Hybrid Honda Fit Is Sound Marketing Play

Posted by: David Kiley on May 22, 2008

Honda announced it will roll out a gas-electric hybrid version of its Fit sub-compact. The Fit already gets in excess of 30 miles per gallon for combined gas mileage. And there are many, especially at U.S. automakers, who have long argued that putting such systems in already fuel efficient vehicles is a dumb idea.

I disagree. For openers, every company needs vehicles that will achieve greater than 40 mpg to help them reach new fuel economy standards, as well as impress consumers.

I recently shopped for a new car, and I was paying close attention to fuel economy. I was amazed that a car as small as a Fit or Toyota Yaris did not achieve fuel economy much closer to 40 mpg. Car buyers, especially young ones, are expecting…yes, exepecting…automakers to have more vehicles that achieve greater than 40 mpg.

GM and Chrysler have pursued with gusto hybrid powertrains that will work in SUVs and trucks. Do the math, they say, and the impact on societal gas savings, will be greater. But I’m not so sure. Sales of the hybrid Chevy Tahoe and Chrysler Aspen are expected to be well below 10,000 units a year for each model the next few years. The pricetag and fuel economy gains do not look that impressive when comparing with other vehicles.

The hybrid Fit will be the fourth hybrid from Honda Motor Co. by 2015.

Honda already was planning to roll out an all new dedicated hybrid vehicle early next year, to challenge Toyota’s Prius, followed by a sporty hybrid and a redesigned Civic hybrid.

The greener Fit’s arrival dispels Honda’s earlier skepticism about the viability of mounting pricey hybrid systems on small, low-priced cars that already get great mileage. President Takeo Fukui has changed his tune — in time with changing market realities. Honda expects that they will be able to charge for the system, and have some of the cost to consumers offset by government incentives.

“The Fit has great fuel efficiency to begin with, and if you put in a hybrid, it’s going to get even better,” Fukui said while announcing the car at a mid-year news conference. “So with crude oil prices going up this much, I think a Fit hybrid is now starting to make sense.”

The fact is…going forward in an era of high gas prices, people who are already shopping a small fuel efficient vehicle are apt to choose the model that delivers the overall best fuel economy. A hybrid Fit, depending on final retail price, will look very good against non hybrid versions of the Nissan Versa, Ford Focus, Chevy Aveo, Toyota Yaris and so on.

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Reader Comments

Van

May 22, 2008 01:35 PM

honda better catch up quick, the next-gen prius comes out in 2010 with better fuel economy, what is up with the fit? my 97 civic hx got better mileage, aren't newer models supposed to be more efficient?

NOZ

May 22, 2008 03:36 PM

Agreed. Once again the American numble-minded auto makers are wrong. And the numbers (take your pick) are a clue. But then there are those experts who feel that a hybrid Maybeck is the answer to most of our problems in terms of excessive fuel consumption, least among the rich.

And while Detroit's Flailing Three are having their massive planning pains, HONDA is dancing its light fantastic, their President seeing the path and adjusting his thinking as dictated by needs well beyond those of his very own--far too often not the case with executives, their judgements being far too frequently dictated largely by both ego and ignorance. Mr. Fukui is showing leadership, guys. Strength in both his flexibility and harmony.

I am anxious to see the second gen Fit, due here this Fall, one that has been on the roads elsewhere in the world quietly doing its thing while avoiding carving up nature's landscapes, burning the tread off its tyres, shoving others into the ditch as a show of 'sporty' and/or 'aggressive' ((juvenile)) driving.

And finally, I suppose one can pilot a Prius to 20mpg if one tries. Or one can drive for maximum economy. Those who think that 40mpg is guaranteed regardless of their attitude or actions are delusional, most likely left-wing as well.

Sally Richey

May 22, 2008 08:14 PM

Does anybody remember the Chevy Sprint? It was a three cylinder car that ran just fine and got at least 50mpg. That was back in the mid-eighties when I used to own one.

You mean to tell me we don't have something better than that by now? I mean, come on, the Chevy Sprint got much better gas mileage than the Smart For Two, Yaris and the Fit. What the heck is going on here?

