December 28, 2006

Fit Taillamp Options

As most Fit enthusiasts already know from various forums, North American Fits have a longer front end due to stricter crash test requirements, therefore no aftermarket or even OEM headlights from other markets will swap in without a full front end conversion. However, although the rear bumper of the North American spec Fit is also longer, taillamps are, for the most part, a direct swap; with the exception of some wire extending. I've compiled a list of all of the Fit taillights I've found so far:

OEM European Standard Bulb Taillamps:

This style is the standard taillights that are on almost all other countries for the Honda Fit/Jazz. Note that the turn signal bulb and the reverse bulb are reversed so that the turn signals are on the outside of the taillamps (see my other post about reversing the signal and reverse light.) Also, the taillamp and brakelamp functions are both on the top section of the taillamp, while the bottom red section is used for rear fog light, mandatory in many European countries. Usually the rear fog will be only on the driver's side, whichever side that may be in that country. On North American spec taillamps, both the top and bottom red sections will light up for taillight function, while the bottom red section also serves as brake lights with a dual filment bulb.

OEM JDM LED Taillamps:

They are available mainly on JDM vehicles because they do not have the rear foglamp feature required in many European countries. These were available after the facelift, and are the most popular replacement taillamps for Fit owners. There are three versions of these OEM LED taillamps. There is a Red/Clear version that's standard on the 1.3S, a Red/Smoked version that's available on the 1.5A, and a full clear version that's standard on the 1.5S. Replica versions of these taillamps are also available, but they do not have an accessible LED panel and therefore you can not change out individual LEDs if they burn out. There is also a replica of the clear/red version that keeps the lower reverse lamp section clear instead of trying to blend it in with a pink hue.

OEM Style Clear/Smoked Taillamps:

I have not seen these too often for sale. But once in a while they will pop up, and for a decent price. These are basically clear/smoked lense versions of E-code factory taillamps. E-code meaning they're made to European specs, which means they are meant to be direct swap with European taillamp arrangement described earlier. These often only have a bulb holder for the lower section on the Left taillamp, meant for European rear fog lamps. These will not be street legal in North America unless you add red reflectors somewhere else in the rear and side of your Fit.

OEM Bulb style LED taillamps:

These are designed to replicate the standard bulb style taillamps, but the top and bottom sections have been replaced with red LEDs. I have seen two versions of these taillamps; One that looks like the normal taillamp with red lenses over the top and bottom sections, and a smoked clear one.

Altezza Style Taillamps:

These are "Altezza" style taillamps for the Fit/Jazz. From what I've seen so far, these are actually quite popular as well overseas, especially SouthEast Asia. There are three versions available. The Red/Clear version are the taillamp of choice on VIP themed Fits. There is also a Black/Clear version available as well as a full clear version. All three versions are also available with an LED section in the main taillamp.

3D Style Taillamps:

3D, or as some people call them, "bug-eyed" taillamps are also available for the Honda Fit and Jazz. Two versions are available; Black, and Chrome. I'm not too sure about these taillamps as the holes for the two bug-eyed sections seem to be off-center in relationship to the reflector housing inside. I don't know how much that may affect light output. From what I remember, one of the bonuses of these 3D style taillamps is that you can paint the black version's housing to match (or not to match) the colour of your car, to give it another look.

You can also do some customizing on your taillamps to make them unique. Look at this post for some examples of customized Fit/Jazz taillamps.

December 19, 2006

All I Want for Christmas...

Or should it be, I want all for Christmas! *hehe*

I was told my by brother-in-law to make a list in exchange for his list he's given to me and my wife. I really don't know what I want this year, and the first things that come to mind are related to the near two-month new Fit. So I filled the list with things I'd like to add to my car. It's pretty much an addition to what I had already posted previously in my birthday Wishlist post back in November when I just got my Fit. New items I've found and want include overseas accessories items such as a bootlip protector, JDM footwell lights, JDM clear lense LED third brake lights, JDM hazard switch, and JDM power folding mirrors (which would have come in handy last night when I scratched my passsenger side mirror.)

So check out my GiftList. There's pretty good descriptions of what each item is, and links to more information and/or where you can buy them from. Keep in mind the prices I listed are in Canadian dollars.

December 18, 2006

My First Oops With The Fit

So, I had my first oops with the Fit tonight. It's really my own fault that I wasn't patient enough (not one of my virtues, maybe that should be one of my new year resolutions).

Anyways, I was going to the bank machine at the CIBC at the corner of Westminster Hwy and No. 3 Rd. in Richmond. For people who do not know, you go in through the back of the building, where there is a left hand turn that leads to a two lane, well, lane. There's not suppose to be ANY parking there as it is a firelane. However, there are quite often large trucks parked in there doing quick deliveries, leaving only the left lane open. Unfortunately, this leaves the angled parking spots on the left very difficult to get in and out of.

So such was the case tonight. A large delivery truck was parked on the right lane, and a late model Toyota Sienna was trying to get out of its parking spot on the left. The van was backed into the left lane a bit already while the driver had his door open trying to assess his position and see if he can get out with the truck in the other lane. I only had to wait a bit and I'm sure the driver of the Sienna would have drove back into his spot for a sec to let me through. But of course, I was impatient and decided that there was enough room for my tiny little Fit to get through. Well, I was almost correct in my assumption. And almost in this case meant I knicked a metal bar under the parked delivery truck with my passenger side mirror.

