You desire a great subcompact, and the Honda Fit seems a good option. It offers great gas mileage, has plenty of high-tech features and manageable storage space.
Surely, the Honda Fit is a nice car. The big question is ‘how does it handle in wintertime?’
We answer that in this article.
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Here is the short answer to whether the Honda Fit is good for snow and winter driving:
The Honda Fit is fine in snow and winter, especially when used with snow tires. That said, the Fit has limitations in navigating winter seasons–limitations caused by its small size and low engine power.
Is a Honda Fit Good in the Snow?
The Honda Fit hardly makes any ‘Best Cars for Snow’ list–and for good reason. It has low ground clearance, which does its snow driving capabilities no favors. Because of the low ground clearance, your car could easily get stuck in snow.
However, this doesn’t make the Fit terrible in snowy conditions. The low ground clearance could help it on occasions.
An example is when you’re driving on a road covered in a thin sheet of snow. This type of road doesn’t have too much snow that your Fit will get stuck driving on it.
Still, it has snow that’s slippery enough to get any car to slide off and lose composure.
Because your Fit sits close to the ground, it has fewer chances of losing stability on the road than, say, a crossover. In such situations, your Fit would be a better bet for safety than any other bigger vehicle.
For some, however, the low clearance and dismal engine power may be deal-breakers, which is understandable. The Fit doesn’t have enough clearance to traverse deep snow.
In addition, the low engine torque is not enough to propel the car through mounds of snow.
For us, we’d say the suitability of the Fit for snow driving depends on the amount of snow in question. Moderate snowfall is okay to navigate with your Fit subcompact.
However, snow with higher depth than your vehicle’s ground clearance might stall your vehicle and stop it from driving.
What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?
Were you surprised when we said the Fit was suitable for driving in winter season? We carefully analyzed the Fit’s qualities to determine if it is good enough for winter driving.
Here are Honda Fit features that make it easier and safer to drive in winter conditions:
Vehicle Stability Assist
The Vehicle Stability Assist is common on Honda vehicles, and drivers have nothing but praise for the feature. The VSA system increases your car’s stability when navigating less than stellar road conditions. Seeing as we have such conditions frequently in winter, the VSA is a welcome feature.
The VSA has various sensors that keep it abreast of any changes in vehicle stability.
For example, if wheels start slipping on winter roads, threatening your Fit’s balance, the VSA will notice via its sensors.
Assuming that the VSA senses that your vehicle’s stability has reduced, it will apply the brakes on those wheels to stop them from slipping.
Another course of action is to force the engine to reduce its torque supply to the wheels.
Both actions are important in restoring vehicle stability for one reason: a slower vehicle is less likely to become unstable. Not only that, it’s much easier to control so you can return the vehicle to its original path if it tries leaving that lane.
The Traction Control system on Honda Fits also helps keep the vehicle balanced on winter roads. On its part, Traction Control reduces wheel slip drastically.
Wheel slip, which results in loss of road grip, is a major problem drivers have to deal with in winter because the roads are much slicker and slippery.
Traction Control curbs wheel slip by monitoring the condition of your wheels as you drive sub-par road conditions. This lets it sense wheel slip and makes efforts to curtail it.
Traction Control may perform ‘engine braking’ to reduce wheel slip. In other situations, fixing the wheel slip problem may require applying brake pressure to selected wheels.
Preventing wheel slip means Traction Control significantly enhances the safety of your winter driving experience.
Antilock Braking System
The Antilock Braking System on your Honda Fit shields you against the prospects of your wheels locking up in extreme braking situations. You’ll find yourself in many extreme braking situations in winter, so the ABS is actually a lifesaver.
The Fit’s ABS works by analyzing the rolling of wheels while you brake. In the event where a wheel stops rolling when you brake (while others are still rolling), it signifies lockup. This could easily lead to your car skidding off the surface.
To stop wheel lockup, the ABS will “pulse” the brakes (applying and releasing the brakes) to reduce brake pressure on your wheels. This removes the possibility of wheel lockup and ensures your vehicle doesn’t skid off.