Why the heck are the Car Manufacturers so slow on releasing the type of vehicles they have in Europe? Do they think that people are going to by what's out there now with the price of gas where it is? This is just crazy.

agile_1

May 22, 2008 09:23 PM

Can' wait to see it for sale in the US...But what happened to the 2 seater that got 60 mpg?
Imagine that as a hybrid...the perfect commute car since the avg american commutes to work more than 35 miles...something that will increase.
Why not make a vehicle like the Hypercar.....as a hybrid, and then run it on Natural gas to boot...if not compressed air.

snoz

May 23, 2008 03:40 AM

Big3 concentrated on SUV and pickup truck sales because of high profit margins. It's called big iron big profits. Addicted to big profits from big irons, the Big3 ignored economy sedans until the $100/barrel crude. Instead of building hybrid sedans, GM gambled by placing hybrid powerplants on big irons. GM had hoped its brillant strategy will bring back the high profit margins. It has been a disaster. Sales of these freaky hybrid SUV are almost non-existent because these big iron hydrids gives marginal mpg improvement for premium prices. Where the mother of hybrid, Toyota, dare not go, GM's wisdom dived head into hybrid SUV(the Lexus hybrid RX350 is more luxury sedan than SUV). Part of the reason for the poor mpg showing of its hybrids is that GM's hybrid powerplant is a weaker/less electric assist hybrid system than Honda's or Toyota's, relatively speaking. Across the field Ford and Chrysler didn't know what to do, remained uncommitted on the sideline building non-hybrid big irons that no one buys without big discounts. No wonder these two announced more factory closures. This current fiasco shows that GM leadership miscalculated again. Examples of past faux pas such as the following caused GM to lose domestic market share to 23% and sales of 51% of GMAC to Cerberus:
1) interchangeable parts and engines between car divisons eroded values in premium brands
2) abandoned the electric car, EV, for immediate gains
3) ignored hybrid developement for immediate gains
4) ignored the need to improve quality, durability of all vehicles while betting on cost-cutting measures
5) neglected the Cadillac division until MB,BMW,Lexus,Infinity swallowed the luxury market
6) created the Hummer Division without considering the fuel cost of ownership and its "fad" appeal.
7) Over use of plastic body on Saturn cars eroded brand image.
8) GM's aesthetic department lacks the basic of good taste by building the nightmarish Aztek.
9) GM engine development stalled for about 5 years. While competitors built DOHC, VVT, and advance engine control, GM stayed too long with old cast iron OHV, traditional cam/valve and timing.
10) Management's arrogance and over reliance on its marketing department to sell average/below average cars.
11) GM failed to eradicate the public perception of GM as an old, fuddy-duddy company building mediocre products.
12) Competitors are exposing GM leadership's lack of vision and other basic management skills. Competitors have successfully excluded Cadillac brand from the luxury market; defined the hybrid market; dominated the market for small economy cars; created a positive image at the expense of GM.

Snoz

May 23, 2008 04:37 AM

Since Honda's fuel cell car is not available for mass consumption, a 70+ mpg car powered by a small diesel-electric hybrid just might dethrone Toyota's Prius. Honda has patented a diesel engine with a smog filtration system without the use of urea compound as in the Mercedes Blue-tec engines. The draw back is public perception of diesel engines. I'm sure Toyota is not sitting idle.

Henry G

May 23, 2008 07:55 AM

Good analysis, David. The big three neger got it, don't get it, and won't get it until they're either out of business or owned by Indian or Chinese companies. We own a little Toyota Echo, and will gladly buy a Honda Fit Hybrid. Soon, anything under 40mpg will be seen as a gas guzzler.

Mike Graf

May 23, 2008 11:19 AM

What ever happened to the technology
Honda had with its CRX-HF model?
Didn't that car get an estimated
48/58 mpg; and that was back in the 80's. Why, all of a sudden, is a car
that get 28/35 considered economical? And why will Honda put an electric motor
in a Fit when it could just put the CRX-HF motor in it instead?

Jan R. Smith

May 23, 2008 12:17 PM

Congress should replace the hybrid tax credit to allow no additional cost for buying hybrid. Some families need a larger capacity vehicle. We had 5 children and a 1960 VW bug. They litterly "outgrew it." My children are now old enough to belong to AARP, but I am sure there are millions like us who need a large vehicle that is efficient.

Paul

May 23, 2008 01:20 PM

You might be surprised at the lack of small vehicles (Fit, Yaris, Focus) that don't achieve near 40mpg. However if you looked at those vehicles using the old EPA ratings, they would have been around 38mpg. The new 2008 EPA testing procedures have knocked a few mpg off the ratings.

