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Hey all,

my girlfriend blew up the engine (1.8 TDI) on her Jetta Wagon that was brand new in 2006 and 255,ooo miles ago. .....(which actually sucks because we just spent a little money putting a new blower on it...) Done throwing money at the volkswagon. Anyhow, we are looking at the class of econo-boxes which I cannot name (hatchbacks, econo sedans mixed wiht mini van DNA... needs a hatchback for her beagle-doggie) ....including the Toyota Yaris; Nissan Versa; Honda Fit; Hyandai Accent, and Scion Somethingorother.

Anyhow, drove five cars last night, the Honda seemed best; but in reading about prices, it is indicated they hardly move on the sticker price. Many "buyer-helping-internet-sights" suggest MSRP plus a few hundred bucks as a reasonable price.

I was wondering two things: Has anyone got experience with the Fit?

and, I have not purchased a dealer-NEW car in over a decade or two. I recall getting a book from AAA back in about 1990 which gave information on working with dealers at that time (pre-internet).... I think I was purchasing a mitsubishi mirage or a montero then.

The dealer "prep charge" or whatever the individual establishments call that figure, seems to hover around $300 to $400. Some sights I looked at last night indicate this is "fair" if the car is in demand...apparently the FIT is in demand due to fuel economy and apparent low factory numbers. I wonder if the tsunami is at fault...and if so....should I be worried about taking a geiger counter before closing a deal?

Thanks for any suggestions!
 

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We bought our ’10 TFW (Taffeta White) Fit Sport in either late Sept 2010, or early/mid October 2010 while Honda was having their ~ 0% interest financing push for the year. I’ll have to pull out our paperwork to see what we were actually able to get it for. We chose a M/T Sport w/out Nav. I added on a Lojack type of security system at the same time, and I believe it was applied to my invoiced amount. We *may* have been able to get the MSRP down. We managed to slip out of the dealer prep charge, as our car of choice happened to have arrived that same day, and was still sitting on the carrier. Our price, offhand, was ~ $19k, but again, I will need to take a look later and get back to you.

Also, bear in mind you will probably want to add in (or see if you can negotiate them in) the floor mats, as the Fit definitely won’t come equipped unless the dealer has included them, or you ask otherwise. I’d recommend sourcing them from an online vendor, or via a member’s private sale on FitFreaks.net. If you prefer something that is “catch-all,” I recommend the Weathertech Digital Fit front & rear mats.


Ramble;

When I'd originally considered getting a Fit, I was looking into the 1st gen ones, used. I read reviews, and did some homework. They were holding their values pretty well, so I was figuring, for the difference in price, and improvements in build, I would start researching on getting a 2nd gen instead. At the time, there was very little difference in cost between private party used GE Fits, and dealer new. I wasn’t looking to have a car payment, but I didn’t want to dump a ton of cash and use an unsecured loan for the rest on a private party sale Fit. The day we bought our Fit, we’d actually gone in to test drive the CR-Z for giggles, and poke around in a newer Fit just to see what they were like.

I’ve been completely happy with our purchase, and have had no gripes other than the Fit nearly being totaled by a careless driver less than a year into owning it. My best MPG, consistently, is ~ 34-35 mpg. I’m no slouch, and my daily commuting is primary on backroads ~ 40-55 mph, with an assortment of stops, and some sections of brief congestion. I’ve reached ~ 36.6 for brief amounts of time, and we’ve been able to hit 37+ on long highway cruises.
 

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The Honda Fit is the best among all of those cars you have listed but it is the most expensive as well. They do hold their value better than the other ones.

I rented a yaris 4 door auto for a week and liked it except the center console (I had to get used to it) . It was very quiet. No wind noise at all. It drove smooth. It looked big from the inside. I averaged 36mph and near 40mpg on the freeway. That car made me look into buying one of its class.

I myself have been wanting to buy a Fit and use the spyder only for the weekends. I have been searching for either a yaris, a Fit or a scion XB for awhile now and deals do come up every now and then on Craigslist!

Note: I don't like the appearance of any and they are boring to drive but they serve the purpose to take me from point A to B.

