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Fit vs. MINI

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
edited March 6 in Honda
Reviews of the Honda Fit suggest that it shares the attributes - nimble handling, peppy, fun-to-drive, cute - that MINI Cooper owners value. In addition, it's cheaper, runs on 87 octane, has more dealerships, and is likely to be more reliable. Is the MINI's handling, fun factor and styling sufficiently better than the Fit's to offset the Honda's advantages?
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Comments

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    "Driving the Fit with a five-speed manual transmission revealed a sweet spot of acceleration in the midrange that emerges like a bonus on an already lively engine."

    That's called V-Tec :) Also, the engine should be making a bit of noise at **10mph over the fastest speed limits**.

    That's passing range, and you want it to be at least 2/3 the way to redline when you whomp on it to pass. The automatic will be drastically slower in a roll-on passing manuever. Sure, you can downshift, but that's even more noise and worse mileage. I want a small car that maxxes out at ~90mph but gets there quickly. No need to ever drive faster.
    **
    "Handles like a champ
    The Fit drove like a champ, with quick steering and exquisite road feel. These impressions were confirmed on the track, where it slipped through the slalom in 6.1 seconds at 67.5 mph. The Fit felt stable and well balanced, and provided good feedback to the driver. It was about as much fun as you could have in a thrifty little car. Not only that, but the sporty handling didn't sacrifice comfort; it provided a pleasing, comfortable ride."
    **
    This is because it's about the same wheelbase and dimmension as a Mini. It's small and very agile. Big plus for city traffic.

    And the quote was nice. :P Evidently the reviewers agreed - it's shockingly close to the base Cooper(not the S, of course) in how it actually drives.

    Note - it's almost half a second quicker 0-60 than the base Cooper. Tighter handling as well. Quicker slalom times. Virtually the same wheelbase and weight. The tires are almost identical in size as well. It's no underpowered toy, to be sure.

    http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/FullTests/articleId=109810/pageId=69- - - - 465

    http://www.edmunds.com/apps/vdpcontainers/do/vdp/articleId=61670/pageNumber=2
    Very simmilar from what I can see. The Fit slalom was 6.1 seconds at 67.5 mph. The base cooper does it at 67.4mph. Ubsurbly close to each other.

    Highlights:
    - same power to weight ratios. Acceleration is very simmilar.
    - same slalom scores.
    - height and width are visually simmilar, though the Fit is a couple of inches taller and squarer.
    - Honda has a smaller wheelbase(misprint in the URL above) 96.5 for the Fit, 97.1 for the Cooper!
    - Cooper turning: 34.9ft. Fit: 34.3ft. Fit is more agile.
    - Cooper weight: 2524lbs Fit Weight: 2432 - fit is lighter.

    Honda Cons:
    - Not available in Yellow, yet.
    - Braking is a few feet longer, though still very quick.(I suspect a caliper upgrade to dual piston models would solve this)

    Honda is better:
    - Is a foot longer. Actual cargo space.
    - seats 5, not 4!
    - slightly better safety features(though the Cooper does brake a bit quicker)
    - more headroom
    - quieter overall
    - better stereo
    - uses regular gas, not premium.
    - all the handling plusses add up - so much so that even with pathetic stock suspension, it equalled the Cooper in the slalom.
    - thousands less.

    P.S. I bet you that the upcoming 2nd generation Mini will be almost exactly the same dimmensions as the Fit. It'll have more power, to be sure, but $18-20K out the door is a huge margin - enough to actually "trick out" a Fit if you wanted to - and blow the doors off of the Mini.
  • Picked up my Fit Sport 5-speed in Blaze Orange tonight. Put a deposit on it at the end of March, and was the first person to buy one at that particular dealership.

    Traded in a 2003 MiniCooper S. Also own a 2000 VW New Beetle TDI.

    Couple of things to note:
    -Front leg room is not as good as either the Beetle or MiniCooper. But it doesn't feel cramped - I'm just used to small cars with an amazing amount of front seat room.
    -Turning radius is almost as good as the Mini, and much better than the Beetle.
    -Acceleration seems to be as good as the Mini.
    -Ride is nowhere near as stiff as the Mini, and is better than the Beetle. Both of those cars take little bumps very hard.
    -Seating position feels high compared to the other cars. Wish there was a way to sit lower, but I'm sure I'll adjust quickly.
    -Interior space is amazing. I can't wait to try transporting my bicycle in the space between the front and back seats.
    -Wish there were more closed interior storage spaces. Having lots of compartments is nice, but that means more stuff to fly around and hurt me if I'm in an accident.
    -None of the interior controls seem to be in strange locations. Drove home in the dark, and had no trouble finding door latches, window controls, headlights, radio controls, etc.
    -Clutch seems to be very closely spaced next to the brake. People with big feet might have a problem with this.
    -Front cupholders are in a similar location to the Beetle - wonder if that means short cups only (I won't be eating or drinking in this car for a while anyway).
    -Not happy that there is no lock on the gas cap.

