The Honda Fit Hybrid and the Toyota Prius Hybrid are two of the preeminent hybrids on the market today. Each offers tremendous fuel economy, plenty of cargo space for a compact car, and a comfortable ride. Either would be an excellent used car to buy, but as they are so comparable many buyers may hesitate as they try to decide what is right for them. Which hybrid trumps the other? We take a look at their differences and similarities in this comparison.
The 2012 Honda Fit Hybrid
The 2012 Honda Fit hatchback is an excellent car in its own right. It offers superb fuel economy and an excellent driving experience. With the addition of an electric motor, the Honda Fit Hybrid becomes an eco-warrior’s companion in the fight against excessive CO2 emissions and the over-consumption of fossil fuels.
As part of the second generation of the Honda Fit, the 2012 Fit Hybrid offers sharp exterior styling and upgraded interior appointments. It has a 2,500 mm wheelbase, is 4,100 mm long, sits 1,695 mm wide, and has a height of 1,525 mm. As you can see, the Honda Fit hybrid is a fairly large car for the compact segment.
Open the bonnet of the 2012 Honda Fit hybrid and you will see a competent 1,490 cc petrol I4 that is quite fuel efficient on its own. The petrol powerplant is capable of 118 bhp at 6,600 rpm and 145 N-m of torque at 4,800 rpm. It is a low emissions engine with just 148 g/km coming from the exhaust tip. The electric motor adds another 13 bhp and 42.7 N-m of torque that you have instant access to.
When the two motors are combined, the Honda Fit hybrid will use a meager 3.3 litres of petrol for each 100 kilometres driven. This fuel economy rating was achieved using the Japanese 10–15 cycle testing. In addition to the added fuel savings, the emission of CO2 of the Fit Hybrid drops to 104 g/km.
Interior and Features
Inside, the Fit Hybrid mimics a standard Honda Fit hatchback model with the exception of a darker dashboard and standard leather seating. Where the Honda Fit’s interior really stands out is in the sheer amount cargo space offered. The Fit offers 23.6 cubic feet with the rear seats upright and nearly 54 cubic feet with the rear seats stowed.
Optional equipment includes xenon headlamps, navigation system with touchscreen interface, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a side-watch camera system for added safety, voice controls, and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity.
The 2012 Toyota Prius Hybrid
The Toyota Prius is a legend among hybrid cars. It was the first mass produced hybrid, the first hybrid car to be commercially successful, and it is still the standard against which all hybrids are judged. Despite all of the accolades, Toyota is constantly striving to improve the Prius.
The 2012 model year is part of the Toyota Prius’ third generation. The third generation was a great refresh of the model in which Toyota made several changes in order to improve fuel economy. First and foremost, the drag co-efficient of the Prius was reduced to 0.25. The reduced drag is complimented by lighter components throughout the hybrid drivetrain.
The third generation of the Toyota Prius offers a larger petrol engine than previous generations. It is powered by a 1,798 cc I4 that is capable of 98 bhp and 142 N-m. The electric motor adds 36 bhp. However, increased output was not the main reason that Toyota placed a larger engine in the third-gen Prius.
The primary goal was to increase torque at a lower rpm for improved fuel economy at highway speeds. Many new Prius owners are surprised to find that Toyota eliminated the accessory belt by installing the first electric water pump in the industry. For further weight reduction, the entire hybrid drivetrain has been reduced in size. The result of all these weight reductions is a fuel economy rating of 3.90L/100 km combined.
Interior and Features
To sit in a Toyota Prius is to sit in a study of simplicity and minimalist art. The interior is built using plant-sourced bioplastics; nearly eliminating the use of petroleum-based plastic from the interior of the car. The standard seats are cloth, but leather-feel softex seats are optional.
Depending on which version of the Toyota Prius you buy, the Advanced Technology Package (includes a Heads Up Display, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, a Pre-Collision System (PCS), and Lane Keep Assist), Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Smart Stop Technology, navigation system, and Toyota’s Vehicle Proximity Notification System can be equipped.
Fit Hybrid vs. Prius Hybrid: Our Verdict
Both the Honda Fit Hybrid and the Toyota Prius Hybrid are excellent buys. The Honda Fit offers a more comfortable ride and better handling, but the fuel economy numbers are lower, especially when driving in the city. A big plus for the Honda Fit is a lower sticker price.
Despite offering a more basic interior, the Toyota Prius offers better low-end torque and outstanding fuel economy in urban settings. On the downside, a Prius will cost more than a Honda Fit, even when used. Luckily, the added fuel savings will counteract that higher sale price if you keep your Prius for at least three years.