Good luck
Rasheed
 

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I took a look at a Fit (for my Mother) last year. Not a bad little car. Liked the auto-gearbox uphill/downshift/assist feature... if you start going uphill, it senses it, and won't shift to a higher gear (and kick you out of the powerband).

Buying any car on the lot - a couple of tips that will save you money.

1) Dealers wear you down over time. Then you'll be so exhausted, you'll agree to rustproofing insurance. Don't give them the time to wear you out. Let the salesperson know that you've got 2 hours tops. Let them know that after 2 hours, if they haven't got paperwork in front of you, you're walking out. Keep true to this.

2) Don't become emotionally attached. Every single car on the lot will be the only one like it - last in this color, last with the sports package, last with the 18 inch wheels/upgraded car audio. It's a sales tactic, and it's BULL.

Buying a car is like getting a bank loan. You're ready when you don't NEED it.

3) Trade in value - another TRICK of the trade - offer $6,000 trade in for your 1996 Cavalier. Then when you're 6 hours into negotiations, tired, and emotionally invested in the last silver Fit with the 18 inch wheels... "Oops! There's been a mistake, I can only offer you $3,000 for your Cavalier"

You just spent $4,000 on 18 inch rims and a factory stereo... there's the real oops. Sell the Jetta privately if you can.

4) Get comps. Know what the market value of the Fit you want is... and research pricing for the other models that are close to what you want.

5) Know your credit score before you go in. The EAT PEOPLE UP on this. They'll test the water to see if you know what your credit is with an innocuous statement. If you don't know, suddenly the won't be able to offer the 1% OAC... you'll get a 5, 7, 9. A buddy of mine got bent over, he's paying for a Kia Forte, and is in double digits for thee interest.
 

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First off, I wouldn't buy new. Go to a dealer and find a nice low mileage used car perhaps even certified. I've done that probably 5 times over the last couple of years and never got a bad one. Somebody else takes the depreciation hit.

I've found that most dealers now days are straight. They know that most buyers use the internet. The only time that I've had a dealer dick with me was when they thought I was buying the car for my daughter and figured that I would do anything to make her happy. They were surprised when she stood up and said "We're done" and started heading for the door. They called the next day and made the deal that she wanted. She bought a Yaris that now has 30k without a single problem. 35 mpg commuting. Surprisingly nice car. We looked at Fits, but liked the Toyota better.

I'd urge you to look at Kias and Hyundais. They are pretty nice cars, just as reliable as Toyota and Honda, and cheaper. They depreciate rapidly at first then level off. I have a pal that has 275k on his Sorrento with no major problems.
 

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With the fit not being built in north america and the strong yen I think honda's margins are pretty tight on these. My local honda dealership rarely has any on their lot, I do think they are the best in segment. Test drove the new yaris and did not like it at all, a coworker has the versa, let me try it out and I did not like at all, the scion XD was pretty good.
 

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Here is car buying in the 21st century... DO NOT GO TO THE DEALERSHIP! Once you sit down in their office, they are negotiating from a position of strength--every car I have ever bought new from a dealer, I got up and left and got a call agreeing to my terms within 24 hours.

So, here is how you do it. You send emails to 5 or 6 dealers and say simply that you are buying _____ model in the next 48 hours and that price is the major factor in your buying decision. Be up front that you are contacting other dealers, but that this will be a quick easy sale if they are willing to take a short margin. What price are you willing to sell for?

I bet you will be surprised by some of the offers you get.
 

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Drive a fiat 500 sport or I dare say abrath before you move forward
Those cars are awful. Absolutely terrible. Not utilitarian, not fun to drive, even the fuel economy was lacking on the "Sport" that I drove for a few days.

I sincerely hope the Abarth is an improvement.
 

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Have you looked at the Ford Fiesta or Focus? These cars get good reviews and you could probably negotiate a better deal on these. Also the new Chevy Sonic can be had with a 1.4 turbo and manual transmission that tops 40 mpg.
 

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You could save yourself the time and effort by simply emailing as many dealers as possible with exactly what you are looking for and what you are willing to pay for the car. Also go directly through a sales manager and not a salesman. Why look into the horses ass if you are trying to see how many teeth it has.

