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ETpro's avatar

My son's looking to replace a VW Golf that's been a maintenance headache. How's the Honda Fit?

Asked by ETpro (34581points) March 10th, 2012

If not a Honda Fit, what car in that size, price range (new) and class would you recommend? He’d like to get some sort of compact 5 door hatchback. If you go with the Fit hybrid, how many miles before it pays back the extra $4K it costs?

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27 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

Any vehicle that has Honda or Toyota on it, is a good, dependable buy.

I have a 2000 Toyota Solara that has 300,000 miles on it and only changed the timing belt.

I got my moneys worth out of this vehicle. I bought a 2008 Solara(last year made) and I expect the same great riding pleasure.

marinelife's avatar

Here is some info from :Edmunds:

“The recent introduction of several appealing new hatchbacks means buyers now have a number of very good choices, and the Fit’s upgrades help it to remain current. One impressive rival is the sporty Ford Fiesta. It offers a better ride, improved fuel economy and an upscale cabin, but it’s not as roomy. We’d also suggest having a look at the new Hyundai Accent, as it offers class-leading power and a more stylish interior. Overall, though, the 2012 Honda Fit continues to be one of our favorites and will likely surprise you with its mix of practicality, frugality and fun.”

“Powertrain Quality – Mechanical 4.5”
The Initial Quality Study by J.D. Power is based from owner-reported issues.

funkdaddy's avatar

Kind of in the same boat and just started looking… here’s our short list so far

Honda Fit
Subaru Impreza
Mazda 3
Nissan Juke (I just want to drive one, she’s not sold on it)
Ford Focus (a late addition I hadn’t considered, I keep hearing good things)

As for the gas question, if we say 30mpg for the Fit, and 45 for the hybrid version, then use $4.00/gal for gas (seems a safe average for the next couple of years? Ok, maybe low, but easy to calculate) you’d have to save 1000 gallons of gas.

So you get an extra ~15mpg… 1000 gallons would be saved at 90,000 miles. You can slide it around a bit depending on the price of gas and exactly what mileage numbers you want to use but you’re looking at somewhere in the neighborhood.

Depending on how much you drive that’s 5–7 years out.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Check the Fiat 500 too. I am not looking for a car, but one of my coworkers got one and loves it.

john65pennington's avatar

Concerning gas mileage. Just remember, you will probably never get the gas mileage they advertise, because different people have different driving methods. If you could go 30 mph all day long, then you might receive close to their advertised gas mileage.

Just count on maybe ½ to ⅔rds of what they advertise and this will be more the truth than their fiction.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think you can ever go wrong with Honda. I never had one problem with my Honda, Nissan, or Mazda. Nothing. I have had problems with every other car I have owned, albeit many times very minor problems that were easily fixed, except for my last Corvette also that did not have one problem. I have owned Porsches, Mazda, Nissan, Honda, Ford, Dodge, and Saab bought new, except for my first Nissan.

If I cared about reliability most I would have Honda at the top of my list.

Aqua's avatar

My mother bought a Honda Fit in 2009. She likes it, and it hasn’t given her any problems. Personally, I wouldn’t buy one. The dash board controls for the stereo and the iPod interface aren’t very intuitive, and the blind spot is a lot bigger than in my current car. The times I drove it, it seemed like the engine was a little underpowered. Maybe the design has changed by now though.

Sunny2's avatar

I’m on my 4th Honda Civic. Very reliable. I like small cars. Current one carries 4 people quite comfortably. It’s 8 years old and hasn’t needed any major adjustments. I get about 34 mpg.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@ETpro My wife and I bought a brand new Honda Fit about a year ago after we were hit by a drunk driver who totaled our car. We have been nothing but happy with it. After purchasing the car, we noticed that there are at least 20 more Fits zooming around our small city. Having spoken to three other Fit owners, I can tell you that we are all quite happy with the car. I do a lot of city driving with the occasional long journey, but I’m still getting about 30 mpg. How long it would take to pay back the extra $4,000 for the hybrid version, though, depends on several factors. Edmunds has a handy calculator here that can help you figure out if it’s worthwhile.

I also have to disagree with @Aqua‘s assessment of the dashboard and blind spot. I find the sound controls to be very intuitive—though perhaps this is because I have driven Hondas all my life—and I don’t find the blind spot to be much different from other cars I have driven (and much better than the Toyota Matrix I was forced to drive shortly after the accident I mentioned above). But again, it may just be that I am used to driving a Honda. As for the engine, it’s what I expect for its size. Not as powerful as you get in a lot of American cars, but I’m not racing anyone. And it’s still much better than my old 2001 Honda Civic.

There’s a huge technological gap between my current car and my previous car. It’s possible this has affected how happy I am with the Fit. Regardless, I highly recommend at least giving it a test drive.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I have a Honda Fit and I can tell you that they are awesome little cars. I regularly get 30 miles to the gallon and if I’m doing unbroken highway driving for a good, long time, I get 40 miles to the gallon. I live in CT and I’ve driven to and from NC and IN in this car.