    I haven't really had a chance to get to know this car. But these are my immediate impressions.

    I was sold on the fuel efficiency, magic back seat, color, and reliability reputation of Honda.
  • mauicedarmauicedar Posts: 34
    It's been reported that the door over the gas cap locks when the car is locked. Will someone check and put this to rest. My BMW M3 works this way and it's better than a keyed lock, which is available as an extra.
  • spektrespektre Posts: 80
    Wow, how strange - we own a New Beetle TDI and the wife wants to trade in the Allroad on a Mini... and I'm thinking about the Fit... I guess great minds think alike! :shades:
  • More thoughts -

    I do wish the Fit had a moonroof available. Had one on both the Beetle and Mini, and will have to get used to a solid roof again.

    I like the fact that the security system doesn't chirp when the car is locked. If you want to be sure, you can hit lock twice in quick succession and it will beep, but I really like quiet security systems.

    Wish it had auto-up windows like the Beetle.

    The few miles we drove it had no rattles or squeaks. The Mini was constantly developing noisy dash rattles, until the dealer finally insulated the entire area about six months ago.

    Someone else commented about the giant blue stereo display. I agree it is too big. The instrument gauges have a neat color scheme at night, but so did both the Mini and the Beetle.

    Demographics - I'm 34, husband is 43. This car was really my decision. Not exactly the target youth market. But it's not like I could afford any kind of new car back when I was in my late teens and early twenties. This is only my second car purchase - all cars I drove before the Beetle were hand-me-downs from my father.

    I can't wait to drive it this weekend!
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    Fit is not a MINI competitor.

    A campaign for the new car, a five-door hatchback called the Honda Fit, makes media choices meant to help consumers sort themselves as, well, fit or unfit for Fit, which will compete against models like the Chevrolet Aveo, Kia Rio, Nissan Versa, Scion xA, and Toyota Yaris. The Fit campaign has a budget estimated at $20 million to $30 million, typical for a new car. To demonstrate that Fit is smaller than most other cars, American Honda and its agency, RPA, will run a series of eye-catching commercials that are five seconds long rather than the standard 30 seconds.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The Fit *is* a base Mini competitor.
    Smaller wheelbase, smaller turning radius, quicker 0-60 time, slightly less weight, better slalom times... the list goes on. It's virtually identical in size and performance to a base Mini except that it edges out the Mini by a few tenths of a second here and a few inches there. Plus, it holds way more cargo and 5 people in a pinch(you gotta be close friends, though - lol)

    Honda needs to get leather in it asap and market it as an average person's Mini. Want Mini-like driving and fun but don't want to deal with the lack of reliability and price-gouging?
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    The options don't lie.
    CVT
    Panoramic Sunroof
    Xenon Headlights
    Park Distance Control
    Navigation
    Automatic Air Conditioning
    Integrated Gargage Door Opener
    Dynamic Stability Control
    Heated Seats
    5 different types of Alloy Wheels
    Run Flat Tires
    Multi Function Steering Wheel
    Harmon Kardon Audio System

    Just a few of the many customization options not available for the Fit.

    The Fit is mini. The Fit is not a competitor to the MINI. :P LOL.

    The Fit does have Limited Editions.
    Fit or Fit Sport.
    5 spd. manual or 5 speed automatic.
    Choice of color and that is it for the Fit.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Listen to the guy...he's talking about the Fit being a direct competitor to the BASE Mini. When shopping the BASE Mini versus the Fit/Fit Sport, you get quite a case made for the Honda. Any of those options drive the price of the Mini higher than the already too high price it is in base form. BASE.

    Sorry, wanted to say it one more time, BASE Mini is a competitor to the Fit. Not optioned Mini. BASE.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    Honda knows best. :)
    Next week Honda will launch its new Fit subcompact, which it hopes will become the next big thing in small cars and take a bite from a segment that's been dominated of late by cars such as the Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent and Chevrolet Aveo.

    For some strange reason, Honda does not list the MINI as it's competition for the Fit. :surprise:

    That field includes the Mazda3, Ford Focus and Toyota Yaris, which is almost as new as the Fit.
    Here is another article re Fit competitors

    FYI - MINI buyers do not typically buy base MINI's according to MINI sales experts.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Posts: 509
    segment that's been dominated of late by cars such as the Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent and Chevrolet Aveo.

    Dominated by the Yaris? They are just off the boat. The Echo didn't sell all that well as I understand.

