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Honda Fit vs. Scion xA vs. Toyota Matrix



  • hungarian83hungarian83 Posts: 678
    "I'll go with what the Manufacturer says vice what someone in an internet forum says."

    My family had a car purchased in 1987. It was broken-in normally, per the instructions in the owners manual and none of this "fast break-in". We sold the car at approximately 260,000 miles. In its entire life, it did not burn a single drop of oil. It had some things replaced like the radiator, starter, brake system, partial transmission re-build. Although the seals leaked some oil (poor replacement when the transmission was done), the engine ran as smooth at 260,000 as it did when it had 26,000 miles. Had it not been for the problematic transmission, my family would still be driving it.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    From the site that recommends a faster break-in:
    The biggest factor is that engine manufacturers now use a much finer honing pattern in the cylinders than they once did. This in turn changes the break-in requirements, because as you're about to learn, the window of opportunity for achieving an exceptional ring seal is much smaller with
    newer engines than it was with the older "rough honed" engines.

    GMs 3.8L engines, for instance, were very loose spec and pretty rough out of the box - tolerant of abuse. Comparing it to a modern engine like you'd find in a Honda Civic - totally different world twenty years later.
  • barsonbarson Posts: 34
    So,uh, why did people choose the xA over the Fit, or vice versa, or the Fit over the Matrix, etc.? I assume there are already plenty of discussions about oil changes on this board.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,355
    Well the Matrix is really kinda sorta an xA will a bit more space in back and a bit more power, for a bit more $$---so I could see someone wanting to choose a Matrix over an xA because of these clear advantages.

    I've sat in and inspected a Fit but didn't drive it, and so far I'd say there really isn't much difference between a Fit and an xA except "brand loyalty". I find the Fit odd-looking...not that the xA isn't, but the xA somehow is less chaotic in the styling. The Fit looks "chopped" to me in the back end.

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  • howardmdhowardmd Posts: 6
    I am also in the North Texas area (dallas). Did you ever buy a matrix? I found one with side airbags but no ABS or stability control. I am also concerned about the no ABS. What have you learned or decided? Any help would be apprciated?
  • barsonbarson Posts: 34
    Do the rear seats in the Matrix fold down flat? I saw a Nissan Versa drive past today, and got excited about that, but some quick research seems to indicate that the Fit is the only one (of the Fit, xA, and Versa) with flat fold-down rear seats. I think it's dumb to make a hatchback with rear seats that don't do this.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,355
    Yep, xA seats fold down flat.

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  • crimsonacrimsona Posts: 153
    Matrix folds flat too.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I've had a variety of small cars over the past 5 years, including a Scion xA, and wouldn't go that small again, unless I were principally in an urban environment like San Francisco or Manhattan where the ability to park in really tiny parking spaces overlooked by larger vehicles would be a big plus. The only other reason for buying an xA or a Fit would be to have sports car handling without the disadvantages of being so low to the ground and having no luggage space (the xA has "next to no" luggage space however, unless you use the back seat for your stuff like I did.

    Finally there is the safety issue. Light cars don't fare as well as heavier cars in crashes with other vehicles, which in America are almost always larger and heavier (they do fine in the more common single car crashes). Of the two cars, the Fit is safer unless you can find an xA with side curtain air bags - side curtain air bags are seeming more and more critical to saving lives in side impact crashes. It's the curtain style you need (head protecting) not the torso style which came out first.

    All of which leads me to ask - why not get another Subaru? You've had a good experience with your last one, and they are one of the safest cars out there (standard side curtain airbags FOR THE CURRENT YEAR) - read the test results. Gas mileage is a little lower, since they are a little heavier and have awd, but I don't think that is as big a factor as people make it out to be, in total costs of ownership. It's just that "mpg" is a hot topic right now.
  • barsonbarson Posts: 34
    Good points on the Subaru, and I do like them a lot. The one I have now feels as sturdy as an up-armored HUMVEE, despite no airbags, and I know mechanics love Subarus because they're easy to work on. Here's why I'm not leaning toward Subaru: I live in a mild climate, and AWD is not a necessity. On the few winter days there's snow or ice on the road, I'll just stay home for a day as it melts. MPG is lower, as you mentioned. But also Subaru has positioned itself pricewise as more upscale. I feel I can get a car that meets my needs for $5K less than a Subaru. Also, any car I buy is going to have side curtain airbags, and it seems some of the smaller cars have them as standard.