Electronic Brake Force Distribution
The Electronic Brake Force Distribution is very similar to the Antilock Braking System–both aid in prevention of wheel lockup. However, Electronic Brake Force Distribution uses a very different technique.
The ABS reduces brake pressure on wheels when it senses lockup. Instead of doing this, the EBD will ensure that your wheels don’t receive equal brake pressure, especially in extreme braking situations.
This preemptive action protects wheels from getting excessive brake pressure and locking up.
The EBD is more proactive than the ABS because it stops wheel lockup in advance. By comparison, ABS will only kick in when your wheels lock under braking.
Road Departure Mitigation System
In wintertime, roads are much slicker and you’d find it more difficult to stay on your original path. In fact, your vehicle could literally drift away from its lane or leave the road entirely because of the slippery nature of winter roads.
The Road Departure Mitigation System is part of Honda Sensing, a collection of active/passive safety features that protect you against accidents.
The RDMS will stop your Fit from leaving its lane or hurtling off the road.
This feature uses a windshield-mounted camera to note lane markings. This way, it can alert you when your car leaves its initial course.
The RDMS will activate a mechanism that will steer your vehicle to its original position. For more severe cases where steering input cannot keep the vehicle on its path, the RDMS will use braking force to stop the car.
Please make sure to read our article about driving the Honda HR-V in snow and winter.
Does a Fit Have Snow Mode?
Unlike some other models, the Honda Fit doesn’t have a Snow Mode feature. When active, the Snow Mode minimizes wheel spin for increased traction on snow-covered roads.
Sure, Snow Mode would’ve improved the Fit’s snow driving capabilities. However, its absence hardly affects how the Fit handles in snow.
This is because the model has other features such as Traction Control that also minimize wheelspin and increase traction in snowy weather.
Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on Fits?
Proper snow gears can go a long way in improving your Fit’s traction and control on snowed-out roads. You can install a variety of snow gear on your vehicle depending on your needs and budget.
Some of the snow gear you could install include:
- Snow tires
- Snow chains
- Ice studs
- Snow socks
How Much Snow Can a Fit Handle?
The Fit has just 4.4 inches of ground clearance, so you shouldn’t expect it to handle a lot of snow. It will do well in light snow between say two to three-and-half inches.
Once the snow’s depth is higher than your vehicle’s ground clearance, you’ll likely be unable to drive in such conditions.
How Do Fits Handle Low Winter Temperatures?
Thanks to electronic fuel injection, the Honda Fit runs without problems in low winter temperatures. It doesn’t need extended warming or multiple start attempts before it can come to life.
However, some problems that could make your Fit problematic in winter weather include:
- Failed spark plugs
- Worn-out/weak battery
- Water-contaminated gasoline
- Dirt in air and fuel filters
Can a Honda Fit Drive on Ice?
The Honda Fit can drive on ice, as it possesses several features that give it stability and increased road grip on slick pavement.
However, its lightweight body means it can easily slide off the surface in icy conditions. Thus, you should drive carefully on ice to avoid any accidents.
Also read our article about driving the Honda Clarity in snow and winter.
Does the Fit Have 4WD?
As almost every subcompact, the Fit doesn’t have four-wheel-drive capability. Instead, it has a front-wheel-drive drivetrain that sends power mostly to the front wheels.
What About Older Fit Models And Winter Driving?
Early Honda Fits lacked the sophisticated driver assist technologies of recent models. Honda introduced a stability system as a standard feature on all models starting in 2011 and introduced more features as the model matured.
So, Fits from 2007 to 2010 may not perform as well as late models with ABS and traction control on snowy roads.
Make sure to also read our article about driving the Honda Insight in snow and winter.
Do Fit Need Snow Tires?
In normal roads conditions, you can use the stock all-season tires that came with your Fit. However, winter roads are a different ball game and you’ll need dedicated snow tires to navigate such conditions safely.
Can You Mount A Snow Plow on a Fit?
The Fit’s design, and performance suggests you cannot mount a snowplow on it.
This means you cannot and should not attempt snow plowing with your Honda Fit.