The Fit seems to be the current Wagovan, I assumed it was made for space, not mileage, and I would much rather see more people driving something like the Fit then driving a minivan, and it should more then fill the needs of 99% of the people who are out there with mini vans, and that seems like a step in a good drirection.
the Insight is running with a 80hp gas engine, and 13.4hp electric motor, that seems like plenty to power the Fit that has a 108(?)HP engine, but of course electric motors have more tourqe, so more usable power with the hybrid drive train.
what are the specs on the Fit's new v-tec engine? I know it's a 1.5L, but what are the specs on the v-tec? is it interchangable with other v-tec's?
the problem is people are concerned with looks too much, it has been said the more areodynamic the uglier.
Blame what the public wants all looks and crap areodyanmics (big fat wing in the back anyone?)
Seriously though, honda better not **** this up. I'm serious or I'll never get into hybrids unless they are dirt cheap to the bone.
Yet even the modifications to aerodynamics that wouldn't affect appearance, like bellypans and grill blocks, are repeatedly ignored.
Ugly is also relative. Those land yachts of the 1950s with some subtle modifications could be more aerodynamic than a Honda Insight, without dramatically compromising appearance. Subtle changes in the rear end of the car which are barely noticable to the casual observer can dramatically alter the turbulence generated at speed.
Check out the Alfa Romeo BAT7 for a little design cues on that. It went all out on drag reduction and got a .19 drag coefficient, but with a few subtle changes, even American land yachts could probably get in the .25 Cd region without wheel skirts or anything weird like that. This Alfa Romeo had tailfins and all other stereotypical 50s design cues, but it kept these cues streamlined.
Even a piece of American muscle, the Dodge Charger Daytona/Plymouth Superbird achieved a .29 drag coefficient! This is better than the majority of the cars on the road today. And even this car lacked a smooth underbelly. This car, at least among American tastes, is arguably better looking than most designs on the market today. It is a 60s/70s musclecar after all, far removed from the uniform 80s Ford Taurus ripoff shapes of today...
Subtle changes in shape that have no affect on appearance can dramatically alter drag coefficient. Compare the 1st and 2nd generation VW Rabbits released in the U.S. 1st generation Rabbit had a .43 Cd, 2nd gen a .35! Both are nearly indistinguishable from each other to the casual observer.
I'm rather disappointed in the Honda Fit. If there were a serious attempt for a fuel efficient car capable of seating 4-5 adults, we'd be looking at a coefficient of drag around .18-.20. A car like that with the Fit's drivetrain/powertrain would be well into the 60 mpg territory, before adding a hybrid drive. A hybrid drive would up it to the 70-75 mpg territory.
Further, hybrids could use more oomph without sacrificing fuel economy. People have turbocharged Honda Insights without losing any fuel economy, but have seen large increases in power available. It is not uncommon for a turbocharged Honda Insight to do 0-60 mph in 7 seconds, while maintaining 65 mpg if driven like normal! That's a far cry from its stock 12 second 0-60 time. 0-60 mph in 7 seconds isn't that far from a Porsche Boxter.
Car companies aren't giving the public what they want, they're manipulating what the public wants. If the public wants something the automakers don't want to sell, they punish the public. We got that in the 70s when we demanded fuel economy: they kept giving us unaerodynamic bricks, only downsized and with less power while offering only marginal gains in efficiency. They could have kept working with large cars and streamlined them instead while getting far better fuel economy than by simply shrinking their dimensions. The Japanese finally came in with fuel efficient midsize cars with better performance and aerodynamics than American econocrap. Lo and behold, the public flocked to them like flies on ****.
The same cycle is repeating today with hybrids. "The public doesn't want them!" is something American automakers have been caught saying today, even though there are 2-3 month waiting periods on the damn things! I'm rather certain that the public would similarly flock to hyper mileage aero cars and pure battery electric cars if they were offered.
So here we are, with the Japanese deciding to cash in on this opportunity by offering marginal improvements over what America is willing to put forth.
We should have a 60+ mpg Fit with equivalent or better performance and equivalent or larger overall size, not some piece of crap econobox that barely manages 40 mpg highway.