As beloved as the Jazz has been, it faced intense challenges from competitors whose increasing offering included modern design, up-to-date technology, copious amounts of interior space, and fuel efficiency. The Honda Jazz also carried the rather unfortunate stigma of being a “granny-mobile”, making it not-so-desirable to the younger and trendy market.
Determined to remain in the game and do its best to disrupt the compact hatchback segment, the Honda FIT offers South African customers – new and existing – a mix of frugality, practicality, and best of all, variety.
The first important highlight about the Honda FIT is that models aimed for Mzansi are built in Japan and not in India.– Vuyi Mpofu, MD, Driving in heels sa
Landing at Cape Town International airport on a cold, windy, and rainy day my enthusiasm for testing the little city runner faded a little. After all, who wants to drive in such weather?
I tried to remember the safety features in the Honda Jazz and trusted those and more would save the day.
The first important highlight about the Honda FIT is that models aimed for Mzansi are built in Japan and not in India. If you’ve ever sat in a vehicle assembled in India, you’ll know why this is very, very good news and if you haven’t, let’s just say vehicles built in India give the term “new car smell’ an unpleasantly different and new meaning; to say nothing about question marks surrounding build quality.
CVT in itself works well, but, whenever you try to squeeze more power out of it, the system responds pretty much in the same way I imagine a cat would if you tried to bathe it.– VUYI MPOFU, MD, DRIVING IN HEELS SA
Having driven the Honda FIT Hybrid on the morning of the launch, I climbed into the FIT Executive (range-topping petrol model) after a hearty lunch. The Hybrid model had set the bar rather high and I worried that the variant Executive might not live up to the task.
The petrol derivatives employ continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and therein lies the reason for my sadness and deep concern. CVT in itself works well, but, whenever you try to squeeze more power out of it, the system responds pretty much in the same way I imagine a cat would if you tried to bathe it – it emits a high-pitched scream and doesn’t let up until you ease up on the accelerator and allow the car to return to a pace which it is comfortable at.
Needless to say, this is not ideal because when I want to go, I need a car that complies – not one that protests and ultimately screeches me into defeat.
That would probably be the ‘worst’ feature about the petrol-powered Honda Fit models and accepting this begrudgingly, I set about the task of the day – driving the Honda FIT Executive model.
My best feature is the front seat heaters (available in the Executive and Hybrid models only) which came in handy during the cold, wet drive.– VUYI MPOFU, MD, DRIVING IN HEELS SA
What It Looks Like Inside and Out
The Honda Fit range has a futuristic and contemporary design. Styling enhancements include a sleek front face, smooth contours, a short nose, and a refined rear roof spoiler. Premium-look rear combination lamps and light cluster design, all of which blend to complement the FIT’s clean, minimalistic exterior aesthetics.
Furthermore, the A-pillar thickness is now just 55mm and along with the hidden windscreen wipers, this provides the driver and front-seat passenger with an unobstructed, almost panoramic field of vision.
The clean, uncluttered design of the Honda FIT continues on the inside and Honda has included enough technological elements to bring the little city runner on par with its competitors.
The user-focused dashboard incorporates a slim instrument panel that sweeps horizontally across the cabin, enhancing the sense of cabin spaciousness. The central HMI 9-inch touchscreen (standard on Elegance and Executive grades) and 7-inch full TFT instrument cluster which is standard across the range, are simple and easy to read.
My best feature is the front seat heaters (available in the Executive and Hybrid models only) which came in handy during the cold, wet drive. A review-view camera is fitted to all the models except for the entry-level Comfort
My concerns about driving on wet roads were decapitated once I began driving the Executive model.VUYI MPOFU, MD, DRIVING IN HEELS SA
What’s Under It’s Pretty Little Bonnet?
There are three petrol derivatives in the Honda FIT line-up as well as a Hybrid model. These are the entry-level Comfort, mid-level Elegance, and range-topping Executive, All are fitted with a 1.5L DOHC petrol engine, (the same unit found in the latest Honda Ballade) that churns 90kW of power and 146Nm of torque.
Interestingly, a manual transmission is not on offer.
All The Safety You Need
My concerns about driving on wet roads were decapitated once I began driving the Executive model because the Honda FIT range comes standard with an impressive list of safety features which include (but are not limited to), Vehicle Stability Assist, Brake Assist System, Hill Start Assist and Automatic Brake Hold.
Passive safety comes in the form of six airbags, comprising front, side, and curtain SRS airbags.
Model Specifications & Colour Line-Up
The colour line-up for the new FIT range includes a host of new colours including Opal White (Pearl), Crystal Red (Metallic), Meteoroid Grey (Metallic), Midnight Blue (Metallic), and Rose Gold (Metallic), in addition to existing line-up colours which include Platinum White (Pearl) and Lunar silver (Metallic).
I look forward to receiving the Honda FIT on a longer test period at which time my thoughts about the city car will be more detailed. From the launch experience, however, I believe the Honda FIT offers the South African market a fresh design, good value for money, up-to-date technology, copious amounts of interior space and legroom, and fuel efficiency. The Honda FIT seems to be a city car for everyday use, ready to meet the needs of modern consumers.
Warranty And Service Plan
For additional peace of mind, the Honda FIT range comes standard with Honda’s five-year/200 000 warranty, as well as a four-year/60 000km Service Plan with 15 000km service intervals. Customers also have the reassurance of three-year AA Roadside Assistance. The FIT Hybrid model comes standard with an extended eight-year/200 000km warranty specifically covering the battery and related components of the Hybrid system.
1.5 Comfort CVT: R319,900
1.5 Elegance CVT: R359,900
1.5 Executive CVT: R389,900
1.5 e-CVT Hybrid: R469,900 (only available from October 2021)
Pricing includes a five-year/200,000km warranty and a four-year/60,000km service plan.