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Road Trip Photo Journal & Review

  #1  
Old 07-28-2014, 12:38 PM
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Road Trip Photo Journal & Review

Destination: Rehobeth Beach, 3 hours/150 miles one way, 3 nights
Cargo: Wife, baby, two tiny dogs and a bunch of beach stuff




I purchased my first new car, a blue 2015 Fit EX-L on July 14th. Nine days later, it was time for our annual beach vacation, and naturally I wanted to drive my new toy. My wife and I had always taken our larger Nissan Murano (mid-size SUV) to Rehobeth Beach. Now that we had a newborn baby in addition to our two small dogs, we had even more stuff to take, so my wife was not sure if everything would fit. It did. With plenty of room to spare, nothing was stacked up high enough to block the rear view mirror at all, although as I discuss in the LaneWatch section, I don't even need my rear view mirror, so I could have stacked stuff all the way to the ceiling.

Cargo

With a baby seat behind the passenger seat, I was only able to lay down the one wider back seat. First I packed in the large items: a beach chair, beach umbrella, canopy, travel crib, stroller and dog crate.







I wedged our smaller items on top of the large beach stuff, and between the dog crate and baby seat.





My wife is 5' 3" and our Britax B-Safe baby seat only barely fits behind the passenger seat when her seat is comfortably positioned. If the passenger was any taller the baby seat might have to go behind the driver, but that would be inconvenient for putting a baby in the car because the rear driver door is the only door that can not be unlocked with Smart Entry, discussed later.



Dogs

The dog crate was anchored to a cargo loop on the floor to prevent things from sliding around in case of sudden acceleration.



My 10 lbs dogs enjoyed easy egress from their position on top of the folded seat, but both had trouble hopping up.

Stella, the most timid dog in the world, hops down no problem.


Yoshi was only able to make the jump into the car one time during this four day beach trip. And it took a lot of encouragement because on every other attempt he would fall backwards as he hopelessly clawed at the slick metal with his hind legs. Maybe he will get the hang of it by using the rubber gusset for grip. The dogs are still getting used to the new car, I can tell because Yoshi whined for the first hour. I could not coax Stella to even attempt jumping in the car.



Air Conditioner and Stereo

We left around 2pm on a 90 degree afternoon after the car had been in the sun for hours. Direct sunlight poured through the wide windshield onto the broad black dashboard, wafting oppressive heat. To counteract the intense greenhouse effect and cool the rear occupants (there are no vents in back), we had to blast the AC for 30 to 40 minutes before we could back off the fan to the second highest setting. After the beach trip, I realized that turning off ECON mode makes the AC colder, but I left it on the whole trip to boost mileage. I was not able to adjust the center vents to push cool air towards the back without also making my right shoulder chilly. My wife also pointed her right side vent towards her window to slip cold air along the side of the car back towards the baby.

Now that the blower fan was on 3 instead of maxed at 4, it was quiet enough to enjoy music, but the touchscreen did not allow my wife to pair her iPhone 5s as a Bluetooth music source while the vehicle was in motion. So we plugged her iPhone into the USB port instead. My Android phone was already (trickle) charging using the USB port under the touchscreen, so I was pleasently suprised to find that the USB port hidden in the center console can also play music. Immediately it was noticable how much better her iPhone music sounded playing over USB than my Android playing over Bluetooth. It sounded crisper. The iPhone music integration is really nice, you can see your songs and playlist on the touchscreen and control everything from both the touchscreen and the iPhone. Except, sadly, you can not use the iPhone to change the volume.

Notice the cutout to allow a thick cable to exit the center console. (The plastic shroud guards the iPhone cable from cat teeth)


The annoyance of not having a volume knob is amplified on road trips. When starting out from a parking lot, it is impossible to spin the wheel and also crank the music down at the same time. In any other car I would just take my right hand off the wheel and feel blindly for the volume knob then twist, but I can no longer take this basic ability for granted. Every time my wife fumbled with the volume slider, I was reminded of its poor design, and more of a concern, one time she blocked my visibility of my right blind spot LaneWatch camera while I was changing lanes, resulting in me shouting at her to move her hand.

Her hand was even higher up than in this picture because she was using the + button, and completely blocked my view of LaneWatch.



LaneWatch

The LaneWatch camera is my favorite feature. I leave it turned on whenever I'm on a multilane road. Its expansive view proved more useful than the passenger side mirror and rear view mirror combined. The LaneWatch field of view is much wider than the side mirror, completely eliminating even a hint of a blindspot, and from its outstretched position the camera can peer around the rear of my car to reveal vehicles hidden from mirrors.

