New Honda Fit

The Honda Fit is a five-door hatchback subcompact car and manufactured by the Honda Motor Company of Japan. It was first introduced in June 2001 and is now in its second generation. The Fit shares Honda's Global Small Car Platform with the City/Fit Aria, Airwave/Partner, Mobilio, Mobilio Spike, Freed and Freed Spike. The nameplate Jazz is used in Europe, some parts of Asia, Australia, Oceania, the Middle East, and Africa — while the name "Fit" is used in Japan, China, and the Americas. Fit/Jazz is sold in about 115 countries and produced at ten plants in eight countries/regions. Worldwide cumulative sales of Fit/Jazz has reached 3.5 million by July 2010. The Honda Fit debuted in June 2001 in Japan and immediately became a big hit. By December 2001, it had outsold the Toyota Corolla, and ranked first in sales for nine out of twelve months in 2002. It subsequently was introduced in Europe (early 2002), Australia (late 2002), South America (early 2003), South Africa and South-East Asia (2003), China (Sep 2004), and Mexico (late 2005). A production model for the United States and Canada debuted on January 8, 2006 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The car was released in Canada on April 3, 2006, and in the U.S. on April 20, 2006. In the North American markets, the first generation Fit was replaced after only three model years by a new 2009 model, which was released for Japan in November 2007 as a 2008 model. Subsequent iterations will maintain the same platforms worldwide. Honda originally intended to name the car "Fitta", but shortened the name in some markets, and renamed it completely in others, upon discovering that in several Nordic languages, "fitta" is a popular and very vulgar slang word for "vulva". The Fit is sold in 6 variations. All Fit/Jazz models throughout the world utilize one of 7 or more distinct codes. Depending on the region, the Fit is available with a 1.2, 1.3 (in Europe referred as 1.4L model), 1.5 liter i-DSI engine, or 1.5 liter VTEC engine. All four engines are based on Honda’s L-series engine family. The 8-valve i-DSI (intelligent dual and sequential) engines use two spark plugs per cylinder, allowing gasoline to burn more completely; therefore, fuel consumption and emissions are reduced while maximum torque at mid-range rpm is maintained. The 1.5 L VTEC engine has the typical 16-valve configuration that can maximize output at high rpm. The Fit's fuel tank location under the front rather than rear seats — combined with a compact, semi-independent, H-shaped torsion beam rear suspension — allows for a lower load platform and increased cargo volume. Noted for its "class leading utilization of interior space and maximum flexibility for people or cargo," the Fit offered approximately twice the storage space behind its rear seat compared with the Toyota Yaris hatchback.

The second-generation Fit debuted for model year 2008 on 17 October 2007 at the Tokyo Motor Show. The vehicle offers a longer wheelbase than its predecessor and is wider and longer overall. Overall height is unchanged, while interior height increased by .3 in. Multi-mode seating and cargo configurations are retained, with redesigned headrests enabling more convenient folding of the rear seats. The cabin features greater interior volume, and boot capacity decreased from 21.3 to 20.6 cubic feet (0.58 m3). North America models are slightly longer, due to a longer fascia; the difference is visible in photos below. Two engines are offered in the new Fit. A 1.3 L (~79 cu in) i-VTEC will produce 98 hp (73 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 98 lb·ft (133 N·m) at 4,500 rpm. This engine will be offered in both European and Asian markets. A 1.5 L (~92 cu in) i-VTEC engine is also offered and produces a maximum output of 117 hp (87 kW) at 6,600 rpm and 106 lb·ft (144 N·m) at 4,800 rpm. This is the only engine available in the American market. A 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic (4WD only) and CVT transmission are available. The chassis was re-engineered, with structural rigidity increased by 164 percent.

"We are very aware that the predecessor was a little firm, so we spent a lot of time fixing that. But we believe we've got it just right now."