My heart sank when I heard the sound. I drove into a parking stall and came out to see how bad the damage is. Well, it's not horrible, but it's not just a surface scratch either. To fix this the mirror would need to be painted as it got just under the paint. Just then my Wife whom I was meeting called and I explained I had just scratched the new car. It didn't feel good at all.

Of course, zero damage to the truck since it was a black metal suppport bar hitting my plastic mirror. So no info was exchanged and I continued on with the rest of the night's activities, but kept thinking about how I scratched the mirror. Before I parked the car for the night, I took a picture of the damage with my cell phone camera.

December 08, 2006

My Fit Reaches 1000km

Finally, over a month since I first picked up the car, my Fit reaches the 1000km mark.

I've never had any of my other cars take this long for me to drive the first 1000km. I suppose the big snow storm didn't help since I kept my Fit parked for most of those days while driving the old Mazda with the snow tires. I also made a trip down to Sea/Tac airport and back, but drove my sister's car instead she was tagging along to go to the outlet mall. The main factor though, is that these days almost all of my driving is very in-town. Many times I don't even leave my local municipality of Richmond. And really, from Richmond to downtown Vancouver only takes 20 minutes without traffic. I can see this being a very low mileage vehicle when it finally comes time to sell.

Because of all of the really short trips, I've tried to take it very easy on the engine unless I'm certain it's been warmed up. While I did try to vary the engine speed to promote proper seating of the piston rings, I've kept the engine rpms under 4000rpm. Today, after hitting the 1000km mark, I have started to vary the engine speed higher to near redline. No, I'm not driving at redline. I'm just continuing the break-in procedure, up to a higher rpm.

December 04, 2006

My Complaints About The Fit

You know, it's kind of strange. The things I thought I would miss, or bother me the most about the Fit, are not the ones I now complain about after owning it.

Before I purchased the car, I thought that the lack of an armrest would really bother me, since I was noticing how often I used it to rest my elbow on the old car. I also thought the colour-coded headlamps would drive me crazy, and that the lack of a standard cargo cover was just silly for a hatchback.

The latter still bothers me. I still can't understand why this would not be a standard feature on a hatchback. Whenever I'm out with the car and have to leave items in the back, I always worry a bit. Leaving nothing in sight just makes the car less tempting for break-ins. I would have still bought the Fit if Honda had included this item, but added $100 to the price of the car, wouldn't you?

As for the colour-coded headlights, it's not bothering me anymore. Well, at least on my Alabaster Silver Metallic. Cars like the Infiniti G35 Coupe, the Volvo R series cars, etc, all have silver painted headlights. So it's actually not soo bad. I still don't think they look good on red, white, blue, etc cars though.

And although I'd still like to have the JDM center console with the armrest, it's only because of the extra storage space, since I'm so used to putting certain items in that space from all of my previous cars (tire gauge, cell phone charger, pen). But I don't find myself missing the actual armrest at all.

What I did find really annoying is the lack of light in the interior of the Fit. No map light, no footwell lighting, and especially annoying, no glovebox light! It's a cave! Even during the day, you don't always get enough light in there to see. A contact switched light would cost near nothing for Honda to add at the factory.

I also found that my left foot keeps rolling over the tiny clutch pedal that does not pivot and my left foot will keep moving up on the pedal. Eventually, the top of my shoes gets caught under the dash, and I can not release the clutch without first wiggling my foot loose. This is made worse by the fact that the steering column does not telescope. I like the sit with my elbows comfortably bent, learned that from performance driving events. However, without a telescoping steering column, this means I'm sitting more forward than my legs would be totally comfortable.

As for the drive-by-wire setup on the Fit, for the most part I find it ok. However, I do find it a bit "laggy". It seems to be half a second behind on what I'm actually doing. Whether suddenly pushing down to accelerate to change lane or merge, or lifting to change gears. It seems to always linger just a bit, causing the engine to rev up in neutral a bit as I press the clutch down to shift for example. Maybe Honda can upgrade their ECM programming to fix this, like Nissan did for the Versa, so we can just get our cars reprogrammed for better throttle response.

Last thing here is the lack of a passenger side vanity mirror. I've already caught my wife flipping the visor down a few times when she needed to check her make-up and not finding a mirror. I say if cost was the issue, then forget the mirror on the driver side, and just put one on the passenger side. No drivers should be using the vanity when the vehicle's in motion anyway! and when the car's stopped, it's easy enough just to use the rear-view mirror since it should be angled towards you anyway.

Anyways, I've got some plans to at least ractify the interior lighting issues on my car, and I'll probably order the JDM Driver-side visor (passenger side for us) with the vanity mirror for my wife. As for the throttle delay, I guess that's up to Honda.

