Car Shopping Saga

by Natalie P.

January 13, 2007 | Filed Under Lifestyles of the Heartlessly Bitchy | No Comments

Will the Honda be the right “Fit”?

So it was on to the Honda Dealer, to check out the Fit. I have say this, if you haven’t seen the Fit, you simply MUST go to a dealer and check it out just to see the “magic seats” in the back. I almost got a Fit just for this one cool feature. Not only do the seats fold down FLAT 60/40, they also fold UP completely, leaving enough space between the front and back seats that you could take the front wheel off your mountain bike and stand it upright between the front and back seats. It’s REALLY COOL.

The Fit had the smallest engine of the bunch – only 1.5L, and a weeny 109 horsies. But with Electric power-assist steering, it drove like the Versa – at least on the straight stretches. The sales rep came with me for the test drive. I asked him if he’d ever had a customer get a ticket during a test drive. He blanched. I had the thing up to 150km/h (That’s about 93 MPH for you Americans reading this) on the freeway, without having the pedal anywhere near the floor, and it was still accelerating when my exit came up. The car also has integrated info on the dash about things like oil quality (indicates when you need to go in for a change). But in the end, the Fit, just didn’t fit. Taking a test drive at night is really telling. I went to look at the brochure in the car and realized, no map lights. Seems a simple feature, but I use them frequently enough that it would be annoying not to have them. Then there was the toy-car wheels. The base LX model comes with 14-inch, yes, that’s right, FOURTEEN INCH, steel rims

I admit it. I’m a size queen. For handling, snow, and traction, I need something bigger than 14 inches. I want inexpensive, but not “cheap”. . If I upgraded to the “sport” package I could get most of the features I wanted, including 15-inch aluminum rims. There WAS an auxiliary input jack in the LX model, however, but no other luxury touches. Once again, bumwarmer seats, traction control and heated mirrors weren’t available as options even on the Sport package. Though it had impressive safety features including side-curtain-wall airbags, and front-passenger airbag sensors that disable the airbag unless there is a required amount of weight in the front seat, the missing features were a serious drawback. But the kicker? The 6.9% lease finance rate. I managed to talk them down to below 6%, but it was still made the payments much higher than my current Focus wagon – and my current wagon has a ton of options and features.

I looked briefly at the Mazda 3 sport, but didn’t get time for a test drive. However, the base model was already almost $21,000 and A/C (an ESSENTIAL feature) was a $1000 option. Mazda lease rates were also in the 6% range as well.

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