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Honda Fit Bad Weather Handling

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Comments

  • jacksan1jacksan1 Posts: 504
    While it was not in snow and I was not carrying anything in the car, I took a Fit up steep mountain roads in Japan. It had no trouble at all going up some very steep hairpin curves from the sea level to about 4000-ft in elevation. In fact, I had a blast tossing this Fit around corners. That is what convinced me to get one in the U.S. when it was released here.

    Japan is very mountaneous (70% of the country is considered mountains), and yet it is full of Fits, many of which actually come with smaller engines (1.3 L) than we get in North America (1.5 L). People there don't complain about the Fit's ability to hill-climb.

    In terms of cargo capacity, we have carried anything from a recliner, love seat, bicycles, to dogs and cats. It is amazing how much you can carry in a Fit. We also have a Subaru Forester, and I think that the Fit can carry more than the Forester, primarily because of the clever seats and the height of the cargo room.
  • fitisgofitisgo Posts: 40
    The standard tires on the Fit Sport, Dunlop SP31 in 195/55/15"size, are very poor tires in all respects, and especially on ice & snow. Two solutions are to buy a set of winter tires/wheels to take on and off every season or to buy a new set of really good all-season tires and put them on the original alloy wheels and drive that way year-round. A good tire for this is the Michelan Pilot Exalto A/S V-rated; the down side is they are very expensive, a set of 4 installed with mounting/balancing can easily run $600. I have 2 08 Fits and on the 1st one I bought winter tires only (Bridgestone WS-50s on closeout from TireRack.com), and put them on the stock alloy wheels, but the cost of changing between all-season and winter tires 2/year is also not worth it. I will probably put the Michelins on the 2nd Fit (just bought it 2 days ago) and pay the recycling fee to send the original Dunlop SP31s to be recycled. Honda puts cheap tires on a lot of it's models (I have 2 Fits, 1 Civic, and 1 CR-V) to save manufacturing costs up-front. If you do some research (TireRack.com is an excellent source) you can replace the crappy OEM tires at very low cost and usually end up with vastly improved tires with many benefits such as handling/braking/winter driving performance/reduced road noise/increased fuel economy/longer tire life/etc.
  • fitisgofitisgo Posts: 40
    The Fit Sport comes with terrible tires - Dunlop SP31. I have 2 Fits, bought 1st one in Dec 07 and had to put winter tires on it due some snow but mostly lots of icy roads in Omaha, NE, area. I just got the 2nd new Fit on 3/10 and plan to put new Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S V-rated all-season tires on the alloy wheels and drive like that year-round. Also, because the Fit Sport is very low to the ground, it will have problems with traction in snowfall amounts over 6" at one time. I also have an 03 CR-V EX with all-wheel-drive. It is an outstanding winter vehicle. I drive it up in remote North Dakota in the winter for ice fishing so I also have a set of winter wheels & tires (an extra $500-600 expense), but for around town the stock tires will be fine. The major difference here is vehicle price - the 2 new Fits I bought in the last 3 months each cost about $16,250. A new 08 CR-V EX with all-wheel-drive could cost $24,000 or more new - about $8,000 price difference. Consider buying a CR-V that is only 1-3 years old and has low miles but has depreciated some and you'll get a great vehicle for your son.
  • bam8bam8 Posts: 7
    I know its summer but I'm close to deciding on a fit and the biggest issue for me is will it drive well in the snow. I have driven a saturn wagon with studded tires and felt quite comfortable in these Maine winters. The clearance is limited which is of concern on the fit and the tires are small. I'm intersted in the basic model (don't need all the other stuff) but wondering if one can get rims and larger tires for the winter?? Feedback welcome!
  • fitisgofitisgo Posts: 40
    Go to TireRack.com and look up the Honda Fit and you'll see they sell a winter tire/wheel package in 14" size (the Basic model used 14" tires/wheels, the Sport model uses 15" tires/wheels with also a 16" tire/wheel option). The price varies depending on which tire, but the cheapest winter tire/wheel package is $348 for 4 tires + 4 wheels, not counting shipping costs, which might be another $50-70 depending on where you live. Then once you receive the tires/wheels (Tire Rack will mount/balance the tires on the wheels for free) all you have to do is change the tires back/forth in late fall and early spring - I do this myself and save paying the tire store.

    The one catch is that the 2008 and later new cars all have the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System). So unless you pay to have 4 TPMS sensors installed on your winter wheels, which is some ridiculous price like an extra $300, your TPMS system indicator will constantly stay on on the instrument panel of the Fit. You can always put a little piece of electrical or masking tape on the spot of the plastic cover of the instrument panel to block that warning light (obviously your TPMS system is no longer functional, but it seems people lived without it on vehicles for about 100 years or more before the manufacturers were required to put it on U.S. cars.

    That $348 price was for the Winterforce brand winter tires, which are OK, but for Maine I'd get something a little better, such as the Bridgestone Blizzak WS-60 for $68 each tire, or an additional $80 for the package, total $428 plus shipping. However if you're really on a budget, the Winterforce winter tire is studdable, so you could take them to a local tire store and have them stud the tires (don't know how much that costs for 4 tires).
  • bam8bam8 Posts: 7
    Thanks for the info. I always have a set of studded winter tires on my vehicles so not so concerned about that. With good tires on, how does the fit handle. I drive in the mountains and often traveling norther VT,NY an Canada in the winter. I'm looking for imput on how the fit handles in the winter from those folks that drive in more sketchy areas.
  • I'm looking buying a Fit. I live in Denver and drive a Subaru wagon. The Fit appears to have enough cargo capacity for me but I am afraid to leave my all wheel drive. The Fit Sport model with the navigation package also comes with 16 inch wheels and traction control wondering if that would handle the snow better than the regular Sport models. So my questions are: How is the Fit in snow? Is the Sport model with traction control upgrade worth the extra $2000?
  • aaykayaaykay Posts: 539
    As a former WRX owner and current 2009 Tribeca owner, along with a 2009 Honda Fit sport, I can state that the Fit is well nigh unstoppable, when outfitted with snow tires. This is in the snows of Minnesota. As long as there is enough ground clearance, and when outfitted with snow tires, the Fit can function with absolutely no problems whatsoever, in snow and you need to have no concerns whatsoever regarding that.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    The key question, though, is ground clearance.
  • aaykayaaykay Posts: 539
    edited May 2010
    True but then again how many roads remain uncleared with snow accumulating beyond 4-5 inches ? As stated, I have not had a single instance of a problem with the Fit in Minnesota wintry conditions, when shod with snow tires.

    Anything beyond these conditions are not something where typical road-going vehicles - short of a Range Rover or Land Cruiser shod with winter tires with studs/chains and such - can comfortably navigate.

    Bottomline, the Fit - with winter tires - works just fine in pretty much all normal winter conditions that one can expect to encounter in a suburban environment. Anything that is beyond the capabilities of a Fit with winter tires, is a situation where one should simply not venture out - whether one has AWD or not.

    PS: Note that the narrow tires of the Fit is a big advantage in wintry conditions, unlike the wider tires that sports-cars come with. The wider tires are great in summer but are a serious hindrance in winter in deep snow.
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