2015 Honda Fit passes Arizona Desert heat test with flying colors
So, how does one shed some new light on one of the most press-covered releases in American Honda’s history? That’s what Torque News was up against when it came to Honda’s best selling and much improved 2015 Fit EX-L Sat-Link with voice activated navigation. If such a thing as a luxury Fit exists, this is it. We decided to take this top of the line Fit out on a Sonora Desert run before things heated up too much down Phoenix, Arizona way.
Darn hot and getting hotter
Much to the surprise of Torque News and many Phoenix residents, May 1 temperatures broke 100*F. Not acclimatized to triple digit temperatures, we ditched our initially planned road trip to Sedona Red Rock, instead opting for the scenic back roads, heading off to the surprising mirage-like shores of Lake Pleasant.
First of all, the last thing we were expecting to find in the middle of a Cathedral Cactus forest was a lake large enough to float 30 and 40 foot long houseboats, 60 mph performance multiple engined high performance speed boats and just about any other water craft one can image. But there it was within 30 minutes of downtown Phoenix.
On day 2, Fit wasn’t running hot, but we were
We'd put 300+ miles on Fit’s odometer the day before, driving through scorching 107*F heat, and 30 mph cross winds; without so much as a mechanical hiccup. Fit had performed way beyond our expectations, as to undeterred road handling, interior comfort and measurable rock-steady engine and transmission performance.
Day 2 would find Torque News in search of that perfect hard-sand and gravel BLM transition road; with hopes of a high vantage view point of the Sonora Desert surrounding Phoenix and vicinity. Although Fit’s unobstructed ground clearance is better than average(7.1 inches) for the subcompact hatch-segment, the sport-package 16 inch alloy rims and low profile all weather tires don’t lend themselves(much) to off road thrashing, so we’d keep our eyes open for a well groomed dessert dirt highway.
Cathedral Cactus Anyone
While traveling down Arizona North State 17, we came across a temporary road construction asphalt plant with paved drag-strip-like ingress. This was perfect for a high-speed desert run in 100*+ temperatures. Would Fit hold together under these test conditions?
Fit performance suprises: Granted, one can only pull so much performance out of a production 1.5 liter dual overhead cam, 16 valve, direct injected 1-VTEC engine.(130 horsepower, 114 lb-ft torque) Ours was matched to Honda’s CVT transmission with Sport Mode ™, and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. Transmitting the torque to the scorching desert roadbed is a limited slip differential; we found this system to work flawlessly via Drive By Wire ™ throttle and Honda’s standard drive stability feature.
We go racing, Fit style
Pushing the standard featured drive stability 'off' button, we grabbed a handfull of throttle and went for it! Although we didn’t clock Fit’s 0 to 60 mph speed, we did experience near-zero delay in the paddle activated shifting, and backed off on the throttle(just a bit) before reaching the century mark. Fit didn’t so much as hiccup during our speed run, despite air temperature approaching 103*F. We didn't break Fit!
Torque News had noted exceptional off of the light acceleration in earlier Fit test drives. Now, we knew proof-positive that the direct injected normally aspirated gasoline Fit had some serious throttle to go along with decent handling and ride comfort; the icing on the cake if you will.
Heading off to Lake Pleasant, we would soon explore Fit’s traction abilities in the dirt. That would come on day 3 of our Phoenix adventure.