MarkT

May 23, 2008 01:56 PM

We should not be surprised that the US automakers think this is a 'dumb idea', they are the same makers who think giant trucks with 20 or 30 year old technology is a 'good idea'. Is the Aspen and/or Tahoo (in any flavour) an example of the good ideas coming out of Detroit. No wonder they are going out of business.

paull mcgraw

May 23, 2008 02:50 PM

So, the US automakers think it's a "dumb" idea to put hybrid powertrains into small cars? Maybe they'll get religion when gas hits $5 a gallon. 40 MPG is better than 30 MPG in my book. What planet are they on anyway? Duh.

Bill

May 23, 2008 05:07 PM


The Honda Fit is advertised in Canada as getting 50 MPG on the highway. With the US gallon that should work out to around 45 MPG. You should buy your Honda in Canada....there must be something in the air up there that enhances gasoline engine performance.

steve

May 23, 2008 11:21 PM

im in the market for a honda fit and I think as a young buyer that a hybrid would be smart if it already gets above 30mpg. with a hybrid system that could double and i dont know anyone who would'nt like keeping there money in there pockets and less fill ups at the pump

srichey

May 24, 2008 09:08 PM

I drove a car back in the 80s called the Chevy Sprint. It got about 50mpg, even adjusted the mileage would still be awesome. How is it that we have to buy a hybrid to get even close that type of mileage? Most of us just want an affordable car to get us back and forth to work that gets excellent gas mileage. Come on automakers please wake up, how could you have not seen this current energy crisis not coming?

Lynn

May 24, 2008 11:02 PM

When will a Fit hybrid be tested and ready for purchase?

California Girl

May 25, 2008 12:47 AM

I just purchased a Fit in December, and the greatest disapointment is that it gets the same mileage as the Corolla Wagon I have owned for the last 16 years. Certainly we should expect better mileage than that from a small car today, and I am hardly what one might call a young car buyer.

peggy cassidy

May 25, 2008 10:41 AM

I will be first in line to buy the Fit Hybrid. It will be a VERY long line!

lynn Diddens

May 26, 2008 02:34 PM

this is a no-brainer! Yes, make the damn thing and make it sooner rather than later - Is Honda really going to wait until 2015 to make the Fit hybrid? Let's do it NOW!! I and many, many of my friends and and co-workers have been wanting and waiting to buy another more fuel efficient car since 2000. We have resisted buying anything at all because the auto industry is dragging their feet big time in offering a car that meets consumer needs with regard to comfort, quality, safety and real fuel efficiency - and I'm not talking about 25-35 mpg! We know this can already be achieved without hybrid technology - My god do they think we are complete idiots! I can't tell you how frustrated I am having to wait for a REAL car with fuel efficiency. This is not rocket science people. Why are there so few choices for hybrids that actually get decent mileage?? Way to go Honda for being able to see the need and respond - can you please do it now. I really like the Honda fit and I want to buy one. We are going to visit the dealership today and until I read this article we were going to buy one. But now I guess we will wait for the Fit hybrid which I'm very excited about!!

NOZ

May 27, 2008 01:36 PM

I have to say that after reading most of these, the relative ignorance of the writers is astounding. One does not just drop the engine of one car into another. Nor does one design, gear-up for production, and then manufacture a car in a few months. The alphabet soup of government bureaus have put so may roadblocks in the way that it is a wonder we get much of anything. Take the time to just chase down the weights of the vehicles mentioned, not to mention all the nice features we have taken for granted what were not available back then for love nor money. Many not even invented--let alone now being mandatory.

Our rules and regs here in the US differ a lot from those elsewhere-for our personal good and not so as well. They are the dark dreams of the mindless bureaucrats at the behest of others, and for a variety of reasons including just plain interference/disruption in the design and building of 'low-profit' vehicles. And comparing mileage of then and now is a waste of time. The rules are very different now, often at cross purposes with those of other times.

In short, use your loafs folks and do some thinking rather than just rattling your mouths in frustration/anger.

The Fit is a terrific car, but hardly comparable to an olde Corolla wagon in terms of what it is, can and will do for the owner. That three-cyl Cheevie was a cheap and sleazy built to a low price GM badged killer regardless of how fondly it is remembered.

Toasterowner

May 27, 2008 04:12 PM

I own a "toaster," AKA Honda Element, and the most frequent question I get is, (hopeful tone) "Is it a hybrid?" Why not, hmmm? Don't know how these cars have sold elsewhere, but in Seattle they are like weeds, popping up everywhere. Many people buy SUVs because they don't want to feel cramped, and they're not going to pack themselves into a teeny-tiny car. The Element is shorter than the CR-V, and has a 4-cyl, but it's fun to drive and has a ton of room -- a small car masquerading as a big one. Seems perfect for a hybrid. Why not a diesel hybrid, while you're at it?

