Author Topic: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)  (Read 7285 times)

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Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« on: June 05, 2015, 11:30:45 AM »
I'm trying to decide between three different Honda Fits. I drive a lot (16k miles/year) so dependability is important. Any advice on which I should choose would be appreciated. I just sold my truck for $14k, so I'd be able to pay cash for any of them. All have a clean Car Fax.

2009 Honda Fit Base; 77,000 miles; $7,300; Private owner
     I test drove this the other day. It appears mechanically fine but the interior and exterior are only in fair condition, at best. This was the first car for one of this guy's daughters and I'm not sure how good care she took of it. There were dents and scratches on the outside (nothing major though) and stains, dog hair, mystery crumbs/dirt, and a very slight funny smell (maybe smoke covered by Febreeze?) on the inside. He was asking $8,500 but came down to $7,300 very quickly. My dad is a mechanic and looked it over. He could not find anything mechanically wrong with it. The fact that the owner did not clean it at all gives me pause. If he didn't take the time to even do that, then should I have any confidence that he ever took the time to properly care for the car? It also has no cruise control, which isn't a huge thing, but it's still a thing.

2010 Honda Fit Sport; 34,000 miles, $11,900; Dealer
One owner. Have not seen it yet, but appears to be in very good condition. Will test drive this weekend. Comes with a lifetime powertrain warranty if all the service work is completed by an ASE certified mechanic (void if I do work on it myself).

2009 Honda Fit Sport, 86,000 miles; $8,700; Private owner
One owner. I haven't seen it yet, but based on the pictures and my email correspondence with the owner, it appears to be in good condition. Just got new tires and new brakes. Guy is selling it because he recently got deployed for 2 years (his father-in-law has power of attorney). I plan to test drive it this weekend. Is this too many miles, considering how much I drive each year?

Thoughts?

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2015, 11:50:05 AM »
I would offer 7000 and settle for 7500 for option 3 in a heartbeat.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2015, 11:53:47 AM »
If your dad is a good mechanic that is familiar with newer hondas, I'd buy the first one, it seems like a good deal.

JLee

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2015, 12:33:26 PM »
You might be able to talk #1 into getting the car professionally detailed as part of the deal. However, I'd shoot for #3.

http://www.fitfreak.net/forums/general-fit-talk/12944-base-vs-sport.html

TN_Steve

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2015, 01:05:05 PM »
I'd not spend a dime more for the sport trim, but lack of cruise control would be an issue for me--how often do you drive 400+ miles one-way in a trip each year?

Transmissions all the same--auto or manual?

If the prices stay the same, you don't do long drives, and your dad is cool with the Base trim model, I'd likely go with that one (all else being equal).  What do their records show for maintenance?  If they didn't keep receipts, they should be able to pull credit card expenditures for that car's expenses--or, if they went to the same place most of the time, that facility could print the records out.  FWIW, my 2013 fit has 53,000 miles on it and has never been washed or vacuumed.  Maintenance is by the book though.  (having a 1/4 mile long gravel drive makes washes futile!)

waffle

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2015, 02:52:51 PM »
Have you done any negotiating with the dealer for option #2 yet? What is the KBB value on it? If the dealer will drop it down to about 9-9.5k then I'd probably go with that one for the low miles.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2015, 03:32:39 PM »
I don't want to give too strong an opinion since I don't know the specifics of the cars or your situation, but if you could get the price close I'd be tempted to go with the 2010 with the least miles (note though, I don't think dealer sold cars are necessarily more reliable than private, but perhaps it's more of a known quantity). Honda Fits in some areas seem to keep their resale value relatively well, so you may get back some of the premium you paid if/when you sell. I think it will all depend on your personal evaluation of the three cars and what makes most sense for you.

For context, we have a 2009 Honda Fit sport (it's the second Honda Fit we've had), and think it's a great car
Our car was bought used from a dealership at about 40,000 miles, is approaching about 85,000 miles now (mainly highway while we've owned) and we've had no major issues or expenses  besides wear and tear parts (breaks, tires, wipers, lights), and normal maintenance. I wouldn't worry about putting 15k miles a year on it at this point, though now that I'm older and wiser I might question why I can't figure out a way to drive less :)

Some randoms thoughts on the pros/cons of the Sports model:

While it's badged as a sports model, the decision is really base vs slightly fancier, since there are only two trim levels. I'm sure the base would work fine and is still a pretty luxurious car, but the up model is nice to have for the cruise control, power doors and windows, and remote entry.
Our car can also play MP3s directly from an ipod/iphone and also charge a phone from USB, I don't know if the base can do that, and it's not a deal breaker, but it is nice on road trips.