The Fit now features improved ride and handling. Sales of the Fit Hybrid began in Japan in October 2010. The hybrid version starts at ¥1.59 million (around US$19,400), the lowest price for a gasoline-electric vehicle sold in Japan. The Fit Hybrid features a 1.3-litre engine and electric motor, with an estimated fuel economy of 3.3 litres per 100 kilometres (86 mpg-imp; 71 mpg-US) measured in accordance with Japanese 10-15 cycle. The European version, called Jazz Hybrid, will be available in early 2011 and was unveiled at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. The Honda Fit/Jazz for the European and Japanese markets will feature revised headlamps, new front grille, a leather seating option and a new Lime Green exterior color choice. Fuel economy estimated in accordance with European standard is around 65 miles per imperial gallon (4.3 L/100 km; 54 mpg-US) and CO2 emissions of 104g/km. It has the lowest carbon emission of automatic car in the B-segment. In an interview, Kohei Hitomi, the project leader, admitted that to bring CO2 further down will affect some attributes that buyers of the car most value: bigger electric motor and battery will sacrifice space utility; to improve aerodynamics may have to make side mirrors smaller. He said there are benefits for customers to keep all the versatility. The drivetrain is the same drive system as Honda Insight. The advantages of the system are low cost, low weight and can be combined with manual transmission or continuous variable transmission. The car is better suited than its diesel competitors in areas where most superminis inhibit most - city centres. It is more economical in urban conditions. Thanks to the instant torque of the electric motor, it has a much better engine response. Honda has not decided on a U.S. launch for Fit hybrid, according to Koichi Kondo, Executive Vice President of Honda. “As for the future, it's open to question. We will carefully be watching the market situation.” Hitomi, as reported by Automotive News, sees that the current Fit offered in North American market has very good fuel mileage as it is and questions if buyers are willing to pay the extra for marginal mileage gains.

Japanese sales of the first generation Fit greatly exceeded the original monthly sales target of 8,000 units on debut. By December 2001, it had outsold the Toyota Corolla, and ranked first in sales for nine out of twelve months in 2002. With a total sales of 250,790 for the year of 2002, it became the best selling vehicles in Japan, which is a first for a Honda model. By September 2003, a little more than two years after the car was first sold, Fit reached 500,000 sales in Japanese market. After a minor model change (MMC) that went on sale on June 11, 2004, Honda announced that, in about 2 weeks' period after its introduction, the company received orders from customers totaled around 13,000 units. By November 2007, in less than 6 months after minor model change, cumulative sales of Fit reached 1 Million units in Japan. The second generation has been the top selling car in Japan since its official launch in November 2007. By September 2010, cumulative sales in Japan reached 1.5 Million units. In January 2010, Honda announced a recall of 646,000 Fit hatchbacks from 2002-2008 due to a window switch that could catch fire. The recall affected Honda Fit/Jazz models, including about 170,000 Jazz compact cars in the United Kingdom although no window malfunction reports had been received there. This recall was conducted as the company had received reports of master window switch malfunctions on the driver’s door, mostly commonly occur when the driver's window is left open, allowing rain or water to drip into the window switch module, resulting in switch failure and in occasions overheating, eventually possible fire hazards. To address the issue, recalled cars will be fitted with a waterproof skirt to prevent further water entry. Honda will also be replacing malfunctioning and worn-off window switches. Honda offers the change of affected parts free of charge. In January 2011, Honda announced a second recall, this time for a problem that could cause the headlights to fail."Recall Honda Jazz, Watch the Low Beam Headlights". Honda unveiled the Honda Fit EV concept electric car in the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. A production version is expected to be launched in Japan and the United States in 2012. The Fit EV uses the Fit compact car platform, powered by a lithium-ion battery pack combined with a high-density coaxial motor derived from the Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Honda claims the Fit EV has an all-electric range of 70 to 100 miles (110 to 160 km) and a top speed of 90 miles per hour (140 km/h). Honda also said that recharging the Fit EV will take 12 hours from a 120-volt outlet and six hours with a 240-volt supply. The Fit electric car, like the Honda CR-Z hybrid, will have three distinct driving modes: econ, normal, and sport. Honda explained that "econ" mode will extend the driving range by 17% compared to the normal mode; in sport mode, the Fit EV imitates the acceleration of a small car with a 2.0-liter gasoline engine. The Fit BEV is one of the five finalists to the 2011 Green Car Vision Award. The winner will be announced at the 2011 Washington Auto Show.

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