November 29, 2006

Fit In The Snow

While at a client's home painting on the 25th, Vancouver had its first snowfall of the year. This wasn't a small one either. 20-50cm of snow fell within a 24 hour period, and continued on through the next few days to tie or break records in various parts of the lower mainland. While this may not be a huge number for other cities that are used to snow. A normally extremely mild Vancouver could never justify the public works infrastructure necessary for more effective snow removal.

My Fit handled the snow very well with its factory all season P175/65R14 tires. No wheelspin, no sliding, very easy to drive. The fact that it's manual transmission probably helped as well. However, once the snow turned to ice, the Fit's lack of weight became very apparent. It's still ok to drive, but it was easy for the car to start "floating". Filling the gas tank helps a bit, and adding rear passengers helped as well.

Oh, and the picture, yes. After attending the Eastside Cultural Crawl, My visiting mother and my insane wife decided that our close proximity to the ice cream factory meant we must stop for a few scoops. Nevermind that it's snowing like mad and freezing. Surprisingly, at least to me, we were not the only customers in the store!

So a couple of days after the snow first hit, I decided to dig out my old Mazda because I had snow tires for that car. I drove the Mazda before and after the snow tire install and the snow tires made a huge difference on the ice. So I decided to keep driving the Mazda until the ice was gone from the street, and keep the Fit out of the elements and out of harms way from stupid SUV drivers who think that AWD means they can go as fast as normal, and stop just the same on ice. Remember folks, 4 x 0 = 0.

For those who actually have been reading my blog, yes, the Mazda was fixed finally. In my first post How I Decided on a Fit, and even when I picked up my Fit, the Mazda was not starting. I had hoped to trade the non-running Mazda in to lower my purchase cost, but my Honda dealer was only able to offer me $100 for the car. So I thought it was worth it if I fixed it first and then sold it privately. I would most likely get more than $100 on the difference between the selling price and what it costs me to get it fixed. However, I sure am glad I haven't sold the Mazda yet, since I'm getting good use out of it during the snow storm.

November 28, 2006

Chrome Inner Door Handles

Fellow member Chikubi posted these JDM chrome inner door handles. It's these little things that make a big difference to whether the car feels like a econo-box or a well packaged little machine. Almost makes me want to bother my friends who are honeymooning in Japan right now to bring me a set. =P

Parts numbers are:
LH: 72160-SAA-J01ZA
RH: 72120-SAA-J01ZA

You'd need two of each for all four doors. According to Chikubi, they are around 1400 yen, or around $12USD each.

November 20, 2006

The Fit Gets Even Smaller

Remember this from about a year ago? Making real cars into Micro-Machine looking things using Photoshop. I never really looked into how to make them, but I recently stumbled onto a very easy to follow tutorial. So I made one from a generic side photo of an Alabaster Silver Metallic LX, and ventured onto doing a 3/4 shot of my wife's dream car, a Jaguar XJR. After trying it, I realize it is actually much more simple than I had imagined. Basically you do the following:
  1. Find a photo of your desired car, preferrably a side shot
  2. Use the Polygonal Lasso tool around the front wheel, getting the wheel arch and shadow, then copy and paste it to a new layer
  3. Do the same with the rear wheel, creating another new layer
  4. Go back to the original photo layer, then go to Edit, Free Transform, and narrow the photo to desired size
  5. Move the layers of full sized wheels to approximately where you wat them on the shrunken car
  6. Use Edit, Transform, Distort to twist the full size wheel layers if needed
  7. Use the erase tool at around 50% opaque around the full size wheels to blend the wheels into the shrunken background car
If you need more detailed help, check out this tutorial which helped me. It includes step-by-step screen captures, as well as a video example for reference.

Here's the original photo of the XJR I did for my wife:

And here's what it looks like after Photoshop:

November 12, 2006

Disabling Daytime Running Lights (DRL)

*disclaimer* - This is a general guide based on my personal experience. I will not be liable for any harm to your person or your vehicle, or any tickets and fines or other legal problems you may encounter as a result of performing this modification. Proceed only if you fully understand the instructions, and follow them at your own risk.

DRLI looked in the Owners Manual and it shows two fuses related to the Daytime Running Lamp (DRL) system. A 7.5amp fuse in slot 8, and a 10amp fuse in slot 18. But as I found out, you only need to remove the 7.5amp fuse from slot 8 and the system will be disabled. So removing both will not make a difference. However, removing only the 10amp fuse from slot 18 will result in the DRL warning light in the dash to light up, and I'm guessing most of you would rather not have that.

Follow these steps to disable your Canadian Spec DRL system:

  1. Locate the driver's coin tray to the left of the steering wheel column

  2. Find the dial on the top side of the coin tray, turn quarter-turn counterclock-wise, then pull the tray towards you and slightly downwards.

  3. Find the white fuse puller in the fuse panel and pull it straight out towards you

  4. Use the fuse puller and remove the 7.5amp (brown) mini fuse from slot 8

  5. Replace the fuse puller to its oiginal holder location in the panel

  6. Replace coin tray by lining up the tabs on the bottom, then push in to engage the side clips, and turn the top locking dial quarter-turn clockwise.

Done. Now when you put the parking brake down, the DRL won't light up. Turning the headlight switch to one click will only light up the parking lamps on top of the headlights, and two clicks will turn on your low beams. High beam will operate the same way as before.

