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Honda Fit --ski car?

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  • Honda Fit --ski car?

    So I am looking for the cheapest car that has fold down seat for skis in the winter and will fit a road bike in the back in the summer. I am tired of SUV's that get 17mpg on the hwy, and a Fit is still cheaper that the cheapest Impreza or small suv's by several thousand dollars. Understanding that I may have to occasionally put on chains, anyone out there have one and can comment on how it does on snowy winter roads? I have had Subarus with low clearance in the past, and clearance never seemed to be an issue where I live, but just trying to decide whether I should cough up a few thousand dollars more for an awd Impreza, which actually would not carry my road bike inside as well as the Fit does.

  • #2
    I don't have one but I don't see why it wouldn't be as good as any other front-wheel drive car, which is pretty good. AWD is best in snow but how much is that worth in initial cost and yearly mileage, eh? My house is on a hill in a snowy place and I am able to ski a couple days a week, when it snows, so it's worth it to me. If I lived in a flat place or without much snow and only drove to ski on weekends when there might or might not be snow on the roads, I don't think it would be worth it. With your bike issue the Fit seems to fit (my sister has one and I like it- I like the utilitarian design but her kids think it's a geekmobile!)

    And here's a tidbit:
    "You know why they didn't call the Honda Jazz/Fit by its intended name?
    Honda had originally planned to name the first-gen the Honda Fitta. Probably sounds ok to you? If you were in Scandinavia though that would be the same as calling the car “the Honda Pussy”!
    That's why they chose to call it the Honda Jazz in Europe but modified the original name slightly to Honda Fit in the US (Honda deemed Fit to be too close to the original name in Scandinavia). Honda had even made the brochures and the slogan for the model when the name problem was discovered.
    The slogan: “Small on the outside but big on the inside”. Just imagine the adverts for that car in Scandinavia: Honda Fitta (Pussy). Small on the outside but big on the inside!"
    Last edited by Tele 'til You're Smelly; 14 October 2013, 03:11 PM.
    Reluctant enthusiast, part-time crusader, half-hearted fanatic

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    • #3
      The Fit is very well liked in general, more so than the somewhat similar Yaris hatchback. I don't have experience with it myself, though. I assume it will be about as good as anything else that's FWD, assuming that there's decent wheel-well clearance for chains. If you want cheap in a new car, also look at the Prius C. Perhaps not as fun to drive as the Fit, but long-term cost of ownership including gas is probably less than anything else out there.

      Speaking of Prius, there are rumors that the next generation, coming out in about a year or so, may be available in AWD.

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      • #4
        I bet it would do great. I've got some friends with the front wheel drive Honda mini-van (don't know name off top of my head) that performs great in snow; though it does need chains on the front wheels on occasion.

        I loath chains, so have been quite happy with my AWD pilot with studded snows for winter driving in Oregon. Figuring the cost of snows is about the cost of my deductible were I to be in an accident, it is a worthy investment to me.

        cheers,
        JT
        Last edited by Rock_Doc; 14 October 2013, 05:39 PM. Reason: spacin' out - deleted pointless point

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JST View Post
          So I am looking for the cheapest car that has fold down seat for skis in the winter and will fit a road bike in the back in the summer. I am tired of SUV's that get 17mpg on the hwy, and a Fit is still cheaper that the cheapest Impreza or small suv's by several thousand dollars. Understanding that I may have to occasionally put on chains, anyone out there have one and can comment on how it does on snowy winter roads? I have had Subarus with low clearance in the past, and clearance never seemed to be an issue where I live, but just trying to decide whether I should cough up a few thousand dollars more for an awd Impreza, which actually would not carry my road bike inside as well as the Fit does.
          What is the clearance on the Fit? The new Subaru's have 8" or so, I would be surprised if the Fit comes anywhere near that. Front wheel drive can be great until the snow gets deep and it starts stacking up under the bumper. It kind of depends on snow conditions where you are at. Why not looked for a used AWD with better clearance? I rent a lot of compact cars (nearly every month), I wasn't very impressed with the Fit as it seemed like a real dog. The Ford Focus wagon seemed like a better car to me but don't know how the MPG compares.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 3PinGrin View Post
            What is the clearance on the Fit? The new Subaru's have 8" or so, I would be surprised if the Fit comes anywhere near that. Front wheel drive can be great until the snow gets deep and it starts stacking up under the bumper. It kind of depends on snow conditions where you are at. Why not looked for a used AWD with better clearance? I rent a lot of compact cars (nearly every month), I wasn't very impressed with the Fit as it seemed like a real dog. The Ford Focus wagon seemed like a better car to me but don't know how the MPG compares.
            If you have newer tires on it - it should work good. The newer all season tires do real good on snow (not ice). even my volvo 240 wagon can power up the 3 rivers to wolverton road in sequoia with snow on the road real well as long as the tire treads are fairly new/deep. the fit should do even better and if you are in a state that does not enforce chain control then no problme (utah, colorado, etc) if your in california you will have to carry chains but they are not that big of a deal to put on and off

