My 2011 Honda Fit "Sport"
This is where I talk about the orange 2011 Honda Fit "Sport" I bought in roughly December of 2013. Yes, I put "sport" in quotes because it is absolutely not a sports car, though it has some sports-car-like qualities.
PurchaseWe purchased this car around December of 2013.
My experience with this car has been very
good overall. However, I would like to contrast it to my 2001 BMW 325ci.
- Ride Comfort: even though my BMW has the sport suspension
option, the ride quality isn't even close. The Honda has
much less comfortable seats. Also, the ergonomics are
way off. The BMW is far more comfortable on long
trips. The Honda doesn't have a place to rest your left
elbow, and the right arm rest is not as comfortable as the
BMW. The BMW is entry level "luxury sport", while the
Honda is "budget sport."
- Sport suspension: though the BMW is superior to this car, many websites point out that the Fit has a very good suspension. So the difference isn't much, in terms of hugging the ground and g force, at least in my driving. But I drive "with spirit" or "conservatively". I don't race either vehicle, so I can't comment on that.
- Sport performance: the Honda Fit 1.5L engine, though powerful for its size, holds nothing to the 2.5L I-6 of the BMW. The 0-60 mph times (6.9 sec BMW, 8.2 Honda) tell all. My BMW 325ci is similar to a V-6 Mustang from that year: it's got the look and most of the suspension, but it's not the fastest model. The Honda Fit "Sport" isn't a sports car, despite how it looks. The BMW's power comes on instantly, yet smoothly, and the concerto of the engine is beautiful. The Fit sounds like it's killing itself accelerating. Both cars are automatics (A/T). The Fit's paddle shifters help sometimes, like when accelerating to highway speeds, when trying to keep the engine in the magical iVTEC rpm range of 4.5-6K, but the BMW's Steptronic reads my mind. The Honda's gas pedal feels more old-school, as if telling the engine only how much gas it can get. The BMW's gas pedal is expressive: it can tell the difference between slow and fast movements. The BMW kickdown feature that is worth its weight in gold, and is how and why you see BMWs darting through traffic: the click lets you know it's engaged, and the computer knows to give you max performance for a few seconds after it's engaged. So even the BMW, with it's wanna-be "V6 Mustang" power, is much more a sports car than the Fit. Additionally, the BMW's Steptronic stays where you tell it, such as not shifting from 2 to 1 when you come to a complete stop. (But beware: the BMW will let you wreck it when in Steptronic.) The Honda will almost always down-shift from 2 to 1 at a stop, which can be annoying in stop and go traffic. The BMW's A/T doesn't need to be in Steptronic to stop down-shifting from 2 to 1: the A/T computer can tell if you're in stop-and-go traffic and will itself not shift down from 2 to 1.
- Honda iVTEC versus BMW VANOS. Honda iVTEC has some
good use, but note that such a car has essentially only two
camshaft patterns. This is why many Hondas with
VTEC/iVTEC don't seem to "come alive" until the engine is
about half way between 0 and max rpm. This is a very
efficient design: the Honda easily gets better gas mileage
than the BMW, not just because of capacity, but because of
design. You can basically have your cake and eat it,
too. Or you would think so, until you see the BMW
system. VANOS is always running, and it has essentially
an unlimited number of camshaft angles it can use (though it
does not change valve lift, at least not in the E46).
The result of VANOS is that the M54B25 I-6 feels like it's
always performing at max power, no matter what rpm. To
be fair, the BMW system is more maintenance intensive and less
fuel efficient. The VANOS has to be rebuilt roughly
every 100K miles. Also, given its larger size, the M54
engine is less fuel efficient, and also wants 91+
octane. So in terms of power, the BMW VANOS is a better
system (even compared to the Honda Type R 2.4L). But the
Honda iVTEC is more fuel efficient and a more practical way to
have more performance in the same engine. Not better,
but more practical. So I like the VANOS more, but I
realize iVTEC is more efficient in the Honda Fit engine.
- Appearance: the Honda Fit "Sport" looks nice, but slightly
geeky. That's ok. But when compared to the elegant
and almost understated lines of the BMW E46 series, there's no
comparison. But remind yourself, this is why you paid
twice as much for your BMW if you bought it new versus the
Honda Fit. I've had the grills call out of the front of
my BMW, but given how old it is, I can understand that, but
the factory parts are more expensive (so I saved money using
"cooler" aftermarket grills). I had a piece of trim
plastic between the front passenger side and rear passenger
side start coming off, so I bought another and had a friend
pop it on.
- Dealership experience: my experience at the BMW dealership
is one of luxury. There's a break area with coffee and
tea, large screen TV, and snacks. When you drive up,
even in a beat up old BMW, they open the door for you.