<rant>I never liked this function personally. I understand why it is in our cars and how it can help make you car more visible. But I see way too many stupid people who are completely ignorant that they're driving with only DRLs at night because they see light ahead of them, and with many newer cars that have their dash light up anytime your igintion is on, it doesn't matter now many times you flash your light at them from behind trying to warn them they're completely invisible from the rear, they drive along without a clue.

What's worse are these idiots who think they're so cool and drive with their DRL and parking lights on at night without turning on their regular low beams. Many DRL systems are based on a reduced intensity voltage to the high beam assembly or filment, with a light dispersion pattern that will blind an oncoming driver.

I like to have control over my lights. I like to be able to run parking lights when waiting on the side of the street so I don't annoy pedestrians or shine my lights into someone's bedroom. I like to run just parking lights when there's enough light at dawn or dusk so my motorcycle riding friends with always on headlights are seen and differentiated more easily. I also like to be able to run parking lights only with fog lights (another thing stupid US laws don't allow) so that my light is dispersed low, where I need to in heavy fog, instead of up high (even worse with high beam DRLs) where it just reflects off the fog and blinds me.

The North American DRL system is a result of good government intentions caving to the pressures of industry. Had we incorporated the European standards for DRL, I don't think I, and a lot of other people, would have a problem with it. However, because automakers complained that it would be too costly to make cars with new low beam DRL systems, DRL systems in North America are allowed to use their high beams, or parking lamps (so white, amber, or yellow lights. talk about confusion) at up to 7,000 candela of light on axis! (versus 400 to 800 candela white light in Europe) With 800 candela low beam, you would not blind anyone in any ambient lighting condition, nor would you be lead to believe your headlights are already on at night.</rant>

And So It Begins

big wrench
Haha, well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I'm actually surprised I left the Fit unmolested for this long. Tonight, before heading over to the in-laws for dinner, I brought 4 kitchen garbage bags and a rag down with me to the car.

I've wanted to do this since I first got the car. So I opened the hatch, took out the extension from the tool bag in the spare tire well, and with my rag, I started to pry off the wheel cover. For some reason the first wheel I picked (rear passenger side) was very difficult, so I decided to try another wheel before putting more force into it, in case I was doing something wrong. Nope. It popped off easy enough. So I went around the car taking off each wheel cover, leaving the black steelies exposed. I've always hated wheel covers, and knowing Honda, these plastic wheel covers will cost almost as much to replace if lost or curbed as it would to replace the actual steel wheel. Plus the vast black space in the wheel wells now makes the car looks... less cute. That's a good thing because it's all I've been getting with this car. "Awwww.... It's sooo cute!" I feel like I should paint it pink and put a "Barbie" decal across the side or something. >__<

After I bagged each wheel cover individually to prevent scratching, I put the extension back in the tool bag and closed the hatch. I then went under the dash and opened up the fuse cover and proceeded to disable the Daytime Running Lights (DRL) on my Canadian spec Fit. I never liked the North American implementation of this function, and the Honda fit is among the worst offender by using the high beam as DRL. So like all of my previous cars that were equipped with Daytime running Lamps, the system was disabled. At least it was pretty easy to do on this car. Check my other post in the How-To section on what you need to do to disable the DRL.

November 09, 2006

Honda Service Manual

service manualAnyone who might be interested in doing some work on their own should definately check out the available service manuals for the Honda Fit.

The Helm Service Manual is approved by Honda USA and is currently the only publicly available manual for the North American spec Fit. Also, the price on their website is actually $5 less than the price listed in the back of the Owners Manual. I should definately add this one to my "wishlist"Helm also offers a number of other manuals for the Fit, including factory owners manuals and service history booklets. You can see the full list here.

For a quick reference, someone has posted a copy of the 2002-2005 Honda Fit/Jazz Electronic Service Manual (ESM) from Honda online. This service manual is in English only, and is meant for Australian and European export models, and should only be used for general reference, as many detail items, such as wiring diagrams, may not be compatible with North American spec models.

November 06, 2006

Canadian vs US Spec Fit

Canadian and American FlagCanadian and US spec Honda Fit are the most similar of all Fit and Jazz cars in the world, such as having extended bumpers (which also means different headlights, fenders, rebar, and bumpers) to meet strict crash requirements, and a traditional automatic transmission as opposed to the CVT offered elsewhere in the world. We only get the 1.5 vtec engine, and we also get ABS and Side curtain airbags standard. However, we do not get 4-wheel disc brakes like all European models, nor do we have the option of 4WD like in Japan. Some Japan and european models also get moonroof, HID headlamps and GPS navigation.

However, there are still some differences between the US and Canadian editions of the Honda Fit. There are the mandatory items such as Daytime Running Lights (DRL) in the Canadian spec models that are absent from their US counterparts, as well as the different markings and warning lamp icons in the dash. But there are also some other less obvious differences.

US spec Fit comes in two trims, Base, and Sport. In addition the the 15" alloy wheels (instead of the 14" steelies with hub caps), the Sport trim adds underbody spoilers, fog lamps, leather wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, the MP3 capable stereo with aux input.