Jay

May 27, 2008 05:00 PM

My dad bought a VW Rabbit Diesel in 1980 that got 40 mpg in the city and 50 on the highway. We put over 200K miles on that car and sold it to a neighbor who got another 100K. I would imagine with a few tweaks, new technologies and continous improvement that VW could have that vehicle at +75mpg by now. Instead, we get the failed Phaeton for $80K.

Why can't we buy those types of cars 28 years later?

Biker Bob

May 27, 2008 10:42 PM

Darn if I didn't just load a 07 fit down with two bikes, enough gear for four days of riding and exploring, three adults, lock the cruise on 75mph, flip on the AC and haul it up into the mountains and back. Averaged 34.7 MPG for 2K miles. Not bad, even for an unthinking left winger who wants a 40 MPG guarantee , eh NOZ (I think you should leave your ignorant, uniformed political opinions out of a discussion about cars. Human beings, Americans just like you, want good gas mileage).

Lauren

May 28, 2008 05:45 PM

I just bought an 08 Fit because I heard the 09's were going to be bigger and bigger generally means less mpg. I know it worked that way with the CRV's. Anyway, I'm on my 4th tank of gas. My last tank averaged 39 mpg. I'm expecting it to get better as the engine loosens up a bit (and I get reacquainted with driving stick).
My sense of why we haven't had more fuel efficiency is because the oil companies made some back door deals with the auto industry and govt. I just find it astounding that the govt. regulates the price of a gallon of milk, but the oil companies can make record profits and the govt. does nothing.

3deuce27

May 29, 2008 01:51 AM

We shouldn't have to wait long for Hi-Mileage vehicles to arrive in America. They are already available in Europe. Even the SUV's get near 40 MPG there. The new Nissan Qashqai easily gets those numbers... /independentonlinesolutions.com/nissan/

Tim

May 29, 2008 09:07 AM

Probably the biggest reason new cars don't get the mileage of cars from the '70s, '80s & '90s is that they weigh so much more because expectations and requirements are so much more. Back then there wasn't the concern for crash safety as there is now. Most new cars have 4-6 airbags & are built so much tougher. The interiors & accessories are so much better. My sister had a car with one sun visor, no radio (much less an I-pod connection), no air conditioning and crank windows and the accelleration was slow. Less weight makes it easier to get better gas mileage. An '08 Fit weighs up to 2,551 pounds. '97 Geo Metro weighed 1,850 pounds. Hauling around another 700 pounds has a way of cutting the mileage.

vin

May 29, 2008 09:26 AM

Hopefully I should be buying this by june. Fingers crossed.
I have been in automotive marketing all these years, but never had a proper car. Hopefully this time :)

portfolio-europe.com

alex fool's

May 29, 2008 12:02 PM

i saw that some someone said that in the 80's the car had better MPG numbers this is veary true i have a 1981 toyota corolla (its all about rwd)it gets 30miles to the gallon and the car is old and i have webber carb and mild a cam and a header on it and i still get good MPG the cars were over all lighter in the 80,s cuz back then there was not so many safty things and sensors and computer controled shit in a car and all that stuff add waite to a car and i see poeple complain about MPG'S and then i see the way they drive and its no wonder they get bad MPG pedal to the meatal all the dam time the more light footed u drive the more gas you save so stop racing me to the next red light

Charles

May 30, 2008 12:44 AM

I looked up some of the old cars from the 80's on the EPA fuel economy web site. The numbers have been adjusted to be a closer match for the new estimates. I also included a 2009 Toyota Corolla with the smaller engine and manual transmission and a few other newer cars.

1985 Honda Civic Coupe HF with 5 speed manual: City: 40, Highway: 48, Combined 43.
1985 Chevrolet Sprint with 5 speed manual: City: 39, Highway: 47, Combined 42.
1988 Honda Civic CRX HF with 5 speed manual: City: 37, Highway: 47, Combined 41.
2008 Toyota Yaris with 5 speed manual: City: 29, Highway: 36, Combined 32.
2008 Honda Fit with 5 speed manual: City: 28, Highway: 34, Combined 31.
2008 Ford Focus with 5 speed manual: City: 24, Highway: 35, Combined 28.
2009 Toyota Corolla with 5 speed manual: City: 26, Highway: 35, Combined 30.