If you are looking at automatics, the paddle shifters that come with the sports model do make the automatic transmission a bit more tolerable, especially on roads with a lot of elevation changes or sudden merges. The better solution is probably to get a manual if you can, I think it is a better fit for the car (though with the limited availability, we had to go with automatic when buying used).

I'll admit, I think the spoiler and body skirt they add on the sports model make it look a little nicer. Maybe in theory they make it a little more fuel efficient (maybe), and maybe improve performance (probably not).
BUT they have practical downsides: the spoiler makes it hard to find a trunk mounted bike rack that will fit. We went with a hitch mounted bike rack for this reason. The skirt also lowers your clearance a bit, so it's easier to catch curbs, makes speed bumps more of a pain, and I guess would make it harder to go offroading if you wanted to do that.
The skirt also makes it slightly hard to find where you have to jack the car the first time you need to change a flat, especially if you have to do it confused and in the dark... fun times...

The sport model also comes with slightly larger (or wider?) tires I think. Again, they make the car look nicer I suppose, and less shopping/go cart like. They might make the car handle better or be more responsive in turns, but I think it'd be a moot point if you are looking at such a tall car anyways. If/when you have to get new tires, they are also more expensive and harder to find than the tires for the base model.. again this might just be our experience.

Hope some of that helps. We are quite happy with the Fit in the end

LalsConstant

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2015, 06:59:09 AM »
I don't want to give too strong an opinion since I don't know the specifics of the cars or your situation, but if you could get the price close I'd be tempted to go with the 2010 with the least miles (note though, I don't think dealer sold cars are necessarily more reliable than private, but perhaps it's more of a known quantity). Honda Fits in some areas seem to keep their resale value relatively well, so you may get back some of the premium you paid if/when you sell. I think it will all depend on your personal evaluation of the three cars and what makes most sense for you.

For context, we have a 2009 Honda Fit sport (it's the second Honda Fit we've had), and think it's a great car
Our car was bought used from a dealership at about 40,000 miles, is approaching about 85,000 miles now (mainly highway while we've owned) and we've had no major issues or expenses  besides wear and tear parts (breaks, tires, wipers, lights), and normal maintenance. I wouldn't worry about putting 15k miles a year on it at this point, though now that I'm older and wiser I might question why I can't figure out a way to drive less :)

Some randoms thoughts on the pros/cons of the Sports model:

While it's badged as a sports model, the decision is really base vs slightly fancier, since there are only two trim levels. I'm sure the base would work fine and is still a pretty luxurious car, but the up model is nice to have for the cruise control, power doors and windows, and remote entry.
Our car can also play MP3s directly from an ipod/iphone and also charge a phone from USB, I don't know if the base can do that, and it's not a deal breaker, but it is nice on road trips.

If you are looking at automatics, the paddle shifters that come with the sports model do make the automatic transmission a bit more tolerable, especially on roads with a lot of elevation changes or sudden merges. The better solution is probably to get a manual if you can, I think it is a better fit for the car (though with the limited availability, we had to go with automatic when buying used).

I'll admit, I think the spoiler and body skirt they add on the sports model make it look a little nicer. Maybe in theory they make it a little more fuel efficient (maybe), and maybe improve performance (probably not).
BUT they have practical downsides: the spoiler makes it hard to find a trunk mounted bike rack that will fit. We went with a hitch mounted bike rack for this reason. The skirt also lowers your clearance a bit, so it's easier to catch curbs, makes speed bumps more of a pain, and I guess would make it harder to go offroading if you wanted to do that.
The skirt also makes it slightly hard to find where you have to jack the car the first time you need to change a flat, especially if you have to do it confused and in the dark... fun times...

The sport model also comes with slightly larger (or wider?) tires I think. Again, they make the car look nicer I suppose, and less shopping/go cart like. They might make the car handle better or be more responsive in turns, but I think it'd be a moot point if you are looking at such a tall car anyways. If/when you have to get new tires, they are also more expensive and harder to find than the tires for the base model.. again this might just be our experience.

Hope some of that helps. We are quite happy with the Fit in the end

Are you me!?

I have to second all this, my Fit just got totaled and I may buy another, but man, it's rough to find a fairly priced Fit in my market, the dealers don't have to negotiate if they mark it within $100 of KBB because the market on them is so tight.  Seriously it's so tight that I'd dare suggest (MMM heresy incoming) even buying a new one would be about the same value give or take.