Canadians spec Fit comes in three trim levels. DX, LX, and Sport. You can basically think of the LX like a US spec base model, with the addition of the Aux input on the stero, which is actually standard on all three trim levels in Canada. The Sport trim is the same as the Sport trim in the US. The Canadian DX trim, is truly an entry level vehicle, gets only 2 speakers instead of 4 on the base 160-watt audio system, has no air conditioning, and no power door locks or power mirrors. If you're looking to build a track car out of the Fit, then the Canadian spec DX is probably your best bet.

There are also a few exterior colour differences as well. Instead of Lunar Mist Metallic, Canadians get an Alabaster Silver Metallic (the colour I have), which is more of a pure silver, with no bluish hue, and Taffeta White is unavalible in Canada. Also, in Canada, the DX is only limited to Milano Red, Vivid Blue Pearl, and Alabaster Silver Metallic. While the LX adds Nighthawk Black Pearl and Storm Silver Metallic. The Sport adds Blaze Orange Metallic. In the US, all colours except Blaze Orange Metallic is available on the base model, which substitutes Lunar Mist Metallic as an available colour on the Sport trim.

The colour difference continues to the inside. Where some exterior colours in the US base models (and an option on the Taffeta White Sport) are mated to a beige/black interior, and all Sport trim has a black interior, The Canadian models have a grey/black interior on all DX and LX trim models regardless of exterior colour, and a black interior on all Sport trims. The grey/black interior is actually fairly dark still, just has a different texture and pattern on it versus the black interior of the Sport.

Keep in mind that these specs are based on the 2007 model year.

November 02, 2006

Wish List

candlesWhen I went to my bank yesterday to get my certified cheque for the Fit, the teller was kind enough to waive the service charge when he noticed on my ID that my birthday was coming up in a few days. He asked if the car was a birthday present to myself. I had not even thought about my birthday in relations to the car because first, I bought it because my old car broke, and second, I really didn't know for sure when I was going to get the car.

I haven't really planned out exactly what I want to do with this car since I didn't plan on buying a car at all, and I'm trying not to start "playing" with it until I get my finances settled down. However, there are a few things I would like to add to the car:

  • OEM Honda Cargo Cover - Available as a Honda accessory at the dealers. It's nice to be able to throw stuff in the back and be out-of-sight when you need to park somewhere. The less they see, the less tempted they are to break in.
  • OEM Armrest Console - Available in other world markets either as standard/optional equipment or accessory, this piece replaces the North American stock center console with one that has a sliding padded arm rest with a storage console underneath. I'd like to put my phone charger, tire gauge, CDs etc in there. Harder to find, but the the title has a link to a dealer in the US, and locally A&J Racing and BPT lists the item. I'm certain other shops who sell JDM items can get these as well.
  • OEM Passenger Side Visor w/Mirror - I notice that my wife does use the visor mirror sometimes in our other cars, especially if we're running late for a dinner or something and she's forced to finish her makeup in the car. It also comes with card holders so you'll always have your business cards handy.
  • Aftermarket Alarm System - Hondas, especially small Hondas, always end up taking a large number of spots on any "most stolen cars" list. Although the car has an immobilizer, it's still a serious concern. Many of my friends have opted for two-way paging alarms such as Compustar. But I'd like to know how well they work in a high-rise condo/parkade setting to see if they're worth the money.
  • OEM black headlamps - Anyone local want to trade their black headlamps with my Alabaster Silver ones? It's great if you want some contrast at the front of your car because the lighter Alabaster Silver emulates a chrome housing headlamp. And actually, Some markets in the world, the top line models come with a light silver painted housing. For me though, as I mentioned in previous posts, I think my car looks a bit too cute for my liking. Black headlamps would definitely help.

There are a few other import market OEM accessories and other things I find interesting, but the above items are the ones I'm sure I'd like to have. Too bad most of these items are fairly pricey and/or difficult to find and purchase, so I'm not holding my breath (so no pressure you guys). Anyways, I'm sure now that I've got the car, I'll have a full plan of attack for exactly what I want to do with it soon enough. Already, a few of the preliminary ideas might even "X" the black headlamps if I was to get them. Stay tuned...

November 01, 2006

The Fit is Go

Excuse the advertising copyline. I just had to use it once. Never again I promise. =P

I got a call in the morning saying that my Fit had arrived at the dealership. Normally I'd be very excited, but I have been very sick for the past three days, so it was difficult even for me to talk in order to arrange the pickup time with the dealership. Plus as I mentioned in my previous post about selecting the Fit, my old car had broken down. So although I waited a lot shorter than many others for their Fit to arrive (placed my order on the 19th of October), it was more of a "oh finally" feeling about the car's arrival. Don't get me wrong, I truly appreciate what my salespeople did for me to expedite delivery. It's just that with my mom here visiting and having to borrow cars from friends and family, it never too soon to have my own car again.