I think the Yaris is the closest modern car to the older 80's cars when size is considered. All of the newer cars have a lot of safety features that are not on the older cars. The extra weight of the safety equipment has hurt the MPG's of the newer cars. The Yaris has a curb weight of 2293 pounds. The Honda Civic HF has a weight of 1713 pounds or about 75% of the Yaris. Those extra 580 pounds should not cost 11 MPG, but I guess it makes a big difference in a small car.

also from seatown

May 30, 2008 04:56 PM

Toasterowner@May 27, 2008 04:12 PM: Many people buy SUVs because they don't want to feel cramped

Translation: Americans like SUVs because most of us are fat

Nick

May 30, 2008 11:08 PM

I used to drive my parents Geo Metro back in the early 90s and that got into the upper 40s for gas mileage. That's a lot better than my Fit which gets in the low to mid 30s. And I'm generally okay with that.

I think people on here are forgetting that cars back then were much lighter. The Metro was somewhere around 1700 lbs in curb weight, the Fit is something like 2500 lbs. The Metro was like a tiny aluminum can, with zero airbags, and of course only a 1 liter, 3 cylinder engine. I much prefer my Fit for safety and comfort, thank you very much.

So regardless of the changes in the Fuel efficiency tests, I think the important thing to remember is that the cars aren't really comparable in weight at all and this makes all the difference.

One way forward that is being investigated is to switch from steel to carbon fiber for car bodies. I think this would be excellent way forward though I expect it will take ages for the companies to change the way they do business.

Craig

May 31, 2008 02:51 AM

The Honda Civic hatchback that I had in the 80's got better gas mileage than the Fit. I regularly was getting over 40 mpg with that car.

Metro Man

May 31, 2008 11:31 AM

I own a 1998 Chevy Metro 3 cylinder (the successor to the Sprint) and I get 40mpg combined City and Highway. Until the Manufacturers can produce something that can hold at least 4 people and get 50+ mpg, why would I buy a new Fit or Yaris that gets worse mileage? I wish the folks at Aptera would produce a four-seater (the 2.5 seater is reported to get 230mpg!).

Volt Fan

May 31, 2008 02:02 PM

It is interesting that for an average 4-seat vehicle the fuel economy numbers have stagnated around 35mpg highway. There are limits to how much mileage we can get from an internal combustion engine; that's why fuel cells are being explored, and it's also why I'm saving up for a Chevy Volt. Electric cars are 3 to 4 times more efficient in terms of energy used per mile than internal combustion driven cars are or can be. And, they make the cost of gasoline irrelevant.

rolf schwarz

June 1, 2008 12:09 AM

HI YOU PETROL[GAS] GUSSELING CAR MANUFACTURER WHAT HAS HAPPEND TO CNP, LNG,LPD ALL THIS MUTCH CHEPPER FUELS.CANT THE CAR MANUFACTURER PRODUCE AN CNP OR LNG OR LPG CAR RUNNING ON THIS FUELS,
GOOD HELP US ROLF FROM OZELAND

Billr

June 1, 2008 12:52 AM

What is the deal. Who said that Toyota was the mother of hybrids. I didn't see a Toyota on the roads back in 2000 when I was driving a Honda Insight. And all these comments, nothing about a Honda Insight has been mentioned. I don't think there is anything out there that can get better milage than the Insight. My family owns three of them and we are all getting from 52 to 68 MPG. Why not put the high tech guts of the Insight in a Fit and see what happens. Greedy politics and money is the only problem we really have in the auto and gas industry. Just stop buying the big stuff and everything will take its coarse. Get it together folks.

steve

June 5, 2008 04:09 PM

I also had a diesel VW (82) and also go 40 to 50 mpg for a couple of hundred thousand miles. The new VW diesels (currently off the market again) also get EXCELLENT milage. Real World for milage per those I know who have them is 55 or so on the highways, mid 40's+ for suburban/around town driving. They are bigger and nicer than the VW diesel's of old.

I personally have a small Saturn Wagon (SW2-no longer in production 2002 was the last year I think)with a stick and by driving for milage get 45+ mpg on trips and 40 for suburban driving (use Mobile 1 0il).

As shown by my own Saturn, and by VW's diesel cars, mid 40's in the real world on the highways CAN BE DONE ... if the automakers just want to make the vehicles. Oh, and these two examples are vehicles that meed current safety standards.

I like the FIT but like most here am very disappointed at the milage that it and other small cars are getting in the real world. 40+ mpg vehicles can be built, and built with today's technology.

There is in fact no reason why 4 person roomy enough cars can't make it into the mid 50 mpg range for highway travel with today's technology (VW's does), though the consumer may have to deal with slower pickup and a lower top speed than they are used to (but still above the speed limit).

