to driving a manual in the US) but didn't even really want the Sport model let alone all the other extras.

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