The Honda Fit is a five-door hatchback automobile produced by Honda of Japan, that was first introduced in June 2001. The vehicle is known as the Fit in Japan, China, and in both North and South America. It is called the Jazz in Europe, some parts of Asia, Australia, Oceania, the Middle East, and Africa.
Although the Honda Fit is now one of Hondaâ€™s global models, it experienced a very slow progression as it made its way around the world. The car first debuted in the June of 2001 in Japan and immediately became a big hit. It was then introduced to Europe (early 2002), Australia (late 2002), South America (early 2003), South Africa and South-East Asia (mid 2003), China (mid 2004), and Mexico (late 2005). A production model for the United States and Canadian markets debuted on January 8, 2006 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The car was released in Canada on April 3, 2006, and in the U.S. on April 20, 2006. Unlike most Honda models, which traditionally have 4 or 5-year model cycles, the current generation Fit will remain for a longer period of time due to its late release in North America.
The Fit is sold in 5 variations. All Fit models throughout the world utilize one of these 5 distinct codes.
They are found in the vehicleâ€™s identification number (VIN):
GD1: 1.3 L L13A engine 2WD
GD2: 1.3 L L13A engine 4WD (Japan only)
GD3: 1.5 L L15A engine 2WD
GD4: 1.5 L L15A engine 4WD (Japan only)
GD5: 1.2 L L12A engine 2WD (Europe only)
Depending on the region, the Fit is equipped with either a 1.2, 1.3, or 1.5 liter i-DSI engine, or a 1.5 liter VTEC engine. All four engines are based on Hondaâ€™s L-series engine family. The 8-valve i-DSI (intelligent dual and sequential) engines use two spark plugs per cylinder, allowing gasoline to burn more completely; therefore, fuel consumption and emissions are reduced while maximum torque at mid-range rpm is maintained. The 1.5 L VTEC engine has the typical 16-valve configuration.
The engines are mated to a 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic, or Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), again depending on the region. Two forms of the CVT are offered: the regular, and the CVT-7. The CVT-7 has the traditional choice of gearless shifting, and a smooth, continuous flow of power with the added option of seven computer-controlled “gears” controlled by paddle shifters on the steering column.
In February of 2006, Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported that a hybrid electric version of the Fit was being developed and would go on sale in late 2007.
However, since that time the CEO of Honda, Takeo Fukui, confirmed this is no longer in the plans.
The Fit uses Honda’s Global Small Car platform, which is also used by the Fit Aria/City (a sedan version of the Fit), the Airwave (a wagon version of the Fit Aria/City), the Mobilio, and the Mobilio Spike. One of the unique characteristics of the Fit, which is also present in the Fit Aria and Airwave, is the location of the fuel tank. Rather than placing it under the rear seats, it is located under the front seats, thereby freeing up valuable room in the back. It also allows for Hondaâ€™s “Magic Seat” system, called ULTR seat in Japan, which has five distinct seating modes:
Normal: seats are in their normal position with seating for five.
Utility: Either section (or both) of the 60:40 split rear seat sink down into the rear foot well as the rear seat back is lowered forward. This offers a low, perfectly flat surface that increases the cargo area substantially.
Long: The rear seat behind the passenger folds down similar to utility mode, but the front passenger seat folds backward, leaving an area that can hold items as long as 2.4 meters (7.9 ft).
Tall: Either section (or both) of the rear seat cushion fold up against the rear seat back, allowing for an area of 1.28 meters (4.2 ft) in height.
Refresh: With the headrest of the front seat removed, the front seat back can be folded down to form a lounge-style sitting area.
The Fit is produced in 5 factories throughout the world. Suzuka (Japan), SumarÃ© (Brazil), Guangzhou (China), Ayutthaya (Thailand), and Karawang (Indonesia). Models produced in Japan are for Honda’s home market, exported to Europe, as well as Canada and the United States. The Brazilian factory supplies all of Latin America and the Caribbean. Chinese models are sold in the region, and also exported to Europe.
The Fit is marketed in different ways and has different characteristics throughout the world, depending on which region it is sold in.
Two engines (1.3 i-DSI and 1.5 VTEC) were initially offered, each with a number of trim lines ranging from the basic “Y” to the sporty “S”. The 1.3 L i-DSI was available with only the regular CVT automatic. 1.5 L VTEC models are available with either the 5-speed manual, or the CVT-7. Unique to the Japanese market, the Fit is also available in 4WD. Starting at a price of about JPY1,123,000 is the basic 1.3Y model. At the top of the range is the 1.5W four wheel drive version for JPY1,743,000. A bewildering range of options and accessories are available at most levels, including Honda’s HDD GPS Navigation System with its 6.5 inch color screen. This system incorporates TV and FM radio.