Honda Launches New Fit/Jazz for Japan

The next incarnation of Honda's subcompact Fit (Jazz for you continental types) is going on sale in Japan this week. You've already seen the new design, by way of a recent anticlimax. Now the details on Honda's next-generation fit come on the heels of news the company's sales are off dramatically in Japan, giving the new Fit that much more pressure. A newly tweaked 1.3-liter four and CVT transaxle provide go to the base model, while a new Road Sailing (RS) version gets a 1.5-liter producing 20 extra horses (120 total). As for utility, it gets a novel utility function, "Ultra Seat!" (exclamation ours) that allows rear seating to dive and release in one motion. We'll get our shot in the US by 2009.

Press Release:

Honda to begin sales of the all-new Fit in Japan

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced plans to begin sales in Japan of the all-new, completely redesigned Honda Fit on Friday, October 26, 2007. The Fit has gained popularity as a small car that features outstanding packaging, excellent fuel economy, and advanced styling.

The second-generation Fit was developed following the tradition of Honda's "man maximum - machine minimum" concept with the goal of creating the ideal small car for a new age. To provide values which exceed customer expectations for a small car and to set a new benchmark in the highly competitive small car segment, packaging, utility and driving performance have been further advanced with the all-new Fit.

The packaging of the new Fit is based on Honda's innovative center tank layout, with a longer wheelbase and wider track for enhanced interior space and practicality, combined with the small-car maneuverability of a 4.7-meter minimum turning radius. The front pillar has been moved forward to create a spacious interior, while the exterior boasts exhilarating styling. An ingenious interior layout helped create a comfortable cabin with space equivalent to a mid-sized sedan. The new Fit's practicality has also been enhanced with four-mode "Ultra Seat" and three-mode "Ultra Luggage" storage spaces.

The new Fit's dynamic performance is made possible by a newly developed 1.3-liter i-VTEC engine that delivers maximum output of 73kW (100PS). Combined with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and newly developed torque converter, the engine provides enjoyable driving and class-leading 24 km/l fuel economy. The body rigidity and crash safety performance were also enhanced while maintaining weight equivalent to the previous model. Moreover, the newly designed chassis also helps achieve superior comfort and steady handling.

Newly added to the Fit lineup is a Road Sailing (RS) version which highlights a sportier and sophisticated character with a newly developed 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine and a specially designed suspension with enhanced styling and a richer feel.

Honda Fit was first introduced in Japan in June 2001. It is now being produced in six factories in five countries and sold in approximately 115 countries around the world, with cumulative sales of more than two million units

Key features of the New Fit
Exterior styling

The exterior styling is intended to express both spaciousness and dynamic motion, with front pillars moved forward for an advanced, super-forward form. The fuel lid dovetails seamlessly with the monoform styling thanks to Honda's first application of a push-lift opener. The door mirrors provide greater visibility with 30%*6 more surface area supported by a compact mount located at the base of the front quarter light. The addition of five new colors brings the total available body colors to twelve.

Packaging
The center tank layout was carried over from the previous model to help maintain the maneuverability expected of a small car while allowing enhancement of cabin space and practicality. The overall length has been increased 55 mm to 3,900 mm and the width 20 mm to 1,695 mm, while the 1,525 mm height remains the same as the previous model, allowing for use of tower parking.

While the wheelbase has been increased 50 mm to 2,500 mm, the tread size has also been increased to help optimize the steering angle and maintain the minimum turning radius of the previous model at 4.7 meters.

Interior

The cabin features an ingenious layout with equivalent space as one of Honda's middle-class sedans, providing passengers a natural feeling of comfort.

The large three-meter cluster provides superior visibility with permanent illumination. The speedometer, located in the center of the cluster, features a large LED display providing of a broad range of information, including current fuel economy and range indications.

To ensure a comfortable driving position for all drivers, a tilt and telescopic steering column as well as a ratchet-operated seat height adjuster have been applied.

The front quarter windows are three times of the size of those in the previous model, and the width of the front pillar has been reduced by 20 mm to provide enhanced visibility. A new Sky Roof provides even more sense of space and comfort in the cabin. The power sun shield can be opened and closed with the touch of a switch for a comfortable cabin all year round.

The front seat is based on the seat frame of a middle-class sedan and fitted with springs and padding optimized for seat hold and ride comfort. The rear seats are 20 mm wider, 15 mm deeper, and have cushions 10 mm thicker for enhanced ride comfort. The left and right headrests fit into the seat back for easy seat arrangement and 30% better rearward visibilities.

Powertrain
The new Fit comes with either of two new engines: a 1.3 liter i-VTEC or a 1.5 liter i-VTEC. In addition to the superior low-rpm torque of its predecessors, the new 1.3l i-VTEC brings more power to the high rpm range and delivers enhanced fuel economy in everyday driving. The new four-valve configuration with enhanced intake performance and drive-by-wire technology combine to help achieve a power rating of 73 kW(100PS). The use of only one of the two intake valves at low rpm increases EGR efficiency, helping the Fit achieve a class-leading 24 km per liter fuel economy.

The new 1.5 liter i-VTEC delivers superior fuel economy combined with lively dynamic performance and plentiful torque throughout all speed ranges. Intake valve timing and clearance settings switch to match for low- and high-speed driving and optimized valve overlap in the low-, mid-, and high speed ranges enhances intake and exhaust efficiency for power output of 88 kW(120PS) and superior fuel economy of 19.6 km per liter.

The Fit's continuous variable transmission delivers enhanced drive and off-the-line acceleration thanks to the implementation of a new torque converter. Higher gear ratios also help improve fuel economy by keeping rpms low during cruising. The low-friction, high-efficiency oil pump and pulleys as well as a new creep control system provide optimized creep control at low speeds and during idling for improved fuel economy.

Utility
The four modes of "Ultra Seat" provide enhanced utility.

Utility mode: Easy one-motion dive down and release operation of the rear seats. The luggage space can be extended to a maximum length of 1,720 mm*12 thanks to the spacious full-flat floor.

Long mode: In Utility mode, place the passenger seat in the full reclining position to create a space up to 2,400 mm long to carry long objects.

Tall mode: Fold up the rear seat cushions to take advantage of Fit's 1,280 mm roof height—the perfect way to make space for tall items like house plants.

Refresh mode: Remove the front seat headrests and put the front seats in full reclining position to stretch out across the front and rear seats for a rest.

Chassis
The newly designed chassis realizes both superior ride comfort and steady handling. The rigid body and supple suspension provide an exceptional dynamic performance.

The new Fit features a McPherson strut front suspension.

The H-shaped torsion beam rear suspension achieves the maximum possible space for the rear seats and cargo area as well as supple ride comfort and steady handling.

The new electric power steering has more capacity than the previous model, and improvements to steering gear box rigidity and attachment points provide a more direct steering feel.