Going & Stopping

If you glance at the Fit's specifications, one thing is likely to jump out at you: It's powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. One-point-five liters? The last time I was behind an engine that small, I was mowing the lawn. That said, I never felt that the car was underpowered. Honda's VTEC variable-valve timing is perhaps more impressive in this little powerplant than it has been in larger ones, providing decent torque at low engine speeds. Of course, I was driving the standard five-speed manual transmission, and it's likely that the optional five-speed automatic would have a little less gusto. What the automatic does have is a clutchless-manual mode and Formula-1-style paddle shifters for racer wannabes and other silly folk.

If you're concerned on principle that the engine is this small, the whole subcompact category runs at about 1.5 to 1.8 liters of displacement. More important, engine size doesn't matter from one model to another. The same is true of power ratings, which might seem revealing when comparing one car to another but are irrelevant absent other variables, such as weight. Honda Fit Engine Specifications Type 1.5-liter inline-4 Horsepower 109 @ 5,800 rpm Torque (lbs. ft.) 105 @ 4,800 rpm Redline 6,300 rpm Required Gasoline regular (87 octane) Source: Manufacturer data

The Fit has front disc and rear drum brakes, which is also the norm in this class. While more widely available than ever, ABS isn't always standard, but it is on the Fit. In actual use, the brakes gave me no trouble.

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