By the time you read this, the second-generation Fit will be here. Well, not here, here, but "here" meaning Japan. The redesign holds true to Honda's long-time approach: "man maximum, machine minimum," an approach that Honda's placing its bet on to be enough to not only make first-generation Fit aficionados happy but to also make others look to get behind the wheel of something of the burgeoning B-segment variety.
Body and styling changes aren't radical, but they're there. A longer wheelbase, wider stance and front pillars pushed forward allow for increased interior room. Sure the new Fit's only 55mm longer with a 50mm longer wheelbase, but extra wheelbase is extra wheelbase. The added length affords the interior enough room to add four-mode Ultra Seats that flip around more ways than you'd probably ever care to flip-increasing cargo space and even folding completely out of the way. Five new colors will also be offered, making for a total of 12 Fit flavors.
Two engines will be available for the JDM Fit, a 1.3L SOHC i-VTEC and, of course, the 1.5L SOHC i-VTEC offered in the RS model. Both are mileage-friendly powertrains but the 1.3-liter is nothing short of a fuel miser with its ability to stop half the engine's intake valves from moving at low engine speeds for more effective exhaust gas recirculation and improved mileage. Of course, all is at the sake of horsepower with the 1.3L measuring in at only 100 ps. The 1.5-liter betters the smaller powerplant by a good 20 ps due to more aggressive valve timing characteristics on the intake side and extra displacement. The continuously variable transmission is now offered as an option for those looking for further improvements in terms of fuel consumption and, according to Honda, better off the line performance. Still, we'd opt for the now standard all-wheel-drive drivetrain mated to the five-speed automatic gearbox. Now if we could only get this in a manual. Also of note are a revised electrical power steering system featuring a larger capacity and a more rigid steering box for improved feel. A vehicle stability system-a first for manual transmission-equipped cars of this class-will also be offered with RS models.
If you went to the L.A. Auto Show in November, then it's likely you didn't walk past Honda's next generation hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle debut without notice. The FCX concept Honda's been touting for the last year was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, then again in L.A. and is likely to be available for purchase early next year-or at least something like it will be.
Honda's recent breakthroughs in fuel cell technology are beginning to open up levels of performance, interior space, comfort and styling that, until now, generally just didn't go hand in hand with fuel cell cars. Honda's FCX concept makes use of electricity stored within its lithium-ion battery pack to power the vehicle's electric motor. The FCX is equipped with a V Flow fuel cell platform consisting of a compact, high-efficiency fuel cell stack arranged in an innovative center-tunnel layout. This new fuel cell stack design is 20 percent smaller and 30 percent lighter than current stacks yet produces more power. It's not only better performing but it's also more energy efficient. The FCX concept's vertical-flow design lets gravity do its part in discharging byproducts of water, which further improves its efficiency. All of this results in more stable power production and higher output.
As of now, Honda is the first and only automaker with a fuel cell vehicle fully certified to meet all applicable federal government emissions and crash-safety standards. What's more, Honda is the first and only automaker to lease a fuel cell vehicle to an individual customer with a second customer added in 2007. Want to be the third?