LaneWatch can see the car AROUND cars behind me!


Even though the road is curving away from the LaneWatch camera!


This truck is dominating my rear view mirror.




LaneWatch reveals a car hidden by the truck. This seems insignificant, but its not. It gives me greater road awareness.



I bet I could stack cargo all the way to the ceiling, blocking the rear view mirror, and rely solely on the LaneWatch camera for rear awareness. So, in a way, the LaneWatch camera increases the amount of cargo you can safely carry.

I never turn my head anymore to check the right blind spot because the I feel safer relying on the crisp and wide LaneWatch video feed. Here are two short videos, 7 seconds and 10 seconds, that show how useful LaneWatch is for changing lanes.

Merging onto the highway into busy traffic at highspeed? No problem.

Another example of changing lanes.

I am so used to never turning my head to the right, thanks to LaneWatch, that it is even more annoying to have to turn my head to the left to check my other blind spot. It feels like going back in time. I have 21st century technology covering my right blind spot, and 0th century technology on my left.

The left A-pillar can make it hard to see forward-left. This is mainly an issue when creeping through a shopping center where pedestrians are crossing from the curb to the parking lot. At anytime, a pedestrian might decide to step out in front of you, but they are stepping behind the A-pillar, hidden until they appear in front of your car, ready to be run over. I find myself bobbing my head like a cobra to see around the A-pillar. It's not a big deal, if you don't mind looking like a snake, I just thought I would mention it.



Backup Camera

The dynamic guidelines on the backup camera make reversing into a parking spot easy. They are not at all a gimmick, they save time and improve safety. This is another reason to get the EX (the backup guidelines on the LX do not curve as you turn the wheel to help you aim, they just stay straight). The dynamic lines also allow you to parallel park right against a curb.



After a rain storm, water droplets impaired backup camera visibility, but it was hardly an issue, I still parked fine.



Smart Entry

The proximity based Smart Entry which allows you to keep your keys stowed was a delightful convenience. I highly recommend all Fit buyers upgrade to the EX model if they have a baby seat or carry items into their car on a regular basis. Smart Entry is also great for escaping from the rain. Smart Entry is not a gimmick, it saves you time everyday, and could be a safety benefit while loading in babies.

My keys are in my right pocket, but I don't need to precariously juggle loose soda cans over pavement because all the doors unlock when I touch the inside of the passenger door handle.



I wish I could unlock all the doors from the driver side too, but you can't. To access the driver side back door, I have to unecessarily open the driver door first to press the unlock button near the power window buttons, much more difficult compared to accessing the passenger side rear door which I can open after merely brushing the inside of the passenger door handle with a finger, which unlocks all doors (as does opening the rear hatch). Because of this reason, I prefer to approach the passenger side first to unlock all doors, which seems counter-productive considering my destination is the driver's seat.

Locking the car is even easier, because I could just push the black button on either side of the car even if my hands were full, but if my wife had a door open, like when she was still getting the baby, the car would refuse to lock. I don't like that restriction. There is also a button on the tailgate that locks all doors, so all the doors can be locked from three sides of the vehicle, by a passenger even, as long as the driver is standing near any door. Like I said earlier, the only way to unlock all doors with Smart Entry is from the passenger door, or tailgate.



A few times, we failed to close the tailgate on the first try. The tailgate has a lightweight feel which resists momentum when throwing it down. You can't just flick down the hatch and let it fall closed, it won't. You have to follow it all the way down with your hand and give it a good shove at the end to be sure that it is closed. If it does not completely close, you can not lock any door, which seems dumb. In most cars, a door can still be locked even if it is not fully closed so I don't understand this restriction.

The doors open wider than any car I have owned, almost 90 degrees, providing luxurious elbow room when reaching for large items, like a baby seat. The Fit is luxurious in a practical, not snooty, way.



Low Clearance

Arriving at the motel, I pulled too far forward in a parking spot and felt the car rub against something. The flexible front skirt was deformed around the concrete bar. Besides improving aerodynamics, it seems like the front skirt also helps warn the driver they are about to bottom out.




After backing up, the skirt did not seem damaged, except for some scuffing which I was not concerned about it because nobody can see it anyway without getting down on all fours.



Cup Holders

I love the cup holder to the left of the driver seat even though I never even use it as a cup holder. It is like a storage console exclusive to the driver, that my stuff can retreat to when my wife takes over the center console with her purse, sunglasses and phone.