Fit Delivery
So I made the appointment for 3:30pm, and went in to the dealership. I briefly discussed the possibility of trading my non running old Mazda in, but they were only able to offer me $100 for the 20 year old car. So I decided I will get it running and sell it myself. The PDI had been done on my Fit and had 14kms on it along with a full tank of gas. My salesperson very nicely threw in the carpeted floor mats for me, and I can't remember for sure right now, but I remember seeing rear splash guards on my car when I looked it over. I thought this was an accessory item, and is listed on my accessories price list. Maybe I lucked out, but I'd rather have lucked out on a rear cargo cover or something, as this is something that will have to come off when I put a side skirt on the car. And after seeing pictures of me in this car, I think I will need to do something to make it look less, well, cute.

Anyways, as I said, I'm seriously sick right now. I'll double check later to see if I do actually have rear splash guards on my Fit, and if it is standard or an accessory. If I wasn't so sick, I'd probably be down with the car right now taking off the rear "Fit" badge (or maybe putting a dot between the "F" and the "i" of the badge so it reads "" *heh*). That's what I did the second day when I had my Audi, only because the first night I was busy installing the clear corners and smoked side marker lamps I had gotten before I even got my car. Hmm... this is bad. Maybe I should have bought the Kia. Then I wouldn't be so tempted to modify it. What was I thinking buying a Honda! Oh well, too late. =P

October 29, 2006 & and are two other online community dedicated to the Honda Fit/Jazz cars. Their forums are less active than, but they serve as a alternate source of informtion for your vehicle. Their forums are also divided up a bit more specifically if you're looking for particular type of info, like suspension, wheels and tires, audio and electronics, etc. is currently the largest Fit / Jazz specific online comunity. It has a very active forum and lots of related news articles on the main page. You will find everything you'd ever want to know about the Honda Fit or Jazz on its pages. It also hosts the Fit Car Club of America and its forums.

October 28, 2006

Aria/City Conversion

Honda Fit Aria / City
Those who liked the "Domani" conversion on EK Civics because it looks less bug-eyed, might also be interested in an "Aria/City" conversion for the same reason. It gives the car a bit more of an upscale look. The crease in the side of the fender will match up perfectly with the Fit, so it should be an easy bolt-on swap as long as you've got all the parts needed (fenders, wheel well liner, rad/headlamp support, bumper, rebar, hood, lights, etc). And since you'd have to get a lot of the same parts just to fit JDM bumpers or aero kits, or even headlights on your North American spec Fit (because of our longer nose due to crash standards), This might be an option worth looking into. Keep in mind though that there are a lot fewer body kit options for the Aria/City front end. And with the less raked hood, you might even be able to fit a K24 under there.

*Please note that this post is based on underhood photos I've seen of the Aria/City, where it looks like the frame and headlamp allowance space is made to fit with the Fit front end as well. I have never attempted this conversion, or even seen an Aria/City in person. So I make no gaurantees this conversion will be a direct bolt-on, or that it will work at all.

Relatives of the Fit

There are a few other Honda cars that are built on their Global Small Car platform:

The Fit Aria (City)

The Fit Aria, or City as it is called in some markets, is essentially a 4-door sedan version of the Fit. Besides having a trunk, it has a different front end with a less raked nose and a very "Acura" looking grill. The dash is the same as the Fit, but the center console has a cig lighter, pull out ashtray, and a coin tray with a sliding cover.

The Airwave

Honda Airwave
If the Fit Aria/City is a sibling of the Fit, then the Honda Airwave is a first cousin. You can look at the Airwave as a station wagon version of the Aria/City, although the two looks nothing alike. However, the Airwave does share with the Fit and the City the "magic seat" system because it also has its gas tank located under the front passenger seats. What I love about this car though is the "Sky Roof"; an enormous glass roof that covers the entire front and rear passenger area of the cabin. Even if you had the money, I do not believe the Airwave's roof curvature is the same as the Fit, making a retrofit near impossible.

The Mobilio /Mobilio Spike

Honda Mobilio
The Mobilio (above) and the Mobilio Spike (below) are like the Fit's second or third cousins. They share the same chassis, but not much else. The gas tank location is more traditional in these cars, so no "magic seat" configurations are available. The Mobilio is a 7 seater with third-row seating for two, while the Mobilio Spike has no third-row seats, and no rear quarter windows. It also has a different front end that's less "robot" looking.

Honda Mobilio

October 27, 2006

Wikipedia: Honda Fit

Wikipedia has a good page on the Honda Fit, offering information from its production history, global branding, and variations on engine and platform configurations worldwide, sources for scaled models, and more. It also houses various Fit related external links.

To see the article online, click here. 2007 Honda Fit Expert Review

Joe Wiesenfelder's review of the 2007 Honda Fit at includes useful comparison charts of fuel economy, exterior dimensions, passenger room, and cargo capacity between the Civic sedan, the Fit, Chevrolet Aveo 5-door, the Kia Rio5, Nissan Versa, and the Toyota Yaris.

To view the full article online, click here.

Popular Mechanics Comparson Test: Battle of the B-Cars

In the July 2006 issue of Popular Mechanics, the magazine tested the newest entries in the North American subcompact, or b-class category. The cars included the Honda Fit Sport, Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio5 SX and Nissan Versa 1.8S. They liked the Honda Fit the best, but said that it was a bit pricey compared to the others, especially base model prices.