After three years, there is little loss in breaking and acceleration. There is a huge amount of room in the back when you put the seats down. Until recently, I regularly drove a very tall man around all the time he is 6’1 and he was never uncomfortable. And, although some here say it’s engine isn’t powerful, for a small engine, it actually is quite powerful. I never have an trouble accelerating or going up hills.

ETpro's avatar

@john65pennington Thanks for the vote of confidence. For years now, I have heard owners sing the quality praises of Honda and Toyota. Seems that the American big three have finally begun to catch up, though.

@marinelife Thanks for the links. I’ve forwarded them on to my son, who is down in Georgia for some army training right now.

@funkdaddy Thanks for the list of other cars to consider. Yeah, I started running some calculations on savings with the hybrid and came to the same conclusion. If you want to save the Earth, buy a hybrid. If you want to save money, stick with a conventional power-plant for now.

ETpro's avatar

@WestRiverrat I’m a bit skittish on Italian car quality, having been burned in the past. Current quality rating on the Fiat 500 isn’t all that bad, though.

@john65pennington Thanks for the fudge factors on MPG figures.

@JLeslie That’s quite a list you have sampled. Seems all agree the Honda is a safe bet from a quality standpoint. The VW has been a constant headache for him to keep running.

@Aqua Thanks. That’s perhaps an individual call based on the driver’s height and preferences. But if he settles on the Fit, I will tell him to make sure it’s a good fit when it comes to the blind spot.

@Sunny2 That’s really impressive quality feedback. Thanks.

@SavoirFaire I’m glad that you came through the accident better than your car did. I appreciate the further info on hybrid cost/benefit.

@KatawaGrey There’s nothing like a couple of satisfied owners like you and @SavoirFaire to convince me. Thanks.

Aqua's avatar

@ETpro Yeah, I still agree with @SavoirFaire and definitely think the Fit should still be considered as an option. As I said, my mom loves it, and I did enjoy the paddle shifters. The best way to see if you like it is test drive it yourself.

ETpro's avatar

@Aqua That’s his call to make after a test drive.

JLeslie's avatar

I did recently buy a VW GTI that I forgot to mention. So far it has had no trouble. I get over 30 MPG consistently, and I like how it drives. Mine is a manual shift, I can’t speak to the automatic. Honda usually has a smooth accelleration; I do believe in Honda engineering. I don’t know how the two compare price wise. My guess is maybe the VW feels a little heavier, sort of more solid. But, that is just guessing. But, that was my husband picking the car, for myself I would buy Japanese.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie With some of the cars rolling of the Big Three’s lines, it’s also possible to buy American and not be thought a dolt for doing so. I’m glad to see that change.

JLeslie's avatar

@etpro They still have more problems typically. A friend of mine works for a company that supplies auto parts. He decides what to order to have on hand. When a car reaches two years old they typically start carrying certain parts. The American cars they stock up, the Japanese not so much.

So far we like out Ford Truck very much, but in the first week I did have to bring it to fix something, can’t remember what right now. And, the seats don’t heat evenly, but I probably won’t do anything about it.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie According to J. D. Powers, Cadillac has the lowest component replacement rate in 2012. Lexus, Porsche and Cadillac have been duking it out for top notch since 2009. But almost all makes improved quality over the previous year.

JLeslie's avatar

My Porsches all needed something. I’ve never owned a Cadillac.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie They’ve yet to build the perfect car.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro Not one problem ever with any of my Japanese cars. The one exception was a recall on the seats in my Nissan, but I had never had a problem.

Interestingly, when I lived in MI people would say they didn’t have problems with their cars, and then when I pressed further they said they were all covered under warranty. Meaning, they did not perceive it as a problem if it was easily taken care of. To me that is still a problem.

The link you have, I am not clear, was that just reporting for vehicles 3+ years? I drove off the lot and needed something fixed right away with my 911 and this Ford Truck. Everyone is very nice in service and fixes everything. Still annoying. None of it is something with the engine. Nothing that would leave me stalled out in the middle of the road. Oh, except my Cayenne Porsche was not accelerating every so often, they couldn’t find the problem. I’m pretty negative about the quality control in non Japanese cars, can you tell?

JLeslie's avatar

Let’s do a q asking jellies what cars they have had zero problems with, and what cars have problems. We will limit it to the first 3 years of a cars life, when nothing should be going wrong.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie Excellent idea. It’s yours, so you ask. My answer as to the one and only car I never had to repair may surprise you.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@ETpro they came dang close when they built the bloodhound in 2008.

ETpro's avatar

@WestRiverrat I am pretty sure he ins’t looking for a car to break the sound barrier. If he is, I am going to have a word or two with him. :-)

chewhorse's avatar

I had a Honda that sucked me financially dry and will never trust another one.. I also have a Toyota that’s paid me back many times over so it’s not the brand as much as the durability.. Think of it as a lottery, as human beings build these things, some put their energies into their profession while others seem interested only with the clock on the wall.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@chewhorse There are consumer protection laws at the state and federal level to prevent a car from sucking you dry financially. Vehicles with an undue number of problems are subject to replacement or refund.

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