I want to install more USB ports in the empty switch plates under the driver's side cup holder, which is a great place for a phone, and nearby the preffered location of a dashmounted GPS, both of which need USB power. My wife and I together have five mobile devices and the car only has two USB ports and two 12V outlets. Both USB ports charge an iPhone 5s just fine, but only trickle charged my Android devices, but they were both taxed with powering their GPS antennae.



The driver side cup holder is also a safety benefit because I could stow my sunglasses without looking down, something I did not want to do during a heavy rain.



Speaking of rain, I liked how the unusually large driver side wiper pushes that "rain seam" between the wipers over to the right, out of the way of the driver's line of sight, a slight safety benefit.

The center cup holders handled even the largest drinks, such as Venti Starbucks and giant sodas, with no problem.





The giant soda even fit inside the driver's cup holder but I don't like it there because I am right handed. In retrospect I should have placed my Frappuccino in the driver's cup holder to keep it frozen longer due to its clever position in front of the AC vent. I can say that the cup holder vent was very effective at making my phone cold.



The center USB port was difficult to access with two giant drinks in the way. Two outstretched hands were required to wiggle in the USB cable.



Cleaning

After the trip, sand was easily vacumed from the leather seats and carpet. Cleaning the back seat floors was a sinch with the magic seats folded up, not so much to reach under the seats, but because the upright position eliminated that cramped feeling by allowing the vacuum handle to move freely, and I could see the entire floor.



The dog hair clung firmly to the fuzzy material on the back of the seat where the dog crate was. I was not able to remove all the hairs and just accepted my failure to restore the interior because the dogs will just get hair in the car anyway the next time they take a ride. Dog owners might want to place a barrier between their dogs and the cargo area fabric.



MPG
1st tank 30, 2nd tank 41 (I didn't need two tanks, I just topped off to calculate mileage)
ECON and AC on the whole trip

I'm sure you've noticed the gauges on the phone mounted on the windshield. I display real-time telemetry from the car's computer using an old Android phone, running a free app called Torque, paired to a Bluetooth dongle plugged into the OBD port.





I prefer the numeric display of the instantaneous MPG, which agrees with the vehicle meters, for honing my hypermiling skills, which I was not able to do much of because driving slow makes my wife angry and wastes costly beach time. I did try to maintain constant throttle up hills which meant my speed sometimes dropped to 50 mph on the Capitol Beltway. For most of the trip I kept under 65mph.



I have heard others say that accelerating faster is better for MPG. I have not found that to be the case. I can keep the mileage above 30 while accelerating slowly, but quicker starts only give me 10 to 15 MPG. The Eco Assist Ambient Meter around the speedometer stays green if I accelerate slowly. The Ambient Meter seems heavily correlated with the engine load ECU parameter (not counting the significant increase in engine load whenever the AC compressor comes on). FYI, part of the reason ECON mode saves so much gas is because it cycles the compressor on and off, with the fans blowing gradually warming air until the compressor kicks back on. This seems like a smart way of conserving energy.

MPG was noticably reduced during heavy rain, my cruising MPG dropped from the mid 40s to the high 30s.

Filling up the tank before leaving home, then again before leaving the beach, calculated an embarrassingly low MPG of 29.8. I attribute this to the eleven short trips (two miles) around Rehobeth Beach, idling the car for over an hour with AC on, and Washington, D.C. rush hour traffic which at times required me to waste energy braking, and at other times pressed me to plow through the air at a lavish 65 to 70mph.

According to Torque Pro telemetry, I burned .11 gallons of gasoline idling for 25 minutes with the AC on. While idling, cutting off the AC drops the engine load metric from about 35% to 20%. This is with ECON on.


I filled up the tank after returning home for a pleasing 39.96 MPG, which included 35 minutes of idling but mostly highway driving at around 55mph, with stoplights every 10ish miles. This is just under my best tank of 41.43 which was mostly highway driving, ECON on, with the AC off about a quarter of the time. My tank has only been filled five times, including the initial dealer tank, since my purchase on July 14th, nine days before the beach trip.

Link to my Fuelly.com tank MPG data

Conclusion
My standard setup consists of telemetry on my windshield, LaneWatch camera on, and Google Glass navigation projected against the sun visor. With this setup I feel like I have great awareness.

Overall, my Fit was a great road trip vehicle. You just can't beat that combination of cargo space, fuel efficiency and practical luxuries like Smart Entry and LaneWatch. I love my new Fit!



 

Last edited by simonx314; 07-29-2014 at 01:43 PM.
  #2  
Old 07-28-2014, 01:39 PM
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Location: Boston MA
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This is an awesome trip journal! Makes me want to take a road trip before summer's end. I only wish that I had the time ...