Maybe the 2010 revamped Prius will be the car for me. (though I don't like the thought of changing out the battery pack at 80,000 miles or so)

SteveR

June 6, 2008 02:49 PM

It's funny to see that the American car companies (as well as Japanese) use hybrid technology on luxury vehicles and big SUV's because they think Americans are basically stupid and are only interested in the image of owning a hybrid??? They should put all their efforts in getting the highest MPG (and safety of course). The Hybrid FIT is a good start ! I would like a diesel hybrid that runs on suntan lotion :)

Happy fit owner/driver

June 6, 2008 08:34 PM

After 11,500 miles my 2007 Honda Fit is averaging 36.9 MPG. I'm quite pleased with its economy and its performance. This car is a stick shift, and I drive with a brain, not a lead foot. Otherwise, the mileage would not be as good.

Don

June 10, 2008 04:19 PM

I had 5 civics from 78 to 89, you could'nt pound any of them below 30 mpg. The last 2 were, I'm guessing, faster and more comfy than the Fit. But they didn't have seven airbags and central locking. The first two were, I'm sure, smaller than the Fit. It doesn't speak well of Americans when Honda waited years to bring the Fit here.
The weight ratchet effect is not just a small car thing. Although I used to trade Civics constantly, I've waited years for a replacement for my '00 Cherokee. The Liberty is a half ton more, the 4-door Wrangler is a whale, and the equivalent Patriot feels like a, well, a Geo Metro! Even with all our inflating expectaions, I thought computer power and FEA programs would bring us lighter cars by now.

Guenter Hubert

June 15, 2008 11:49 PM

I think some of you have it figured out.
Safety improvements and mandates along with upsizing have added a lot of weight to today's cars. My Prius weighs 3000 lbs. empty. The Accords of the 80's weighed about 2,500, and the Civics about 2000. Remember the performance of that era and compare it to today's cars, there is no comparison. Use todays engine from the Civic and put it in an Accord, and mileage still won't be quite as good due to the weight issue. Once we get over the sub 8 second 0-60 acceleration "need" mileage will get better.

Honda Lover

June 17, 2008 08:01 PM

Please note 2008 EPA mileages cannot be compared to previous mileage figures..... They overhauled the test method to reflect more real-life driving conditions.

From Kiley: The changes were accounted for.

Gordon Jackson

June 18, 2008 11:13 AM

I know there is a difference between a U.S gallon and an Imperial gallon. Is there a difference between MILES ? I ask because mpg figures I get with my U.K Jazz vary widely from those quoted for hte U.S. Fit. I regularly get low60's on a run and low 50's around town. Is there an explanation?

travis

June 19, 2008 04:52 PM

Toyota gets the node for being first with a hybrid because they had them on the roads in Japan in '97, the Insight didn't roll out until '99. It was the first in the US though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Insight
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prius

Scott Allen

June 21, 2008 09:22 AM

"Darn if I didn't just load a 07 fit down with two bikes....Averaged 34.7 MPG for 2K miles."

Which is pretty good, but it would be nice to see MPG increasing with newer cars. My good sized 1993 4 cyl Camry wagon which seats 7 would probably have gotten 27 MPG, and averages 25. This is an automatic with 225,000 miles.

Maybe the govt should give $3,000 to automakers for each car that gets over 40MPG in city and in hwy driving, and then toss an additional tax on any vehicle that doesn't get over 20.

Casual Haberdasher

June 21, 2008 11:38 AM

GREAT THREAD BLOGMOBILERS!

Some things come to (my) mind and are offered for your contemplation and consternation:
- In the 1985-87 timeframe the USAC performed a hypermiling test of the CRX-HF on Nevada highways by starting with 10 gallons of gas, driver and passenger, windows up, no A/C, then driving it in 5th gear @ 50 mph until it ran dry. As I recall they logged between 700 and 710 miles in that daylong late Winter test. In a related event documented in a letter to the Editor of C&D/MT/R&T/autorag a few years later, a man claimed 30 mpg @ 90 mph over 300 Nevada desert miles in his Lotus Europa!
My point? The roof height of the Europa would be about mid-window on the CRX-HF; the Honda's roof would, in turn, be mid-window on the Fit. It's a matter of the energy needed to overcome air resistance, ONLY AFTER cruising speed has been reached. Jumbo jets use something like a quarter of their fuel just taking off and reaching cruising altitude.
- It strikes me as possible that the increased height of even the smallest/lightest of econoboxes is partially in response to safety/crash testing "requirements". Otherwise, the front bumper of Neanderyahoo's Hemi-dually Testostertruck is aimed at your head: YeeHAH! One less tree-hugger...Git'erdonnnnnnne.
- Lastly, the URL escapes me now, but Googling "U.S. cars you can't buy here", should get you there. Wonderful, stylish, economical cars/XUVs/microVans/wagons...everywhere BUT here. To make matters worse, when the Big Three (Stooges)import them, the options are almost nonexistent. A perfect example, the GM/Opel Astra built in Germany. Here: 2 body styles, 1 gas engine, 1 manual transmission, 1 AT. Over there: Add Europe's best-selling station wagon (for the last DECADE), 4 gas engines, 3 diesel engines, 6 transmission possibilities. I didn't even want to KNOW what else(safety/paint/fabrics/electronics/wheels/etc.)was available to anyone BUT us...U.S. Oh, and the same is true of some "foreign" manufacturers: Both the Toyota Camry wagon and the Honda Accord wagon remained in production long after avilability HERE has ceased.