    I should have been more specific on folding down the rear seats -- on the xA I test drove, the rear seats folded to a horizontal position, but not flush with the rest of the cargo area. The seat backs were about 5 inches higher when folded down. It seems that on the Fit there's a continuous flat surface when the rear seats are folded down.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,355
    I think what was happening is that the rear seat headrests were hanging up on the front seatbacks. I take the headrests off and now the rear seats fold flat.

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  • barsonbarson Posts: 34
    Hmmm, now that I think about it, the salesman did seem pretty incompetent. I guess I need to go back to a dealer and try taking off the headrests.

    Before someone mentions hybrids, yes I like high MPG, but to me the premium charged for hybrids doesn't make them cost effective.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,355
    I just checked the rear seat fold-down again. With the headrests off, it's pretty darn flat but perhaps it is an inch or so higher than the rear cargo deck. Hardly noticeable, as good as flat in other words in terms of cargo loading.

    I may have mentioned (forgive the repetition if I did) that I got an entire mountain bike, a folding table and 4 grocery bags into the back of the xA, and was able to close the hatch and doors. I did, however, have to wrap towels around certain parts of the bike--it was a tight fit in there.

    My friend's Matrix feels a lot like the xA. On the plus side, it has more room in back, that extra two feet or whatever they tack on behind the rear seats...but on the minus side (for me), the Matrix isn't nearly as much fun to drive. It's kinda boring to me.

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  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I echo Shiftright's comments on the Matrix being boring compared to the xA; in fact I selected my former xA precisely because in a lot of ways its a modern MINI (as opposed to BMW's well-done retro re-creation).

    There is one factor in favor of the xA (assuming you get the one with side curtain airbags). In this month's Motor Trend magazine, a comparison test between the Versa, Yaris, and Fit puts the Fit dead last in acceleration - 11.5 seconds 0-60, which is sad considering it has a 5 speed automatic. The Yaris, with essentially the same engine as the xA, was quicker (I don't recall the actual acceleration test results).

    The Fit was the best handling of the group though.

    The xA is also a lot cheaper than the Fit.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,355
    You can improve the xA's handling very easily for about $300, and make the handling mighty close to a MINI with hi-performance tires and lowering springs (about another $1,000, installed). So you'd have a $15,300 xA at that rate that should match just about anything in its price range in handling.

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  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    With or without the aftermarket extras, the xA comes very close to Fit handling, but at a substantial savings. The only change I made on mine was to add Bridgestone 950 tires instead of the stock 15".

    In fact, I think the xA is cheaper than a similarly equipped Yaris (if you can even find a Yaris with all the stock goodies on the xA)!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,355
    Did you change the rim size?

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  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    No, 15 inch with an H rated tire (950's) instead of stock seemed to work fine without making the ride harsh.
  • Purchased Toyota Matrix instead of Honda Fit.

    Did not like Fit Interior.
    Fit was too small for a primary car.
    Mercy of dealers.
    Price was MSRP.

    My purchase was Matrix XR AT + All the options was below invoice for $18,100= airbags+6 CD changer+sunroof+premium tyres+etc+ 3 free services+1 year emission check.

    Interior feel was defnitely a big plus. I was able to bring a Queen size head board, footboard and frame+ side stand from ikea with wife sitting in back with seats folded down. Thats what I want.

    I am getting 34 miles per gallon after 1000 miles break-in.

    Thanks for all for your inputs.

  • I like the Matrix too. I didn't seriously consider it because, for me, it was a different price range. (I was looking at the base Fit, which even at MSRP $14,400 is less than any Matrix.) But I'm curious, did you actually test drive both? The alternative I was most considering was another Toyota, the Scion xB, but it was the test drive more than anything else that swayed me to the Fit.

    I'm also curious as to whether you could have fit all that ikea stuff into the Fit as well, but I guess we'll never know for sure! I bet you could, though... I did measurements when I was looking, and the cargo bed of the Matrix is only about 2" deeper (though there is more overhang from the end of the cargo bed to the seatbacks of the front seats, and that can be useful); the Fit actually has about 5" more height in the cargo area; and the Fit is mostly wider (the Matrix is just slightly wider between the wheel wells--less than an inch--but mostly doesn't get much wider, whereas the Fit starts giving you much more width past the wheel wells).
  • I test drove FIT, CRV, Scion XB, RAV4, Matrix, Rabbit,Civic.

    Best interior -Rabbit. Mileage is low for a small car.
    Best Interior and mileage---Civic. No flexibilty in Cargo.

    CRV, RAV4 --Not bad It falls more on size and less on mileage. CRV is less than Invloce and RAV4 is MSRP of $25K which is beyond my range.

