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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Long Term Review: Honda Fit

It's been almost 3 years since I last wrote about my Honda Fit. Recent events have reminded me that I need to come back and write a review of this car, especially since my life has changed quite a bit.

I originally bought the car as a bicycle carrier. It serves that function exceptionally well. Even now, I have not bothered installing a hitch rack on it as I've always been able to carry all the bike I need inside the car. This is huge, given how small the car is. The car's been exceptionally easy to park --- I've found parking places for it where a bigger car would not have fit. The true testimonial for how much fun the car is to drive came when I exchanged homes with a French couple during the summer. They had the option of either driving the Honda Fit or my wife's BMW, but they chose to drive the Fit all the time, even for the long drives to Yosemite, when the BMW might have been more comfortable.

The true brilliance of the Honda Fit only became realized after I had a child. The first time I went to install a car seat into the Fit I was amazed. After 2002, LATCH systems were required for all new cars sold in the USA. But the way the LATCH system is implemented varies wildly between car manufacturers. Honda has easily the best LATCH system I have seen yet! Near the bottom of the rear passenger seats are slots that a LATCH-compatible tether can be plugged into and attached. This car seat then plugs in and goes. No fuss, just a strap  is tensioned and the seat is anchor'd solidly. You would think that this would be the standard for cars, but XiaoQin's BMW's LATCH hooks were non-existent or inaccessible, and I had to resort to the seat-belt system instead. The same went for my brother's Mazda 3. Arturo tells me that the Subaru's LATCH system is similarly good compared with the Honda's. The general consensus seem to be that the German car manufacturers are horrible offenders, with the American car manufacturers similarly bad (our rented minivan in Hawaii did not have LATCH connectors either).

Bowen is getting close to outgrowing his 22 pound Chicco car-seat, so I went and installed the Evenflo Triumph today. What amazed me was that in forward facing position (which we're not going to use yet), the Evenflo has a third tether which would go up to the ceiling of the car for additional stability. Well, I looked for it, and sure enough there it was sitting in the middle of the rear waiting for the day Bowen needs it. Color me impressed.

Now, if you're going to have two kids, chances are, the Fit might not be sufficient (though perhaps a trailer would actually alleviate most of your cargo needs concern, so there's no need to buy a bigger car). But seriously, I didn't consider having kids when I bought the car, and the fact that the car accommodated all these changes in my life with aplomb is impressive. The BMW simply doesn't compare. And as far as price performance is concerned, the Honda just kills nearly everything else.

In any case, I've been very impressed so far by the economy, the reliability, and the incredibly well designed interior of the Honda Fit. If something happened to my Honda tomorrow I'd run out and buy another one. Highly Recommended.


Chad said...

I'm surprised that the Mazda 3 doesn't have the latch system. We have a 2000 Mazda Protege (the previous name of the 3) that does have latch. They took it out???

Piaw Na said...

It might be there, but my brother couldn't find it.

Sy said...

hm, upon further review. it looks like you've been installing the car seat wrong on your fit. Your fit doesn't allow for center system latch either! the chicco specifically says that its only meant for 11 inches, and your fit's definitely not 11 inches since they only provided latch for the 2 side rearboard seats!

you must have been using a latch from either side, but according to manufacturer's and car manual, you've been doing it unsafely. =)

Sy said...

oh, yah, i also found that my car also has two latch. its just hidden underneath the seats. read up on the manual and its there.

Piaw Na said...

Under the seat? So how are you supposed to get to it? The manual says the asfest place for car seats is center of the car, rear seat. It looked to me as though the Fit had 3 slots for car seats, but I could be wrong.

Sy said...

its not really underneath the seat, but between the back support and the butt support. you have to stick your fingers between the two to find it. its not as nicely cut out as your fit.

yah, the law states that car manufacturers need to provide 2 latch systems. so most if not all sedans have the 2 latch systems behind the front and passenger driver seat position. what you did was you used one latch from each side, which exceeded the safe guidelines from chicco which states clearly in their manual that it only supports standard latch systems of 11 inches apart. If you have to have a center mounting in pretty much all passenger sedans, you're looking at using seat belts for center mounting.

some SUVs have 3 latch systems for their rear seats, but those are definitely the exception, not the rule. and yah,safest place for car seats is center of the car. its the best place for the brat to survive a t-bone. sounds great until brat #2 arrives. =) someone's gotta seat outboard!

Unknown said...

Now, if you're going to have two kids

... so, when is that going to be?