Goodbye, 2007 Honda Fit Sport: Thrift, Logic, and Simplicity


A few days ago, I sold my 2007 Honda Fit Sport, named Theodoraemon by Sharlene. I tend to get kind of attached to cars and think way too much about them, and so here’s a blog post about that dependable little blue Honda.

Austin, NV, on U.S. Highway 50

My first car was a 2003 Mazda Protege5 (named “Octobirb”). I loved how that car made me feel, the go-kart handling, the white gauges and red backlighting, the 90s sport compact car sensation. Lots of glass and just the right amount of car. Complete with a moonroof and a factory subwoofer in the spare tire, it was everything I could have wanted. I learned to drive stick in that car, trekked across the country, saw beautiful places and drove incredible roads from the Smokies to Big Sur and everywhere in between.

But Octobirb was always needing something. It burned lots of oil. A bad radiator cap caused the coolant to boil over and spill out onto the ground on my drive up Pikes Peak. It would often grind going into second gear. Sometimes, it seemed like the car had a bit of a vindictive personality and just didn’t want to go places. I finished some major engine work the day I needed to drive across LA to start an internship, and then that evening as I was preparing to go, one of the taillights burned out and the upper radiator hose connection cracked and leaked. I was happy to be scrappy and resourceful, feeling like I could make anything work, carrying my tools and spare parts around with me and popping the hood to check fluid levels before every drive, but it was also a burden that became increasingly untenable as I settled into my first full-time job. My weekends and weekday nights became more precious, and I was tired of fixing my car.

Enter this Honda: The perfect car when I needed a reliable vehicle but didn’t have much to spend, the transitional car for my entry into a more stable adult life. It was such a weight off my shoulders, being able to just get in the car and drive somewhere without thinking about how long it’d been since I last checked the oil dipstick. Theodoraemon never let me down and never needed anything out of the ordinary. It just worked.

The night before I was set to meet with the seller of the Honda, a beautiful NA Miata popped up on Craigslist. It was in Montego Blue Mica (one of the most gorgeous car paint colors ever, in my opinion) with a tan interior and top, posted with a detailed, descriptive listing and an amazing price. I knew it would sell fast, and I stared at it for an hour, agonizing over whether I should respond and reschedule seeing the Honda. I’d always dreamt of owning a Miata like this one, with the beautiful blue-green paint and the pop-up headlights, and taking it out on gorgeous summer evening cruises soaking in the canyons and forests.

Not this car specifically, but it looked just like this one.

But in the end, logical brain won out, and I decided that the Miata would probably not make me as happy as I imagined. I would get more satisfaction and use from something that could fit friends, or haul my bikes, or go shopping at IKEA. I could only have one car, and the Miata would always limit what I could do. I wouldn’t even take the Miata out for weekend joyrides, because I would have hated burning the gasoline and putting the unnecessary carbon into the atmosphere. I still stand by that decision, but I think it was something of a turning point, and sometimes I wonder what could have been. Buying the Honda was very much a logical, left brain kind of choice. I looked at my needs, saw that I required a car that was practical, frugal, and reliable, and the Honda fit best.

I loved the philosophy of the Fit, the ethos of it. This is the least amount of car that will do the most you’ll ever really need. I loved how small it was on the outside and how big on the inside. How cleverly packaged it was, how incredibly space-efficient. How lightweight, at under 2,500 lbs; how small and simple and frugal the single-cam 1.5 L four-cylinder engine, how I inflated the tires with a bike pump. When I smacked the passenger side mirror into the garage door frame one day, a junkyard replacement was cheap and easy to find. It was simple and no-frills — it didn’t even have map lights, just a single dome light. The Honda was straightforward, frugal, humble, and versatile, values that I really aspired to (and still generally hold highly). Pure, simple, and good.

And when the pandemic hit and the world seemed to shift off balance a little, the Honda was an ideal car to depend on, one thing I never needed to think or worry about. It made countless grocery runs for our house, trips we timed at odd hours to minimize the number of people we encountered. In it, I experienced beautiful and vast loneliness on Highway 50 in Nevada during a July road trip. We did multiple trips up and down I-5 to visit and stay with my family in LA. And finally, a couple of weeks ago, it took my housemates and I out to Tulare in the Central Valley to get our first doses of the vaccine.

But I guess in the end, for all its virtues, I was never in love with the car. Maybe I liked more more the idea of it than I did the real thing in my life. It was amazing at most things, but unlike the Mazda, it didn’t quite handle like it was on rails or feel like an extension of myself. I never fit in it quite right – the pedals were too close and the wheel too far away. It needed to be flogged to leave stoplights quickly, but I found I didn’t like flogging it very much. And on the highway, it always felt a little like a paper boat at sea, a little too light and choppy and noisy to really feel at ease or make long drives pleasant. And since I’ve now (unfortunately) had to start commuting by car and am spending so much time behind the wheel, it seemed like the right time to move on to the next car.

This Honda was likely the last manual transmission car I will own, and hopefully the last purely internal combustion car. I will miss it a lot, and I’m sure the new owner will get many miles and years of service out of it. It was certainly very good to me.