    I finally saw some advertising for the Fit. Looks like they want to place in as a practical alternative for bigger vehicles. Practical and fun. They show it munching on a minivan or something. I thought it was a pretty good ad. They used a techno modified voice to make is sound like a great new innovation. Maybe it is...though it has been around awhile.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    Well, it doesn't mention the Kia Rio5, Nissan Versa, Suzuki Reno, or Dodge Caliber either, but all of those are generally considered to be competitors to the Fit (note the recent C/D comparo). Just because a press release doesn't mention a car doesn't mean that it isn't being compared to another one by prospective buyers.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    I agree backy. I compared the Fit to a Ridgeline, a Caravan and a Tahoe. These are additional competitors to the Fit. ;)
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Yes, because most consumers who can get a Fit for $15k wouldn't dream of paying $5k more for less in a Mini. I doubt ANYONE can find a Mini with no options, which is sad, because that would be the only way it could even compete for buyers who can't afford $23k-$26k for a tiny car.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Mini's are not for people on a budget looking for an economy car. Why? Because the Mini, while small in size, is NOT intended to be an "economy car". Heck, it doesn't even get great mpg! And as moparbad said, just look at the option list. No economy car offers those options. Look at the styling. Look at the interior decor, the grade of material. The Mini is a lifestyle car, a Statement car. It just happens to be small. I don't think Honda will ever market the Fit to be a cut-rate Japanese Mini. And I can tell you that the Fit is not causing the product planners at BMW to lose any sleep.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    And yet the numbers don't lie(again). :)

    You get Honda reliability and user-friendliness plus it happens to drive and handle exactly like a Base Mini. That's a hell of a "bonus" compared to most other cars.

    With the Audi A3, the Mercedes B Class, and the Volvo microcar coming, as well as the Smart(finally) - you have to consider splitting the segment into two - commuter-boxes and luxury models. The Fit with leather and a couple of options could compete with the upper-end cars quite easily.

    The auto magazines need to stop comparing the Fit to the others just because of its size. It drives and handles much better than anything they are comparing it to.

    Now, I suppose they could also compare a RX-8 to a Camry, afterall, they are about the same price - but they aren't the same when you get to driving them. That said - teh RX-8 isn't a 350Z or IS350 by a long shot. Neither is the Fit a Cooper S or a Mercedes B class. But it's certainly no Yaris. Compared to an Accent - it *is* the RX-8 of basic transportation. Lack of features nonwithstanding, the Fit runs circles around the Hyundai out on the street.

    Side note: the last car I drove that was positioned like this and also drove this much better compared to the others was a Volvo 240. It was Volvo's budget car, yet its low price, useability, reliability, and most of all, superb handling - it sold better than their upper-end models for many years. Honda sells more Fits in many markets than any other model.

    I see the same dynamics at work here. The Fit has better cargo options, better reliability, handles twice as well as any other car in its price-range other than maybe a base Golf, and tons of safety features. It's not a matter of it being better than every other car in every area so much as it gets it right overall and suffers no major problems.

    P.S. Any Civic 14 inch alloys will work on it. Mugen has a supercharger kit in the works - 145HP. There are better body kits as well. If you look at the aftermarket for options, only the Mini and Scion(s) have simmilar ease of customization. It's nuts if you look at what you can get from Japan alone for it. A Cobalt or KIA? Lol.
  • The list of competitors is not determined by Honda, or by writers of magazine articles. Whatever someone might compare is competition. The list of competitors depends on what someone's shopping criteria is. You may not see the Fit as a competitor to the Mini, but some people do, so for them, it is. And after all, the cars are reasonably comparable in size and handling, and not priced too far apart, as cars go (i.e. a good number of Fit shoppers might be able to afford a Mini if that's what they really wanted).

    For me, the Yaris doesn't compete with the Fit because it's not a 5-door, but other people, who are looking at the Fit for other reasons and don't particularly need a 5-door configuration, obviously see them as competitive. (My own comparison list included some non-obvious choices, like the Chevy HHR and the Ford Focus wagon.)

    If someone is looking for a small, fun-to-drive "go-cart" kind of car, they might compare the Fit and the Mini. I guess I can relate to the comparison because, when I test drove the Fit, it reminded me of when I drove a Mini. If you haven't driven both, you might be less inclined to see them as competitive.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    The Yaris is available as a 5-door -- in Canada. I do consider it to be a competitor to the Fit, because there will be a large segment of buyers buying Fits and Yaris's for their small size, and fuel efficiency, not go-cart handling.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    The competitors to the Fit are defined by the size of the Fit, price of the Fit, intended use of the Fit and features of the Fit.

    It is a subcompact B-Class economy car in the $13,500 to $16,500 price range.

    Generalizing and individual interpretation is wonderful when looking at an inkblot and telling the therapist what you see, however, classifying a vehicle and defining it's most similar rivals allows a starting point of uderstanding and a point at which to begin a comparison.

    I agree with you if I ignore the first two sentences of your post.

