Smaller cars are starting to appear on US roads, as the price of gas keeps inching up. One example is the Honda Fit (called by that name in Japan, the Americas and China) or the Honda Jazz, as it is known in the rest of the world.
This car "Fits" comfortably in most Dutch parking spaces (believe me, those are tiny: just today, I saw a BMW 316i parked in one; it spilled over in all four directions). Paradoxically, the interior is large enough to Fit CelloMom's crew plus one friend, as well as the cello in the surprisingly large trunk, which can be made even larger if you eschew prudence and leave out the spare tire. And the styling is, well, Jazzy.
In the US, the smallest engine available for the Fit is the 1.5L i-VTEC, which gets mileage of 27/33 mpg (cty/hwy), 35mpg actual. That's underwhelming for a car that's just 162in long and weighs just under 2500lbs. In Europe the largest engine you can buy is the 1.4L i-VTEC. You can also get a version that carries a 1.2L i-VTEC engine which gets actual mileage of 40mpg. It's good for the European "B" label. And no, its 90HP is not enough to pull your camper trailer, but it's fine for your daily errands - and you can park it in places that full-size cars can only dream of.
You could take it one step further and go for a Honda Jazz Hybrid. The 1.4L CVT version gets 50 mpg (actual) and has a pre-tax price tag of € 16,134, so it would only pay off it you drive a lot.
CelloMom loves the shapely design of the Honda Fit/Jazz, and the magic of roominess inside for this size car. It comes in cool colors including the Fresh Lime Metallic (can't lose that in a parking lot no matter how scatterbrained CelloMom may get). And as an option the inside of the ceiling can be pushed back to give the impression that the windshield is extended to past the front seat backs. Let the sun shine in!
Honda Fit/Jazz, same-model comparison, different engine size
|Honda Fit||Honda Jazz|
Fit 1.5L i-VTEC
|Jazz 1.2 i-VTEC |
|Emissions rating||ULEV-2||EURO5 "B"|
|MRSP||US$ 15,100|| |
€ 10,820 (pre-tax)
|City/Hwy, US EPA (mpg)||(27 / 33)|
|City/Hwy, EU quoted, liters/100km||not available in EU||6.6 / 4.6|
|Avg, EU quoted, l/100km(mpg)||5.3 (44)|
|Avg, actual, (mpg)||(35) DOE||(40) Honest John|
|CO2, EU quoted, g/km||123|
|CO2, actual, g/km||169|
|Engine||4-cyl, 1.5L||4-cyl, 1.2L|
|Power||117 hp @ 6600 rpm||90 hp @ 6000 rpm|
|Gears||5-spd manual||5-spd manual|
|Length, mm(in)||(161.6in)||3900 mm|
|Width, mm(in)||(66.7in)||1695 mm|
|Height, mm(in)||(60.0in)||1525 mm|
|Weight, kg(lbs)||(2489 lbs)||1019 kg|
|Trunk volume, liters(cuft)||(20.6 cuft)||337+42 L|
|Turning radius||34.4ft||10.1 m|
|Top speed||mph||177 kph (110mph)|
Post revised on Sept 5, 2011 to add real-use fuel economy and to adjust text accordingly.