All of these look pretty decent compared to my local listings!

TN_Steve

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2015, 12:01:28 PM »

...

I have to second all this, my Fit just got totaled and I may buy another, but man, it's rough to find a fairly priced Fit in my market, the dealers don't have to negotiate if they mark it within $100 of KBB because the market on them is so tight.  Seriously it's so tight that I'd dare suggest (MMM heresy incoming) even buying a new one would be about the same value give or take.

...

Agree with this--and that all of the prices OP quoted seem decent.  I bought my 2013 new after looking at KBB and local used listings.  If you are buying to keep "forever," the depreciation curve isn't much help on these vehicles--unless buying new would require one to get a loan.

JLee

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2015, 02:24:14 PM »

LalsConstant

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2015, 03:54:17 PM »
It can vary, there's a very tight market on economical cars in my region and the Fit in particular is at a premium.  You can go out of city (3.5 hour drive) and get $500 less but I did the math and unless you were going there anyway, it's not really worth it.

I've talked to some other owners who got much more competitive deals in different cities.

Can't Wait

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2015, 06:14:52 AM »
I'd go with the third option, the Fit Sport for $8700. I've never owned a Fit but I have owned several Hondas in my life so far and 86,000 miles is nothing. That car has new tires and brakes and those engines have timing chains nowadays that last the life of the car. Every Honda I have owned has made it past 200k miles and were still running when I sold them.

MBot

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2015, 12:37:40 PM »
Second or third options.
(Just sold our '08 Fit Sport).  The cruise control is essential if you drive long distances for work. But also the better-cared-for bodies and interior will be better years down the road.

The last looks like the best deal.

surfhb

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2015, 01:00:46 PM »
Everyone of those vehicles are exactly the same.    Mileage at those levels with modern vehicles make little difference.    She probably did no maintenance to the car and that's ok since they really don't need much with those small numbers on the odometer.   Ask if the oil was changed though :)

If your dad seems to think it checks out then I'd go for option 1.    Clean the hell out of it and fix the minor dents if it makes you feel good about it

Be a cheapskate and low ball the guy and go from there
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 01:05:05 PM by surfhb »

Bearded Man

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2015, 01:26:11 PM »
You said dependability was important and that you drive a lot. It makes sense that this is the criteria for "success" or the "right decision" in this case. The fact that you have money to pay cash for any of the three options makes this even better. I would pick option 2, because it has the lowest miles and will last you the longest and most likely be the most dependable.

The other cars are getting to the 100K mark where they will start having some form of issues.

%%%

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2015, 12:10:40 PM »
Thanks for all the advice. I was stood up by the guy with the 09 Fit with 86k miles. I ended up getting the 2010 from the dealer. I got it for almost $2k below KBB, for whatever that is worth. The car is in great condition, and the lifetime warranty ended up being legit. I feel good about it. I'll miss my truck, but I won't miss the 16 mpg.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2015, 12:18:23 PM »
If Honda Fits are so popular, should I sell ours (2010 at 36k miles) and get a less popular car, since we barely drive? Not sure what would be better, though.

neo von retorch

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2015, 02:28:17 PM »
Yes? Sell it to me :)

Kevin S.

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2015, 02:51:45 PM »
Yes? Sell it to me :)

I'm selling my 15 Honda fit...6 speed manual 10k miles, CPO Honda - 7yr/70k powertrain warranty,  asking 15,500

http://denver.craigslist.org/cto/5064475633.html

neo von retorch

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2015, 08:57:40 PM »
Oh, white. Too bad :)

Quote
I have literally fit a king size bed frame and headboard all inside
I went to Ikea and put a king-sized bed (pre-assembly) AND foam mattress (rolled) in my '07 Fit. All windows and doors shut. Still, $15.5k for a like new '15 Fit 6-speed is a great deal for you Denver people!

Kevin S.

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Re: Need Car Buying Advice (Honda fit)
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2015, 09:17:12 AM »
Oh, white. Too bad :)

Quote
I have literally fit a king size bed frame and headboard all inside
I went to Ikea and put a king-sized bed (pre-assembly) AND foam mattress (rolled) in my '07 Fit. All windows and doors shut. Still, $15.5k for a like new '15 Fit 6-speed is a great deal for you Denver people!

Yeah it really is amazing the amount of crap you can put in this small (outside - big inside) car!

She is a great car - Thanks for bump! Hopefully she sells quick! I'm going to try and never have a car or motorcycle payment ever again!