- 2004 Honda Fit Red Dot

Spent the day with a Honda Fit...Review

Correct me if I’m wrong but the Honda Fit is a true embodiment of the average Zimbabwean. At the end of this write-up, you might agree with me.

It's always refreshing to not only see a clean and well kept first generation Honda Fit but to spend the day with one and interact with it as though it is fresh out the factory. This was the perfect opportunity to truly get to the bottom of why it still reigns supreme as Zimbabwe’s unofficial People’s Car.

What about the exterior?

A well kept Fit still looks relatively neat and the example we had on the day was a perfect model of how its done. With more than 100 000km on the clock, it still looked like it had plenty more to give. From a styling point of view it is not a stunner at all, in fact far from it. Its design is strictly functional and dare I say boring with a tall roof and a predominantly boxy shape from the A pillar to the rear. This is a mini MPV (people carrier vehicle) after all so the benefits of this design are enjoyed once inside.

The model we had was also a facelift first generation which looks better compared to the pre-facelift one and this is pretty much a result of the LED rear lights and clearer looking front headlamps which came as part of the Fit’s midlife facelift back in 2004.

And the interior?

When sitting in either of the front seats you will notice two things. First, is the ample amount of room you have. As one of my friends said “There is so much room in the footwell you can play soccer in it.”... Don’t quote him on that, but I'm sure you get the point.

The second thing is the overwhelming evidence as to why these cars are so cheap to buy. Interior materials are predominantly hard plastic and the overall design is definitely showing its 17 year old age with a CD player front and centre and the lack of infotainment screens found in later Fit models. The firm seats and the lack of arm rests makes it difficult to get comfortable which I’m sure becomes an issue for long distance travel. However the large windscreen, short bonnet and small windows by the A pillar in front of ... well... the front doors aids in great forward visibility.

The Fit comes with a neat design package where the fuel tank is located under the front seats. This allows for an industry leading interior space especially in the backseat area. Both legroom and headroom are in abundance. Again, getting comfortable could be difficult with again firm seats and a lack of arm rests.

The boot area is quite large and deep even with a spear tyre and tools in place. For extra room you can fold the rear seats down for even extra room for sometimes weird activity. Such activities are spotted now and again online for example Fits hauling all kinds of farm produce or even firewood. Welcome to Zimbabwe folks!

But how does it drive though?

The model we tested had a 1.3L engine with 90 horsepower. Mind you this is the horsepower figure when it was new meaning currently it more or less has 70-ish as all cars lose power through aging. However because the car is small and light, it is still enough especially during inner city commutes. Its light weight can also be felt through the steering wheel as you manoeuvre through traffic. The only instance where the Fit may get overwhelmed in terms of power delivery is when it is used as an unofficial taxi a.k.a “mushikashika” which is a common site in Zimbabwe. On a good day one can fit (pun intended) 10 people thus overwhelming the engine (OBVIOUSLY).

Of course I will not dare to wrap up this article without mentioning the Fit’s most beloved party trick and that is... its more than favourable fuel consumption of 4.3litres per 100km. It’s as if the car also knows how real the Zimbabwean struggle is and will sip fuel like its savouring each drop as though it will be its last.

So, final thoughtS.

This car is very deserving of the “Fit” name because;

It is small enough to “Fit” in tight spaces,

It is roomy enough inside to “Fit” more than double the intended number of passengers (Zim style)

Aaand,

It is “Fit” enough to endure the abuse some Fits experience at the hands of their owners through negligence or just not being able to afford certain upkeeps of the car, whether cosmetic or skin deep.. This is a car for those looking to spend as little as possible on a car throughout their ownership of it as servicing, repairs and spare parts are cheap and in abundance.

If these qualities are what you are after and you don’t mind having a vehicle nearly everybody else has in Zimbabwe then GO FOR IT!

P.S: Look out for our video review of this car on our Z-CarCulture Youtube Channel, coming soon! Consider Subscribing whilst you're there!

Author: Tinotenda Nyakudzuka

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