Back in the 1980’s, all the kids started to get ribbons, even if they came in last. The Positive Reinforcement concept has since spread to the auto industry, making it possible to load your base model econobox with heated seats, voice-controlled radios, other luxury-grade features. Engines have become more advanced too, producing more power than engines twice their size. So let’s look at two popular Positive Reinforcement-mobiles; Ford Fiesta vs Honda Fit, which one is better?.
2012 Ford Fiesta
Before gas prices went through the roof, subcompacts were only driven by math teachers, and Canadians on vacation in Florida. But since tiny cars are now socially acceptable, Ford decided to give us the internationally popular Fiesta. Introduced in 2008, the Ford Fiesta had already sold 1 Million copies before it reached our shores last year. And now it’s poised to show Americans what a proper Euro-city car is like.
To start, the 2012 Ford Fiesta has a brilliantly direct driving manner, sort of like a go-cart. Point the tiller in a given direction, and the car obeys without a hint of drama. The 120-hp direct-injected 1.6 liter 4-pot is a perfect match for this car, providing enough low-end grunt to maneuver through traffic. However, it does lack any real top-end grunt, which makes freeway merges a perfect time to get reacquainted with your God. The trade-off here is, a stronger faith, and 33 combined MPG.
The 2012 Ford Fiesta is designed to be an urban transport device, not a 180-mph supercar. So horsepower really isn’t important. What is important is features, and to that end, the 2012 Ford Fiesta delivers. You get a modern-chic interior with expensive feeling materials (read: Soft Touch-Points), impressive build quality, and a massive list of available features. Some of the highlights include; keyless ignition, Ford Sync voice command system w/ navigation, ambient lighting, heated seats, leather, giant vinyl body graphics, and a 6-speed DSG transmission.
The 2012 Ford Fiesta can be had with 3-doors, 5-doors, or a 4-door sedan. The first two are quite practical, even though rear legroom is a bit tight. The 2012 Ford Fiesta sedan however, looks like a cow in a girdle, and the trunk room isn’t all that impressive either.
2012 Honda Fit
Where the 2012 Ford Fiesta is going for luxury and comfort, the 2012 Honda Fit is going for practicality and versatility. It’s a Swiss Army Knife on wheels, a moving van, and a generic Mini Cooper, all rolled into one tiny car. If you want a car that can do almost anything, the 2012 Honda Fit is it.
Powering the 2012 Honda Fit is a tiny 1.5 liter 4-banger that spits out 117-hp. That’s just enough power to make this little city car quite entertaining to drive, especially when you add the optional Sport pack, with its rear anti roll bar. However, the automatic transmission does subtract some of the fun, and a lot of the acceleration.
In terms of function, the 2012 Honda Fit really does put you in mind of that red-handled Swiss Army Knife. There’s enough rear legroom to accommodate 2 real-sized people (3 in a pinch), and the seatbacks recline, making it easy to find a comfortable perch on a long trip.
The 2012 Ford Fiesta is less commodious in the rear, and it’s also got considerably less cargo room: 26 cubic-feet with all the seats folded, vs. 20 cubic-feet behind the rear seats of the 2012 Honda Fit. Fold the Honda’s rear seats flat into the floor (not possible in the Fiesta), and the cargo-hold swells to a massive 57 cubic-feet (which is comparable to some crossovers).
But if you don’t need to haul an entire living room suite, you can fold up the rear seat bottoms, to reveal a flat load floor behind the front seats. And, you can even stow your valuables in two cleverly concealed storage compartments, inside the rear seat bottoms.
Granted, the interior of the 2012 Honda Fit isn’t as nicely done as the Fiesta’s cabin. And the exterior styling isn’t as sharp either. But there’s a lot more to love about the 2012 Honda Fit, making it an ideal choice for Positive-Reinforcement-mobile. The hatchback versions are both in the top 10 least expensive hatchback cars.