Amidst the inflation and increase in petrol prices, a few may have considered making the switch to more fuel-efficient cars. Unless you are savvy with automobiles, heading for the second-hand market will have you overwhelmed with all the options before you know it.
Enter the Honda Fit; or Jazz, in most markets outside of the USA and Japan. A hatchback commonly associated with the elderly, it was once a must-have for the youth of Asia in the early 2000s. Whether you were a stereotypical college student womanizer or a parent buying a graduation gift, it was the go-to option, as critics praised its fuel economy, competitive pricing, and agility for its class. Depending on where you live, the Japs offered a few engine options; choices are often narrowed down to two: a 1.2/1.3 liter inline 4, or a rev-happy 1.5 liter in some markets. Manual comes as standard with an option for a 7 speed CVT.
Having had one for about three years, our example proved that the strong points remained, despite its age. Averaging at more or less 25 MPG for the 1.5 liter VTEC engine (about 14 km/l), the first and second generations share similar traits; spacious for its size, fun-to-drive, yet a brilliant fuel-saver, if you can resist driving it like a go-kart; which encapsulates how it handles. Praised by renowned Japanese racing driver Keiichi Tsuchiya for its chassis rigidity, it was used in several motorsports all around the world, a testament for those more interested in its racing capabilities. 109 horsepower and 143 Nm is underwhelming in today’s standards, but enough to haul four and the groceries comfortably.
Like most hatchbacks of its time, luxury is not to be expected, as indicated by the use of plastic for most parts of the dashboard. The sporty seats are firm, yet provide enough comfort for most driving styles. Some markets may include a moonroof, which gave it another edge over its competitors at the time. Thanks to its clever utilization of its chassis and placement of the fuel tank, the Fit grants passengers unrivaled spaciousness, complimented by its multiple seating configurations that allows even more space for cargo. Dual airbags and ABS come standard; unless you live in Indonesia, where both are not an option even in the highest trim. Like most international Honda models of the 2000s, front-wheel-drive is standard, and all-wheel-drive is unfortunately restricted to its home market. This generation, however, is unfortunately plagued with leaky roofs and a less reliable CVT, so do look out for those issues.
Owning an old Honda may spark the mythical belief that they are much more fun to drive and own, with a unique spiritual energy unmatched even by the newer models. Unless this article triggers a hike in price (hopefully not), gearheads and buyers under a tight budget may find that the Fit delivers what they expect from a great all-rounder of a clunker, without a need to empty their savings post-purchase.