They are by far the most professional and courteous people
I've ever met. But BMW dealership maintenance is easily
more expensive than Honda. I save thousands of dollars
doing my own maintenance on the BMW because the dealership is
almost always right, and hardly ever make mistakes, but you
get what you pay for. At the Honda dealership, you're in
a break room with crying children and small seats with no
snacks, and a tiny TV. Their people aren't as courteous,
but they're still acceptable. The Honda service reps
have no problem arguing with you. However, maintenance
at the Honda dealership is so cheap, I have had them perform
the maintenance (my car is still under warranty) many times,
to include A/T flush & filter, and brake system flush
& fill. The parts for the Honda, as well, are much
cheaper. If you want a budget car, the Honda Fit "Sport"
is definitely what you want. BMWs are for rich people.
- Ease of access / ease of maintenance: The Honda seems to
have fewer parts under the hood, no VANOS, and more room for
your arms, so I'm going to say that maintenance, right now, is
cheaper. On the BMW, you have to remove the air filter
assembly for almost anything you do. Additionally, VANOS
needs rebuilt every 100K miles, roughly, and there are more
sensors and things to fix. But accessing them all is
still relatively easy. I will complain, though, about
the starter. On the BMW, the starter is under the
intake. So if you can't navigate how tight the area is,
the starter will require the intake to come off, and there is
a lot of stuff that bolts to the intake. It's not that
all this stuff is hard to remove, so much that there's just a
lot of stuff to remove to take off the intake: fuel injectors
and fuel rail, DISA, ICV, throttle body. In many ways,
the BMW is easy to work on, surprisingly easier than I thought
it would be. But it seems harder than the Honda would
be, so I must tentatively say the Honda is easier to work on.
Maintenance HistoryNow I will list, chronologically, all the maintenance I've done on this car. For what it's worth, I always use Mobil 1 0W-20 and FRAM oil filters. I also tend to change the oil before the oil life readout starts to nag me. Additionally, the vast majority of the miles on this car have been highway miles. If there is a missing oil change, it's only because I didn't put it in the maintenance booklet in the car. I have missed writing down a few changes, but in reality, all changes were accomplished. Indeed, I am starting this webpage (3 June 2017) because I ran out of room to record these in the maintenance booklet.
31 May 2014
Replaced engine oil and filter @ 33,034
31 July 2014
Replaced tires with Yokohama AVID Ascend
29 November 2014
Replaced engine oil and filter @ 43,269
11 June 2015
Replaced engine oil and filter @ 52,840
16 December 2015
Replaced engine oil and filter, and rotated
tires @ 62,473 miles.
19 August 2016
Replaced battery with a 5 year warrantied
battery @ 79,827 miles.
17 September 2016
Rotated tires @ 81,737 miles.
17 September 2016
22 November 2016
Changed oil and filter @ 82,793 miles.
9 December 2016
Had dealership replace A/T fluid and filter
@ 83,885 miles.
1 May 2016
Had dealership flush and fill brake fluid.
2 June 2017
Put about half a small can of R1334A (plus
oil) into the air conditioning. Like the Honda CR-V I used
to own, it seems this car loses half a can worth of R134A a
3 June 2017Changed the oil and filter today, and rotated the tires. Recently, when we had the Honda dealership flush the brake fluid, they had reported to us that the front brakes were nearing the end of their lifespan, so today we took a look at them. Contrary to what they said, the front pads were at roughly 5mm and the rear shoes at 4mm. Since the minimum thickness (Haynes manual) is 2 mm (front) and 1.6mm (rear), we have some lifespan left, so we inspected both brake assemblies and sprayed them out with brake cleaner. I took a picture of all four for future reference.
30 September 2017
26 December 2017Valve lash adjusted by the dealership. I made sure they performed the valve lash adjustment even though the engine wasn't making lifter noise.
I also discovered that this engine has a timing chain, not belt. So no timing belt replacement is needed because the engine isn't making noise.
3 January 2018
I tried to replace the spark plugs (using
Bosch double-platinum which will last longer). I couldn't
reach the #4.
Had Playground Auto replace the #4 spark plug, and check torque on the other three. I also had them check the fuel and exhaust systems for leaks. They didn't find any problems.
1 March 2018
Replaced oil and filter, and rotated tires.
2 April 2018
I had the Honda dealership replace all the
brakes. The car has roughly 105K miles on it. The
dealership claimed it needed new tires, but we had an ASE
certified mechanic inspect the tires, and he said we have
another year of life on them. The dealership also claimed
it needed a front end alignment, but we had a shop inspect the
car and it didn't need an alignment.