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            • #7
              I am sure the clearance is probably 5 inches or so, but I used to have a WRX with very little clearance and that never limited my winter driving.... Never really drive severely rutted roads. The reason I like the Fit compared to some of the other hatchbacks is that it is $15-16K and the space is amazing-- much more voluminous than most other cars with the same exterior dimensions because of the variety of ways the seats, including front passenger, fold away. Used subaru wagon might be a good option to consider, though.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JST View Post
                I am sure the clearance is probably 5 inches or so, but I used to have a WRX with very little clearance and that never limited my winter driving.... Never really drive severely rutted roads. The reason I like the Fit compared to some of the other hatchbacks is that it is $15-16K and the space is amazing-- much more voluminous than most other cars with the same exterior dimensions because of the variety of ways the seats, including front passenger, fold away. Used subaru wagon might be a good option to consider, though.
                Well having grown up and lived where it snows A LOT rutted roads had nothing to do with it. When there is 14" of fresh on a paved road that hasn't been plowed yet (or it keeps stacking up, particularly if it is wet/heavy) you are probably not getting there in a low slung FWD car. I guess it depends on if you always wait for plows and then hit the lifts, try to beat the plows, or if you are looking for backcountry pow in areas that don't get cleared for a while. Nothing beats clearance and AWD/4WD for big snow, but as stated by the OP fuel economy suffers. Not to knock the Fit again, but it seemed like a total dog to me. (okay, I guess I did knock the fit again)

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                • #9
                  This is about as small as it gets. A Geo Metro. We put over 150,000 AK miles on it to and from snow. Studded all the way around. You just have to learn the feel. I just threw the skis in through the hatchback and they banged around fine. When it died, it still got 44mpg. With short fat skis these days, who needs a ski rack.

                  Looking for a replacement and have been eyeing the Subaru Cross Trek...

                  Click image for larger version

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Valdez Telehead View Post
                    This is about as small as it gets. A Geo Metro. We put over 150,000 AK miles on it to and from snow. Studded all the way around. You just have to learn the feel. I just threw the skis in through the hatchback and they banged around fine. When it died, it still got 44mpg. With short fat skis these days, who needs a ski rack.

                    Looking for a replacement and have been eyeing the Subaru Cross Trek...

                    [ATTACH=CONFIG]725[/ATTACH]
                    Ha, nice photo VT. I agree with "the feel" comment. The difference is that my Tundra could drive out of that photo with no shovel work! I was a 2 wheel guy for many many years in Idaho, drove a snow plow and delivery truck for years too so lots of bad road driving experience. Now that I have a 4WD I will never go back. I also have a diesel Jetta wagon for economy that does extremely well as long as it's not pushing loads of snow. It's all about balance and need of course.

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                    • #11
                      Yep, I have a Pontiac Vibe and it's awesome. I drove a front wheel drive sedan over Vail and Hoosier passes in the middle of a REALLY nasty snowstorm once. Chain law was in effect.

                      I love the space I have in my Vibe, no rack needed. I can even fold down the passenger seat to serve as a makeshift desk when I'm on the road.

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                      • #12
                        Yeah front drive + aggressive snow tyres = fun my only concern would be is if it had the horseys to pull the hill but I see it's rated @ 117 hp vs. my Civics 106 with 126,000 miles which does just fine if you're not in a hurry. And alone. And skipped breakfast.
                        Based on that I'd say opt for the manual tranny.
                        Last edited by twopass; 20 October 2013, 12:57 AM.
                        “Taking away someone’s opinion is no different than sewing a man’s butthole shut.”

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                        • #13
                          Not trying to hijack the tread, but I picked a used Element and it has been amazing - built a removeable platform in the back that allows two to sleep super comfy - it can hold bikes, skis, etc., and gets good gas mileage for an AWD (and you can get one without AWD too).

                          here is pic after a day of enjoying spring corn over Thanksgiving, 2012!

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                          • #14
                            I have a 2012 Fit Sport that I got last fall, so have only experienced one winter season in it so far. Our VT winter last year was a pretty low-snow year, so I can't say i put it through the ringer, but i never got stuck or couldn't get where I wanted to go. I have good snows for all 4 wheels. I live on a dirt road so mud season is a bigger issue --I bottomed-out hard once or twice last spring, but no damage. I come from an AWD background, so this is my first FWD car in a long time. Kinda miss the confidence of winter driving in my old CRV, but our other car is a RAV, so no need for 2 SUVs. Clearance is the same as the Impreza (not the Crosstrek, which has high clearance) and Focus. The Fit has way more headroom than either of those other cars, and plenty of storage space with the seats down. Although I have a Thule rack for skis and bikes, a mtb easily fits inside. I average 38 mpg.

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                            • #15
                              Go drive one, they don't ride as good as they look; rough ride, noisy.

                              Check out the Toyota Matrix, great car, nearly the same mpg as the Fit, but more ompah, more space, and a better ride. FYI, Vibe and Matrix are the same car, so get the one that's the best deal. They also can be had with AWD, but this will drop your mpg 10-15%.

                              I prefer the manual tranny, put 125k on my 2005, original brakes and clutch, still ran like a beast when I sold it, probably the most reliable and best performing econo car I have ever owned. Get some good snow tires and it's a great fwd snow machine. Cargo area is armored, great for putting wet gear and bikes.

                              So, I replaced my Matrix with an Element, this was my second Element, so I know how great they are except for one thing: Terrible MPG. I had a 2004 five speed first, it did a little better ln the mpg, now I have a 2008 AWD auto and I average 21mpg, best hwy if I keep my foot light has been 24mpg.

                              I have spent many nights sleeping in mine, it has hauled campers and cargo trailers, recently I drove 8000 miles with a huge gear box loaded with supplies and unis. I have driven mine cross country four times, last Fall I hit a truck tire on the freeway and trashed the front clip, then hit a deer one month later and finished the job. Mine has 100k, will be selling it after we move and getting the new Forrester with the CVT tranny, it has nearly the same cargo space, but gets 50% better mpg.

                              If I didn't have towing needs and wasn't so fond of carrying my gear in the car (dogs included), I'd still be driving the Matrix. just can't beat 32-35mpg, timing chain, sports car handling, and burly cargo area.
                              Last edited by Nurse Ben; 19 October 2013, 12:41 PM.

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