With the recent change of regulations under our Certificate of Entitlement (COE) scheme, which restricts “Category A” vehicles to have an engine capacity of under 1,600cc without surpassing 130bhp, it comes as little surprise that small families will be swayed towards purchasing premium continental turbocharged hatchbacks that are comparable in price to Japanese alternatives, effortlessly frugal, yet can also double as a premium and comfortable mode of transport.
But for purists who prefer a more authentic connection between man and machine, a naturally aspirated engine might still be a priority as these engines are more likely to offer instantaneous throttle response on demand. Andy, the owner of this 2008 Honda Fit (GE6), could very well be persuaded by tempting paper specifications presented by German rivals, but he prefers to remain loyal to the JDM camp, as they offer more ease of access to modifications.
His car hunting back in the early days were more straightforward than most would have expected. After short-listing down to three cars, the Mitsubishi’s Colt and Lancer as well as the Honda Fit, Andy opted for the Honda, as it looks sportier, and arguably more frugal in stock form than the other two alternatives. Andy was keen to emphasise that his decisions were primarily influenced by his close group of friends driving the Honda hatchback.
“I have a couple of friends driving the same car as me, and their cars are tastefully modified. I’ve to admit that modifying the Fit brings out the car’s potential, both from a performance and aesthetic point of view.”
For a start, Andy swopped out the OEM suspension setup for a set of BC-V1 coilovers. This, according to Andy, supplies his car with a couple of benefits. It now sits lower to the ground, and can also be flogged hard from corner to corner without excessive body roll. He then moved on to tuning his Fit’s undercarriage to improve its rigidity. A Summit rear strut bar keep things tight, along with the all-important sticky Toyo R1-R rubbers for that extreme performance in the sweltering heat. Next, Andy moved on to engine enhancements. Initial phases were not entirely pleasant – experiencing issues with fuel economy in his first few states of tune. “I encountered a couple of issues when I played around with engine tuning, but these were solved pretty easily. The D1-spec throttle controller provided me with throttle response on demand, but took a hit on fuel economy. Specialists at Fabulous-X advised me to include a Greddy E-Manage. Not only did it solve my fuel economy issue, I gained a slight surge in performance too!”
Despite the performance hike, Andy admitted that extracting performance out of the engine was not a priority, as he acknowledges the limit of his Fit’s automatic transmission. Truth be told, its aggressive silhouette alone will be sufficient to turn heads, for the privileged who managed to catch a glimpse of his car up close. Have a peep inside the cabin too, and we will understand why the occasional track junkie also utilises his Fit as a daily drive. A Spoon carbonfibre bucket seat takes centre stage, accompanied by a 4-point harness to strap the driver safely – useful for proper “B road” hooning. But on occasions when he uses his car to ferry passengers, the sporty vibe of the Fit takes a back seat for a well-sorted in-car entertainment (ICE) system, which transforms his ride from a pocket rocket to a mobile media hauler.
What’s next for Andy? He intends to wait for more information about the 2015 Civic Type R, slated to be revealed as a concept at this year’s Geneva Motor Show – a diehard Honda Fanatic indeed! Even if we notice a trend of premium (and increasingly common) haulers occupying our local tarmac, Andy’s Honda Fit will always be widely regarded as one of the handful that can capture the hearts among enthusiasts within the aftermarket fraternity. It’s certainly more than fit enough to withstand the test of time. Andy’s ride demonstrates that the driver need not go overboard on aftermarket enhancements, so long as one maps out their tuning philosophy way before embarking on the project. All these trusty modifications housed in a reliable and well-sorted Honda chassis – we have a winner here!
D1-spec 7-drive throttle controller, Apexi RSM, D1-spec lightweight crank pulley, Greddy “Ultimate Tuned” E-Manage, K&N drop-in filter, Spoon N-1 muffler.
BC-V1 Coilover, Summit rear strut, N-brake NAperformance brake pads, D1-spec heptagon forged racing nuts, Toyo R1-R tyres 195/55R15
Spoon Auto gear knob, Spoon carbonfibre bucket seat with power rails, D1-spec 4 point seat harness, “DB” 2-way front component speakers, Phoenix Gold subwoofer, Cadence
4-channel amplifier, Rockford Fosgate monoblock amplifer, Pioneer 2-din headunit
Spoon side mirror, customised GT wing, customised carbon bonnet, Mugen RS bodykit, 12000K Hid kit