Even in the clutter of downtown Toronto’s cityscape, it’s hard to miss a cheeky yellow funnel siphoning a household’s worth of sporting goods, toys and appliances into the trunk of a Honda Fit. Plunked down on busy Richmond Street, it gives commuters stuck in the city’s traffic pickle something to contemplate.
How many of them are thinking, “could you really squeeze that much into the tiniest Honda of them all?” The Fit, a mere speck of a car, is targeted to busy urbanites who are likely to pack up and take their life with them at a moment’s notice. Staring at the big yellow funnel, I started wondering – what would I be able to jam into a Fit? And so, a couple of weeks later, I picked up a 2015 Aegean Blue Honda Fit EX-L with all the trimmings.
My pocket-sized ride seemed tiny on the outside, but generous on the inside. I could easily have been a head taller and still had plenty of room to bop to the beat of Soul Town. And oh, the redolent scent of leather! Was I really in an “economy” car? Nestling into the accommodating but supportive driver’s seat, I stretched out, pressed the start button and pulled away. Keyless entry is one thing, but smart key entry is another in this class of vehicle.
Not only did the rear view camera make parking a cinch with a multiple views, but every time I flipped up the turn signal, Honda’s Lane Watch system gave me a clear view of my blind spot. Driving around the city, speeding cyclists and impetuous pedestrians randomly popped into view, allowing me to turn with confidence like never before.
Pulling into my local Loblaws, I spotted that noble monument to French automotive design, a Citroen Deux Chevaux, in a two-tone Charleston trim. Magnifique! I pulled up alongside, took a photo, and did my shopping. Coming back, I was struck by the difference in size. Were my eyes fooling me? Next to the Citroen, the Fit looked like an absolute behemoth! Just goes to show, large and small is in the eye of the beholder.
Jaunting around town, the Fit was a hardy little beast that took on the nastiest traffic without breaking a sweat. I kept it in Economy mode, and the continuously variable transmission (CVT) rewarded me with an impressive 8.7 litres per 100k. That’s about 27 miles per gallon, which is not shabby. An angry green light bracketing the speedometer would chide me if I pushed the engine too hard, while a soothing blue light applauded my more mindful driving. And the 130 horsepower engine proved sprightly as I sailed onto the highway, snaking around plodding sedans and SUVs with ease.
Speaking of snakes, my Burmese cat, Anschel, has been finding it a long winter. The only way to keep him (and, consequently, me) from going snakey has been to take him out for a drive. As a prize-winning showcat who was Best Burmese in Canada, Anschel loves to travel. In fact, he will sit in his crate and kvetch until I take him for a ride! Not only does he love to get out, but I suspect the motion of the car is soothing.
And so I called out one day, “who wants to go for a ride?” Anschel came, alternately grousing and chirping, and headed straight for his crate. I packed him up, and off we went. Inside the Fit, the crate was easily secured in the passenger seat, and Anschel was warbling with excitement. I’d brought the other two cat crates to see how many I could fit in the enormous cargo space. Honda has moved the gas tank up under the driver’s seat, and the two back seats can fold down completely flat. There was easily enough room for a whole clowder (!) of kitties.
First, we drove along the beach with the window slightly lowered, so that Anschel could get a snoutful of fresh lake and wildlife scents. All I could see was the back of his raised head as he drank in the delicious smells emanating from the beach, occasionally rubbing his noggin against the top of the carrier in delight. He kept up a constant prattle that would crescendo if I slowed down.
After a while, Anschel quieted down and I pulled into the parking lot of Ashbridges Bay. I pulled him out and set him between two crates in the trunk, and was amazed at how easily all three crates were nestled together. There were plenty of latches to attach bungee cords to keep the crates from sliding around. If I had to travel with multiple cats, it would be a breeze. While I rarely travel with more than one cat, I do have cat breeder friends who regularly travel with several cats to attend shows. Wait until I told them they didn’t need those big SUVs!
On the way home, Anschel’s conversation softened to the occasional grunt, and soon he was contentedly snoring up a storm. Given that he was atop a luxuriously soft and heated seat, with warm air blowing at him from all sides, my prize kitty was as snug as a bug in a rug.
I’m sure he was dreaming of his glory days in the show ring, being festooned with ribbons by admiring judges, and applause from his adoring public.
But for now, the smooth, sublime motion of our charmingly appointed carriage had proved more than enough …