    The most similar vehicle to the Fit at this time is the Nissan Versa which is not yet available.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,710
    Actually, the Versa is more in the compact class than the Fit's class, based on size (interior volume, length). Also, features-wise the Versa is a class above the Fit, with upscale features such as Bluetooth available.

    By your definition, the closest competitors to the Fit are the Aveo, Rio5, and the Accent and Yaris hatchbacks although they have only 3 doors, at least in the States). Cars like the Versa, Spectra5, Elantra hatchback, Reno, Focus, Mazda3s, and Aerio are another class up in size.
  • re:

    The competitors to the Fit are defined by the size of the Fit, price of the Fit, intended use of the Fit and features of the Fit. It is a subcompact B-Class economy car in the $13,500 to $16,500 price range

    People don't really put things in neat little categories lke that when they're comparing things. Only those who need to categorize things for some reason do that (magazines, the government).

    For one thing, boundaries are artificial. By your definition, a $16,500 car would not compete with a $16,600 car. And a 99 cubic foot car (interior volume) wouldn't compete with a 100 cubic foot car (that's the government's boundary for when something is called a compact instead of a subcompact).

    Also, you yourself posted that the Yaris and Chevy Aveo are competitors, but they're not in the 13,500 to 16,500 price range.

    Cars don't always compete only with cars that fall into the exact same size class, people may compare a car with something slightly bigger or slightly smaller. They are unlikely to compare a car with another that is twice the price, but it is common that they may compare a car with something that is a few thousand more or less.
  • drknifedrknife Posts: 25
    You cannot compare cars when one is $4000 more than the other.

    Mini - starts at $17540
    Fit Sport - starts at $13850

    http://drknife.com/blog
  • hungarian83hungarian83 Posts: 678
    "You cannot compare cars when one is $4000 more than the other.

    Mini - starts at $17540
    Fit Sport - starts at $13850"


    First, yes you can still compare them...unless there is a secret limit I don't know about yet. Price is not necessarily a determinate for certain people of when to compare or not compare two vehicles.

    Second, the difference is only $2370 since the Fit Sport (as you mentioned above) starts at $15,170
    It is the base model that starts at $13,850.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    Over here, we have "niche" markets where a MINI is comparable (to its intended purchasers) to a Mustang. ROTFLMAO!

    2006 Fit 5 spd manual MSRP $14,400
    2006 MINI Cooper 5 spd manual MSRP $18,000
    FIT 5 door
    Cooper 3 door
    Fit Asian
    Cooper British
    Fit Economy
    Cooper Premium

    Comparing the two, PRICELESS! :D Could comparing Walmart and Macy's be as fun and as relevant? ;)
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Fit is an entry-level Honda. Mini is an entry-level BMW. I doubt their paths will ever cross. (Which I think, is also your point)
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    Fit is an entry-level Honda. Mini is an entry-level BMW. I doubt their paths will ever cross. (Which I think, is also your point)

    You are correct, that is my point.

    Fit is an excellent product that is overpriced by $1,000 if Honda wanted to sell 200,000 Fit. At a volume of 40,000 Fit that is the intended sales goal the Fit will have more buyers than cars.

    What is frustrating to me is that features found on the Fit such as magic seats are also offered on Civic hatch in markets outside of North America and space efficient Accord Wagon is also denied to Honda customers in North America.

    With the Fit, the Civic 5 door hatchback, the Accord 5 door wagon, that would be a fantastic lineup of versatile fuel use friendly and space friendly cars!
  • hungarian83hungarian83 Posts: 678
    Not to go off topic, but since the Accord Tourer is based on the European/Japanese Accord Sedan, it would most likely be sold as an Acura in the US/Canadian markets.

    ...with a price tag to match :(
  • > The Fit with leather and a couple of options could compete
    > with the upper-end cars quite easily.

    An Acura version, perhaps...
  • drknifedrknife Posts: 25
    If you want more luxury items get a luxury car.
    This is ridiculous. I see people complain about an economy car not having leather seats. We Americans are stoopid.
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    Mini's are not for people on a budget looking for an economy car. Why? Because the Mini, while small in size, is NOT intended to be an "economy car". Heck, it doesn't even get great mpg! And as moparbad said, just look at the option list. No economy car offers those options. Look at the styling. Look at the interior decor, the grade of material. The Mini is a lifestyle car, a Statement car. It just happens to be small. I don't think Honda will ever market the Fit to be a cut-rate Japanese Mini. And I can tell you that the Fit is not causing the product planners at BMW to lose any sleep.

    Bingo. While there will be some (and by some I mean very, very little) cross shopping of these cars, they are very different animals that happen to be roughly the same size. The Fit is more mainstream, and more practical; the Mini truly is a lifestyle car. It's not perfect, but it has more personality out there than virtually anything else out there, especially at where it's priced.

    They're both great cars--but they're aimed at different audiences.

    As for Mini being overrpriced--the flip side is it does wonders for resale value.
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