To read the full article online, click here.

Car and Driver: $15,000 Cheapskates Comparison

Car and Driver magazine did a comparison test in May of 2006 of a select group of sub-$15,000 economobiles. The participants included the 2007 Dodge Caliber SE, the 2007 Honda Fit Sport, the 2006 Hyundai Accent GLS, the 2006 Kia Rio5 SX, the 2007 Nissan Versa SL, the 2006 Suzuki Reno, and the 2007 Toyota Yaris S. The test result is as follows:
  • Seventh Place: 2006 Suzuki Reno
  • Sixth Place: 2007 Dodge Caliber SE
  • Fifth Place: 2006 Hyundai Accent GLS
  • Fourth Place: 2007 Toyota Yaris S
  • Third Place: 2006 Kia Rio5 SX
  • Second Place: 2007 Nissan Versa 1.8SL
  • First Place: 2007 Honda Fit Sport
To read the full article online, follow this link.

October 26, 2006

How I decided on a Fit

My '87 Mazda 626 LX Turbo hatchback had been refusing to turn-over intermittently, and the day before my mother was coming over for an extended visit, it finally decided to quit for good. I checked all the normal stuff, battery, fuses, starter, even replaced my distributor, and nothing worked. I'm sure it's something silly like a corroded wire or something. But I don't want to spend a few hunderd in labour just to track down where the problem is. I know that this is actually a pretty rare car, but the people who are looking to buy this car are also rare. So I wasn't worth the money, time and effort for me to fix this 20 year old car, as rare and fun as it was to drive (quite a little sleeper), I decided to give it up and look for something new that I migh keep for the next while.

Since this was an unexpected expense, price was a big consideration. My other criterias included a hatchback (I'm in furniture and interor design), 4-doors (future family considerations), and running cost (fuel, maintenance, reliability). I stayed away from domestic makes because previous experiences with them have not been as good as imports as far as longevity; They drive and feel great when new, but tend to show their age much sooner than imports. Really though, the only domestic I might have considered wold be the Ford Focus. And if they had brought the new one over, instead of facelifting the old chassis, I might have seriously considered it. So it was pretty easy to finalize my short list.

The cars I was considering included the Nissan Versa, the Volkswagen City Golf (a Canada only model, basically a stripped down MKIV Golf 2.0L), The Honda Fit, and I also stopped by a Kia dealership to look at the Rio5 after running errands one day.

The 2007 Volkswagen City

2007 Volkswagen City Golf
My sister currently drives a German made MKIV Golf GLS with the 2.0L engine, and I had previously owned a Mexican made MKIV Jetta GLS also with the 2.0L engine. So I already knew what to expect from the City Golf. The City Golf is a Canadian-Only model, and is essentially the same car as the previous 1999.5-2006 Golf 2.0L cars minus the cubby tray and slide-out cupholders above the stereo, and the folding armrest equipped lower center console. The car are also now produced in Brazil instead. This car is actually an extremely good value for the money; Priced at least $3500 less for a similarly equipped new MkIV from previous years. Good gearing ratio for the city and the highway, comes with plenty of standard features, inclding power mirrors. The engine feels very peppy in town due to the flat power band, max torque is available around 2500rpm, and comes with the biggest brakes in all of the cars I looked at, and it's disc brakes on all four corners.

When I priced the car out, the City Golf was only about $1000 more than the Honda Fit with all of the options I wanted with 5-speed manual, A/C, and convienece package for power windows, doorlocks, which comes with switchblade key fob and remote entry and alarm as well as cruise control. I was very temped by this car actually, since I had been in the VW/Audi scene for a while, I know exactly where to go for anything I might need for this car, service or parts. However, I ultimately decided against this choice because the car is not as fuel efficient, and the Fit has the same interior cargo volume in a smaller and lighter package. Also, the Fit is a new (to us) model, while the City Golf is really a previous generation car. Anyone remember when they released the last generation Nissan Sentra, and kept selling the older one as the Sentra Classic? Resale on the Classics were horrible. Plus, my sister owns this car already, and with my previous Jetta, I kind of did as well. So it's kind of a "been there, done that" feeling. So I decided to let it pass. But I highly recommend people considering any of these cars to take a look at the City Golf; That is, if you're lucky enough to live in Canada.

Nissan Versa

2007 Nissan Versa
In case you didn't know, the Renault/Nissan Alliance was signed on March 27, 1999, giving Renault 44.4% share in Nissan. This car is really a re-skined Renault Clio. And like the Honda Fit, this is only a "new" car in North America (we get the Mexican made versions here). I really wanted to like this car. On paper, this car looked great. Good power from the engine, good fuel economy, huge interior and cargo area, and fantastic price. I know looks is a very subjective thing, and maybe it's because I'm very used to the look of small European hatchbacks. But unlike most reviews I've read, I actually prefer the look of the Versa over the Honda Fit, which in my opinion, looks like... well, a Honda; bland and uninspiring. I know that the aftermarket can help change all that. But that can help the Versa as well. And from my previous project cars, and friend's cars and experiences, starting with a good base style-wise can make a big difference. During my research, I saw some extremely nice examples of modified Versa, or Tiida as they're called in Japan.