That blue is really a stand out, too.
 
  #3  
Old 07-28-2014, 04:27 PM
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Wow, this is really in depth. Thank you!
 
  #4  
Old 07-28-2014, 04:42 PM
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If you move your left mirror all the way out, you can eliminate pretty much the entire left blind spot. I use this technique, and it works great. There's almost no blind spot at all. The only problem is that the 2015 Fit's mirrors don't go out as much as my 09 Fit's mirrors did. They do go out just enough to make this work though. HowStuffWorks "How to Adjust Your Mirrors to Minimize Your Blind Spot"
 
  #5  
Old 07-28-2014, 04:46 PM
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Thanks everyone for your kind words. Please don't quote my entire review when you reply because it makes the thread super long.

Originally Posted by SheepNutz View Post
If you move your left mirror all the way out, you can eliminate pretty much the entire left blind spot...
I'll try adjusting the left mirror again, but it is pointed left as far as it will go and it is still not enough. I wonder if me being short, 5' 4", thus sitting closer to the wheel makes it more difficult to eliminate the blind spot.
 
  #6  
Old 07-28-2014, 05:16 PM
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You can re-program the key fob to open all doors from any door. What you have is the default. My manual is downstairs in the car or I'd look it up for you.
 
  #7  
Old 07-28-2014, 05:18 PM
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Thanks

Originally Posted by exl500 View Post
You can re-program the key fob to open all doors from any door. What you have is the default. My manual is downstairs in the car or I'd look it up for you.
Thank you! This will make my life so much easier. I will edit my review.

Edit: I just looked at page 104 of the owner's manual. You can change some options, like disabling the doors from automatically locking when you reach 10mph, but I don't see an option to make all doors unlock when you touch the driver handle like you can with the passenger handle.
 

Last edited by simonx314; 07-28-2014 at 05:24 PM.
  #8  
Old 07-28-2014, 05:35 PM
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I can't find it either, but I remember reading it on one of these threads and discussing it with my salesperson. If I find it I'll post it.
 
  #9  
Old 07-28-2014, 05:41 PM
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Pages 105 and 106 seem to hold the key (no pun intended) but are indecipherable.
 
  #10  
Old 07-28-2014, 05:45 PM
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Look, I don't own a Honda Fit and I will never own one, I just lurk on here at this point. What in the heck do you mean, "it took 30 or 40 minutes to cool the car down", I feel like I am being punked when I hear something like that. It is a tiny damn car, the car should be cold in no time, my Kia Optima SXL sits in the sun for 8 hours straight and I get in turn the a/c on and the car is cold in no time, maybe you FIT owners are used to this but the rest of the automotive world is not. Maybe to make the car low priced there is a little ice box in there and you are supposed to put ice cubes in it before you start the car up. Sorry for the sarcasm, I just find this to be odd in 2015.
 
  #11  
Old 07-28-2014, 05:53 PM
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We're in FL and have only pushed the A/C to the 3rd (of 4) settings once or twice for a few minutes. It usually sits at 2 so far. Seems nice and cold to us, but we did choose to move to Florida...
 
  #12  
Old 07-28-2014, 06:19 PM
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Thanks a lot for all the details.

I also have a young kid, and one of the things that keep me from buying the Fit is the lack of trunk space. I always think that if in need of extra space, I will lay down one seat. But then all kind of concerns come to mind of loose objects that my fly everywhere and hit the little one. I wish the trunk was larger.
Your picture makes me see what I use to fear.

And please, be careful and do not leave objects that may hit the baby in a sudden stop, or any other unexpected event.

Cheers,
 

Last edited by Argentum; 07-28-2014 at 09:08 PM.
  #13  
Old 07-28-2014, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by fitnew View Post
...What in the heck do you mean, "it took 30 or 40 minutes to cool the car down"...
I don't mean that at all. You misquoted, and possibly misread, what I said about the AC. The original post states "It took 30 to 40 minutes of full blast AC to cool down the car to the point where we could back off the fan to the second highest setting". The car cooled to a comfortable temperature in about 15 or 20 minutes, and we were never sweaty, but we had to keep the AC blasting to counteract the intense greenhouse effect. There are no vents in the back so we had to blast the air back there for the dogs and baby, otherwise we could have backed off the fan earlier. The AC could be stronger, but the main problem is the large amounts of glass and the all black interior. I'll edit the OP to make this clearer.

