Traditionally, Americans prefer larger vehicles, particularly when their designs promise to carry more people, hold more cargo, or offer a little additional flexibility. That said, the Honda Fit Shuttle -- a larger take on the company's B-segment subcompact that's now on sale in Japan -- isn't likely to make it across the pond.
We had some early information on the Fit Shuttle back in January, but since cars are now rolling into showrooms in Japan, Honda's trotting out a little additional information. For starters, the Fit-based wagon is offered in two different forms. The standard Shuttle continues to use Honda's 1.5-liter I-4, much like a standard Fit. However, the Fit Shuttle Hybrid borrows its powertrain from the Fit Hybrid, which is powered by a 1.3-liter I-4 mated with a small electric motor in a parallel configuration. Despite being slightly longer and heavier than standard Fit and Fit Hybrids, Honda pledges both will return roughly identical fuel consumption figures as their short-wheelbase counterparts.
The Fit's unique chassis packaging (i.e. a centralized fuel tank) has long allowed for a low, flat load floor; both Shuttle models offer the same feature, albeit with a few other unique twists. Honda's so-called Magic (rear) Seat apparently remains in use, while a two-piece load floor is double-hinged, allowing both access to an under-floor storage bin and functioning as a rigid divider for the cargo area itself. We're perhaps most interested in Honda's pledge that, thanks to the use of extra sound-dampening materials within the body, the Shuttle is as quiet as an Accord -- especially since our Four Seasons Fit Sport exhibited a fair amount of wind noise.
Although the Fit Shuttle has been on sale for little more than a day, it apparently is already a hit with the Japanese buying public. Reuters says Honda dealers in Japan have raked in over 7000 orders for the Fit Shuttle and Fit Shuttle Hybrid within their first day of availability. When converted from Japanese yen, pricing for the Fit Shuttle currently starts at about $19,889, while the Fit Shuttle Hybrid retails at $22,359.
Presently, Honda has no plans on bringing the Fit Shuttle (or any Fit Hybrid) here to the United States, but we can't help but think the five-passenger runabout could serve as a nice competitor to the five-passenger Toyota Prius V, which is due to launch in our market within the next few months. Should Honda join the wagon bandwagon and reconsider porting this car to our market? Make your case in the comments field below.
With Ford’s announcement that its new C-Max line will be sold only in hybrid and plug-in hybrid form, as well as the recent introduction of the Prius V tall-wagon, it looks like the high-efficiency people-mover market is heating up. Do you think Honda should hop on the bandwagon and sell the plus-size Fit in the U.S. market?
Source: Honda, Reuters