Ryan

June 22, 2008 11:19 AM

I miss my '92 Toyota Paseo. Never got less than 30 mpg city. I got 42 once on the highway. Hard to get kids in and out of the back seat, though...
We might not need such tough safety regulation if there weren't so many giant SUV's on the road, but then again, we would worry so much about gas mileage if we rode mass transit or bicycles more.

RW Cole

June 22, 2008 02:35 PM

American compacts from the early sixties were very practical cars. The Falcon held six, got mileage in the 30s, and was very affordable.

In a station wagon form it had plenty of room.

The Falcon weighed only 2,200 pounds or so. Don't know what a comparably sized car would weigh today.

Jeramie

June 26, 2008 01:30 AM

Just thought I'd throw in an answer for everyone who's upset about cars not getting better gas mileage than they did 20 something years ago. The fact is that cars 20 years ago didn't have the same emissions standards as they do today. They achieved wonderful mile per gallon levels, thereby reducing their CO2 pollution per mile, but they spewed all sorts of other wonderful things like NO2 which is responsible for lots of asthma attacks. Cars today burn fuel much more cleanly, keeping toxic gases from reaching the tailpipe. But, they do it at the expense of using more energy to do so, thereby burning more fuel and emitting more CO2 per mile.
Bottom line? Fossil fuels suck, drive less and bike more, and be happy for a car that gets above-average mileage while maintaining emissions levels that keep everyone healthier and happier.
Btw, I'd by the Fit Hybrid, especially since it will likely be the most economically priced and carry the industry's lowest premium charged for a hybrid model. Fast return on investment is always a bonus. Enjoy!

Bonni

July 5, 2008 06:38 PM

I've had a stick-shift 2007 Honda Fit since May 06 and live in Florida. I consistently get only 25 mpg in town...could be because we have to use a/c so often, it's stop and go traffic and under 50 mph. On the one long trip I took I was shocked to get 32 mpg.

The dealer says bring in my records and the car and he'll have the zone manager check it out. Does this sound like an unusual situation or is the Fit just less efficient under these driving circumstances? I had a 2005 automatic Scion XB and always got 30 mpg in town under the same circucmstances for 2 years!

Frankevich

July 13, 2008 01:27 AM

My 1995 Ford Escort 4 door hatchback gets a solid 32 mpg overall--stop and go, town to town, and highway driving. On one purely highway trip, I got over 40 mpg lightly loaded. I drive conservatively but normally, and keep it under 65 and don't "gun it." The car looks great, virtually drives itself, has loads of haulage space, is very comfortable; couldn't ask for more. Point of all this is: 1)the fools at Ford should never have taken this (very long running) model out of production and 2) today's cars should be doing much better in the mileage department. That is why I will probably buy a Fit Hybrid when it comes out as long as it looks OK and hasn't become any bigger. Tell me if I'm wrong.

Bill

July 25, 2008 01:42 PM

Poor mpg is caused by malicious programming of the on board computers. The computers are programmed to burn more fuel, not less! Call me a conspiracy nut, but I say follow the money trail. Poor mpg puts money into the pockets of not only the oil companies, but the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT (gas tax)! Wake up people, look at the mpg of the 1986 Chevy Sprint with the 1.0 liter 3 cylinder engine. It was around 50. The cheapest car got the best mileage. Now with hybrids, one must purchase an expensive car to have the "privilege" of getting reasonably good mileage. That's how the car manufacturers are benefiting from this incredible scam.

tomtom

July 26, 2008 07:52 PM

I'll also be in line for the fit Hybrid. Hope I won't have to wait til 2015 though. By the way, I've seen the new Fit that's supposed to come out early next year. It's sold as the Jazz in much of Asia. It's slightly larger both inside and out, gets 120 HP rather than 109, and has curvier lines. Although slightly larger, gas mileage remains pretty much the same. In Thailand, where I saw and drove the car, gas mileage is supposed to be around 19 kilometers per liter (that's approximately 45 mpg). All has to do with emission controls and safety items. It is a great little car and should be a big seller here. Unfortunately, I won't buy one til they offer a hybrid version.