    Fit- May be more inches in Cargo compared to Matrix but that did not factor me. I am not heavy cargo person. When I need it I got to have the option thats it. But the Feel and look inside drove us away from Fit. It is CHEAP man! Sit in Matrix and Fit and u decide. The mileage is 5 miles less than Fit. But my commute to work is not that much to factor 5 miles plus it is my primary car.

    The reason for me to go for 35 miles per gallon on high way is purely MORAL.

    Where can u get fully loaded (sunroof, 6 cd changer, airbags, alloy wheels, power locks, cargo flexibility, 35 miles per gallon, reliability) for 18K?

  • barsonbarson Posts: 34
    Comparison of a 5-speed Versa with an automatic xA:

    - the Versa had better acceleration than the xA; the larger engine (1.8L vs. 1.5L) and 5-speed more than compensated for the Versa's extra 340 pounds.

    - despite the center mounted gauges, I thought the xA's dash was more stylish and functional than the Versa's. All the xA's knobs and buttons were easy to identify and reach,and the wheel mounted stereo controls were very useful.

    - both vehicles felt roomy on the inside, but I seemed to sit higher and have better visibility in the xA.

    - rear seats do fold down flush with the rear cargo floor on the xA (with the driver's seat pushed all the way back and with the headrests on the back seats -- I had the salesperson demonstrate it); on the Versa the rear seats are not flush with the cargo area when folded down, making stowing large boxes, etc., a little awkward.

    Yeah, I know the title of this discussion says Honda Fit not Nissan Versa, and I'm going to post this in a Versa discussion, but I still have not been able to locate Honda dealer with a Fit that I can test drive. I did see one pass me on the road -- to me it looked like an Aveo.
  • crimsonacrimsona Posts: 153
    The Versa SL trim has steering wheel mounted controls, it's part of the Canadian technology package (includes AUX jack, subwoofer, bluetooth, wheel controls)

    In the US I believe it's the Conven. package.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Why not just get the Vibe if the Matrix is so expensive? GM practically gives them away by comparison at the end of the model-year. Other than the front Grille and a bit of bodywork, they are identical, much like how the Geo Prism was.

    Better yet, get one 1-2 year old for the price of a stripped-down base Aveo or Rio.

    As for the discussion, this should have been titled "Fit and Other Alternatives"
  • I totally disagree with you on the Fit's interior. It is not cheap at all. I think it is very nice, almost Acura like. I found the "silver overdose" on the matrix to look cheap. My brother just had his 2006 Toyota Yaris S delivered last Monday. Compared to the Fit, I prefer the Fit. Don't like the center speedometer, seat color, less back seat room, cup holders etc. GO FIT!
  • I have now recently tested both the FIT and the XA, and i must say that while the FIT had extra pep, & some amazing design features that are really impressive, COST is the big difference in my book. Let me put it this way... the fit MSRP is listed with the sport model around $16,500, however the SEATTLE dealership i saw the fit at had it marked at $18,000 and a five month waiting list because of the line up of people ready to pay that price. That is crazy. I really liked the little XA vibe, and it is easily a better value at $14,120 for the base automatic model i want. Thats the direction i will be heading. Also the backseat crash tests are better in the SCION XA... with my 11 year old daughter back there, that helped seal the deal.
  • Hold on a minute...backseat crash tests? Where can I find those test results?

    Are you talking about side crash ratings for the rear passengers or a test that determines the results of a rear-end collision?
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    A brand new Scion xA pulled up next to me on the way to work this morning, and I realized why I bought one of the first ones that came out (long gone, due to my "frequent trade-in" disease). To me it looks much better than the Fit - the lines and way things are put together are better looking. On the Fits I have seen on the road, the ground effects and spoiler look add-on and roughly integrated with the body.

    The xA is definitely worth the money.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,355
    gotta agree with you---I'm impressed with the Fit but the rear deck is very awkward-looking and spoils the car entirely.

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  • I totally agree with your thoughts on the XA versus the Fit. I test drove the Fit and Versa last week, and the Matrix tonight. The styling of the Fit does look like the 06 Aveo, but with much less backseat room. The rear looks like Honda cut off the tail of the Aveo 5 door and welded onto a mundane front end. The backseat of the Fit is tiny and might be ok for a couple of small kids but definitely not for adults and teens over 5'6". My wife is 5'6" and felt cramped back there. I'm 6'2" and had my knees under my chin back there. We own an 05 XB and are pleased with the enormous amount of room in the vehicle. The Matrix did not have the space of the XB but it's well equipped with auto and sunroof for less than the Fit. My wife liked the Matrix because of the styling. She likes the lines and interior. The XA is also on our short list but seems to lack the amount of space that we've grown accustomed to in our XB. We will buy one of these by the end of the month.
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