There is a whole other thread where some are reporting that their AC is not cold, while others report it is frosty cold, almost too cold. Weird. There seems to be some inconsistency in this new model car built in an all new plant.

https://www.fitfreak.net/forums/3rd-...seem-cold.html

Like I mentioned in the OP, the ECON mode was enabled, which cycles off the AC compressor. If I had disabled ECON that car would have cooled much faster, but I didn't know that at the time.
 

Last edited by simonx314; 07-28-2014 at 09:20 PM.
  #14  
Old 07-28-2014, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Argentum View Post
...But then all kind of concerns come to mind of loose objects that my fly everywhere and hit the little one. I wish the trunk was larger.
Your picture makes me see what I use to fear.

And please, be careful do not leave objects that may hit the baby in a sudden stop...
Yes, I was worried about objects hitting the baby. The heavy stuff was behind her seat, and with the dog crate anchored, the stuff behind the dog crate was not going to move either in normal driving conditions. If I rolled the car over I'm sure the loose bags would have flown all over the cabin but they were mostly soft clothes. You bring up a valid point though, the baby seat makes it hard to use the full cargo capacity without increasingly endangering the child.
 

Last edited by simonx314; 07-28-2014 at 08:57 PM.
  #15  
Old 07-28-2014, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by SheepNutz View Post
If you move your left mirror all the way out, you can eliminate pretty much the entire left blind spot...[/url]
Thanks! You were right, I did not have my left mirror adjust correctly. I adjusted it to its furthest position and the blind spot is much smaller, almost acceptable. I edited my OP to remove the parts complaining about the large left blindspot.
 
  #16  
Old 07-28-2014, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by simonx314 View Post
Low Clearance

Arriving at the motel, I pulled too far forward in a parking spot and felt the car rub against something. The flexible front skirt was deformed around the concrete bar. It looks like the front skirt is designed to warn the driver before they impact the gas tank, which I imagine could have ruined the beach trip. Fortunately, I was only slowly creeping forward at the time of impact.

After backing up, the skirt did not seem damaged, except for some scuffing which I was not concerned about it because nobody can see it anyway without getting down on all fours.
Just so you're aware, you aren't in any danger of puncturing the gas tank from a curb, at least as long as you don't drive like a total maniac (i.e. freeway speeds in parking lots). The gas tank is underneath the front seats, well in back of the front wheels, so you'd be damaging the wheels, suspension, exhaust system, and possibly engine/transmission oil pans well before reaching the gas tank.

I must say I prefer the rubber (at least on the '12 Base) skirt piece to what's used on some other cars. My first car, an '84 Mazda 626, had just a thin metal piece at maybe an inch or so in front of the front subframe, which went pretty much all the way down. Approaching a curb too closely resulted in a very sudden and jarring clunk as that subframe bonked the concrete and quite effectively stopped the car. (It was sturdy enough that nothing significant would get damaged at slow parking lot speeds, luckily, but anything but subtle.)
 
  #17  
Old 07-28-2014, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by DrewE View Post
Just so you're aware, you aren't in any danger of puncturing the gas tank from a curb, at least as long as you don't drive like a total maniac (i.e. freeway speeds in parking lots). The gas tank is underneath the front seats, well in back of the front wheels, so you'd be damaging the wheels, suspension, exhaust system, and possibly engine/transmission oil pans well before reaching the gas tank...
Thanks for the info! That all makes complete sense now. I just edited my OP to remove my mistake.
 
  #18  
Old 07-29-2014, 12:18 AM
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Thanks Simon and a question

Great writeup!
I had decided to go far LX instead of EX but, your writing about Lanewatch camera made me change my mind.

Question: What are your impressions about Sunroof?
 
  #19  
Old 07-29-2014, 12:58 AM
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Great right up!

Thanks for the write up. My wife, the baby, and our dog are about to take our first road trip in the Fit and glad to see what worked well for you. We went the LX route but after seeing what you posted about how nice the proximity is when carrying a baby carrier I wish I had thought of that "Pro" when I was trying to persuade my wife to go the EX route.
 
  #20  
Old 07-29-2014, 02:59 AM
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This was a great write-up. Funny even at times (Picturing the dogs trying to get into the car and jumping out....timidly. )

The LaneWatch feature does seem very interesting. I'm getting the LX but your points have been taken. The LaneWatch comments made me want a higher model fit just as much as the volume nob placement makes me not want it. My wife is horrible with fiddling with my radio.

Thanks for all the pictures. I feel like I actually went on the trip myself. I have the Torque App as well but only used it to record 0-60 and 1/4 mile info while monitoring various ECU parameters. Never used it for mpg checks.
 

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