Atascosa

August 11, 2008 10:59 PM

All being said about excellent MPG of older vehicles.. (my ol crx HF got around 50+) the vehicle speed limits back then were 55mph..these days is 70mph on the highway..Just for hay says, I drove my fit on the highway for 190 miles down south to Port Aransas TX at 70mph..avg 35mpg..on the way back I did 65mph..avg 41mpg..could have been a tail wind, but the winds were light, as were the load..about 150lbs of coolers and camping gear both ways. I could have gone 55mph and increased the mileage I guess, but don't want to be run over.
These estimates were done with the AC on..could be much better without it.

Justin Cole

October 30, 2008 09:34 AM

I don't know if this has been said yet, as I did not read every commnet, but the main reason for the older cars getting better gas mileage compared to the newer cars is because they are usually bigger and more powerful. They made them that way to compete in the North American market, because American consumers generally did not like small cars that didn't have "get-up". This is changing a little bit due to greater environmentalism in America and $4.00 per gallon gas (though not that high currently, but will go above and beyond that level again in a few years).

critposer

December 2, 2008 10:26 AM

re: Chevy Sprint and 50 mpg. Yes, the detuned 1.0L Sprint did get 51 mpg on the highway cycle of the EPA test. But what else did you get, in comparison to a base 2009 Fit? Hardly anything. You certainly didn't get safety, the car was flagged as having a high chance of injury in front end accidents. Virtually no interior features, far less interior space, and a 47 HP motor with 0-60 times that were ridiculously slow. For a more modern comparison, look at the Audi A2. Much more modern, more features, first 3L/100kM production car in the diesel version - but - out of production due to low sales. It's not so simple to make a high mileage car that has the right balance of performance, features, safety, and price to be successful.

Dr. Jim

December 3, 2008 09:01 AM

I drive a beautiful Honda Insight that AVERAGES 60mpg. That's just average. In the hot summer I get around 80. There are some trips where I get 90mpg by driving very conservatively. Don't believe me? Whatever. We Insight owners are astounded at how low American consumers' expectations are. I've been offered $20k on the spot several times for my car. No way, Jose!

There is simply no reason to buy a new car right now. Tell your dealers that you refuse to purchase a new car until they offer one that gets at least 50mpg. Then just buy a used one to work for you for the next couple of years until the foreign plug-in hybrids are available here.

Oh, and forget U.S. autos. They stink and will continue to stink.

Guillaume

April 6, 2009 05:11 PM

Wow peoples. You have to be carefull when you compare old cars to new cars. The weight has a great influence. To the point where it's recommanded to clean up your car to help save fuel. The diference is annoyong but it multiplied to you annual mileage. So is the quality of the mechanic. Some engines are better than others. Hell a 1.6 Honda engine will be better than a 1.5 hyunday engine.

The old corolla was a car the size of the fit. And the fit has much more extras (safety, electronics, etc.) than the corolla.

Also, cars has different engines powers. My 2000 civic is bigger and less nervous than my previous 1993 civic. In Europe, you can get a Toyota Yaris with 4 engines. The lower one is 69 hp... Compared to the 106 hp we got here... Peoples don't buy these in america.

Ed

July 25, 2009 08:55 PM

My 2008 5-spd manual Honda Fit gets 42 mpg on the 70 mph highway in Eastern WA. What counts for city driving here usually runs 37 to 39 mpg.

My 2004 Honda Civic, auto, gets up to 40 mpg on the highway. Both cars seat 5.

Those are real world actual mileage figures, not estimates. The EPA estimates are meaningless and useless. They also changed about 2 years ago so you can't compare old EPA estimates to new EPA estimates.

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Want the straight scoop on the auto industry? Detroit bureau chief David Welch , Dexter Roberts and Ian Rowley bring daily scoop, keen observations and provocative perspective on the auto business from around the globe. Read their take on such weighty issues as Detroit’s attempt at a comeback, Toyota’s quest for dominance and the search for an efficient car.

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