Get your own financing in advance so that you are purely negotiating price and not what they can hide in the deal by screwing you on your interest rate or trade in value.
 

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The financing advice can be a good but I have found that on the one time that I financed (actually co-signed daughter's loan), the dealer's rate was only 0.25% higher than the bank and a lot easier to do.

But the point to remember is that after the salesman and the sales manager are through with you, the business or finance manager gets to beat you up. There is opportunity there. That is the dealer's last opportunity to lose the sale. Play it for all it's worth. The finance guy does not want to be responsible for losing a sale and the sales guy's commission.

I concur on Fiesta and Focus. Both are really nice but not as reliable as the Japanese.
 

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Why look into the horses ass if you are trying to see how many teeth it has.
You can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking your head up a bull's ass, but wouldn't you rather take the butcher's word for it?
 

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Have you looked at the Ford Fiesta or Focus? These cars get good reviews and you could probably negotiate a better deal on these. Also the new Chevy Sonic can be had with a 1.4 turbo and manual transmission that tops 40 mpg.
Thank you. I was going to say this but you beat me to it. Personally I can't stand the way that any of these econoboxes look. At the San Jose Car Show a few months back, I sat in them for shits and giggles. The Fiesta and the Focus were superior in finish and comfort to any of the aforementioned cars. I believe that Ford as of late has had better build quality than Honda or Toyota.
 

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I was looking at the Honda Fit or Ford Fiesta (then decided I wanted to get a convertible) before I purchased my MR2. I got a loan first while looking for a nice MR2. I ended up going to a dealer, called in advance to test drive and look it over. The dealer still had the car in the show room when my appointment came up. After I decided the car was good I made an offer. He looked at me and pointed to the price, I made my offer again and went outside for a smoke ready to leave. They accepted then I agreed. Stepped into the dealership at 10:30 drove away for lunch by 12:30. I did the same for my wifes Elantra except we walked out over the trade in value with the salesman running after us. I can buy the car I want from anyone I want if they accept my offer. Years ago I spent 5 hours hagling over the price after first making an offer they had accepted, well sort of - never again - I don't like wasting my time like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for the input, all. (T-bone, an Ex GF of mine just purchased a Fiat...so I had to take that off the table.... otherwise it would have been suspect, if you know what I mean :) )

We had to go to dealers initially in order to allow my girlfriend to drive everything in the class, but I have been taking the internet/ email advice. I even joined a site: "carwoo" and have had multiple dealers competing with eachother over the past 24 hours.

Going to a showroom just makes me think of that movie FARGO, and vehicle undercoating (rust proofing!) I look forward to it like a case of food poisoning.

I have been surprised in the variation on some of the dealor offers. I am directing all the emails to my GF to sort through (her cer, afterall) ...but some have come in nearly 1K below others. Even had one in Denver indicate they could offer the "base" price on a "sport" unit (bells and whistles)

I will post the end results, hopefully, within about a week.

Again, thanks for all the input, I was surprised how many S.C. members had experience with this car!

Scott in Colorado
 

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I hardly think awful. Not for a sub 20K buy (far less than a fit). I enjoyed my drive. what were you trying to accomplish? Handling was pretty good body roll was not horrible and shifting and braking were good. It is not fast to be sure but it is a pretty neat car IMO. The Abrath at 160hp should be a hoot!
I didn't get a stick shift, so the autotragic has to factor in there. It simply had one of the worst shift computers I've ever encountered. I kept it in the manumatic mode most of the time I had it.

The steering was twitchy and quick, but totally disconnected. You're spot on with the body roll- it was "sporty." Brakes were fine, but I never really exercised them.

The power was unacceptable. Inability to accelerate to pass on the highway without downshifting two gears was shocking. Inability to beat my grandmother off the stoplight was depressing.

The things that really got me were the fact I couldn't fold the back seats down with the drivers seat as far back as I needed it to drive comfortably (and I'm only 6' tall.) That alone eliminates any practicality the car once held for me. Add to that the fact I averaged 24 mpg, and I certainly wasn't thrashing it, and the car goes on the list of the cars I would never recommend.

The Abarth probably fixes a few gripes, though.
 
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