The interior room was impressive, but what killed the Versa for me was the fact that the rear seats do not fold even close to being flat with the cargo area floor. There's literally a "step" going from the cargo area to the folded rear seats. Being a furniture and space designer, I often need to move longer items in my car that have some weight to them. The uneven floor in the Versa can potentially break my cargo because much of the weight of the piece would be resting on the edge of the forementioned "step". I simply cannot understand this oversight by Nissan. Most people who are looking for hatchbacks, especially in North America, are doing so because they need to carry cargo more often than Joe Average. I know there is a JDM accessory which raises the cargo area floor with a compartmentalized tray with a cover. But the cover is supported by thin plastic partitions and would probably not be able to hold as much weight. And because of the height difference it has to make up, this piece eats into the cargo capacity quite a bit. The hatch opening of the Versa is also much smaller due to the taillight design, this seriously impeeds loading of large items such as the ones I would likely need to carry. I actually started my dealership tour thinking I would end up with a Versa. But the uneven cargo floor killed it for me. However, if your vehicle's main purpuse is to transport adults in the back, the Versa is definately a good choice.

Kia Rio5

2007 Kia Rio5
This car was quite a pleasant surprise. Maybe it's because I really didn't have any expectations for this car. I just stopped by the locak Kia dealership because it was close to where I was running some errands. However, I was quite impressed with the car. The car was quiet, had a solid feel to it when driving and operating the doors. I actually felt that it had better initial turn-in response than the Honda fit. I know most magazine reviews said the Honda Fit handled the best out of similar cars. But for regular, and "sprited" in-town sprints, I actually felt the Rio5 "pushed" less than the Fit.

The design of the car I quite liked as well. It has a very European look to it. A slight bit last gen European, but still very nice. The interior design and layout was very nice, and the materials used in this car, especially in the sports trim, was georgeous looking. It looks like a much more expensive car than it is priced at. Kia actually made more cars worldwide than Honda did last year, and I can definately see why they are the fastest growing automaker in the world. I urge people to give this car a look, and a drive before completely skipping over it.

Honda Fit

2007 honda Fit
When I started this search, I didn't think I would end up picking the Honda Fit. With the windows behind the rear doors and sloping hood, it's the most minivan looking one of the bunch. It doesn't come with a cargo cover, dead pedal, floor mats, map lights, or a locking gas flap. The car already looks dated to me (granted, it is not really a new design since Honda's been selling these elsewhere for a while). But since I didn't want to by a "new" City Golf, and the Versa didn't suit my needs, my choices were down to the Kia Rio5 and the Honda Fit. Kia has improved their quality significantly in recent years, and offers a longer warranty than Honda. But when people talk of Kia reliability, it's still a question, not a statement. This is reflected in their resale value as well. Therefore, for about the same price with the options I wanted (though there's probably a slight bit more room to move on price for the Kia), I decided to go with the Honda. Even though on looks alone, it would have been my last choice. I guess I am growing up. Or I'm subconsciously trying to give myself an excuse to dive into the aftermarket with this car when I told myself I would not. *grin*

As a side note, the Honda Fit is actually a fairly old car. It was introduced in Japan in June of 2001 and released to great success worldwide as either the Honda Fit or the Honda Jazz. There is also a sedan version in some parts of the world called the Fit Aria with a different front end as well as a trunk. Since it has just been introducted here in North America mid 2006 as a 2007 model, The Fit will have a much longer life than the typical 4 year cycle for honda products.

Final Notes

I did not consider the Toyota Yaris because it was simply too small. We do not get the any Scions up here in Canada through the dealerships, only grey market imports. Call me superstitious, but Suzuki just doesn't sound very good in Taiwanese (sounds like "lose it all"). The Chevrolet Aveo/Pontiac Wave is really a Daewoo Kalos, and has one of the absolute worse crash test results of any car, any size. I also looked for clearance '06 Mazda3 Sports, but the selection was limited and price was still a bit high for me, which meant so was the subaru Impreza 2.5 wagon. As I said, this was an unexpected expense. It also helped that one of my good friends works for Honda, and funny enough, my previous salesman from VW now also works at the same Honda dealership as my friend. So I got them both to be on this deal for me.

Understanding my situation with my car breaking, they also tried to help me out by trying to put me into a car sooner (since the Fit, and actually the Versa and City Golf as well, all have at least a 2 to 3 month waiting list right now) . I wasn't too picky on the colour, so they were able to help me out by putting my name on a Alabaster Silver Matellic LX 5-speed manual that was allotted to another salesperson, and not a customer. I am told that although the car is technically at port already, and was suppose to arrive at the dealership by the 23rd, the wharf worker's strike has prevented the trucks from getting the cars out of port. Supposedly , they've contacted head office of the situation and Honda has agreed to help get the cars out and to the dealerships, hopefully before the end of the month. This expedited delivery also played a huge role in my decision to pick the Fit, since my situaton really needs a car ASAP. So I put down my deposit on the 19th of October, and now am waiting to hear the good news.