Braking News: 2014 Honda Fit to Offer Low-Speed Active Braking System
Honda will introduce an all-new Fit for 2014, and expectations are running high—over two generations, the small hatchback has appeared on our 10Best Cars list every year since 2007. Although the company has yet to release many details about the next-generation version, we do know that production will switch next year from high-cost Japan to low-cost Mexico. And now we also know that Honda will officially introduce its City Brake Active automatic braking system via the redesigned 2014 Fit, although it hasn’t yet confirmed the system for the U.S. market.
But one key to increasing acceptance of subcompacts in America will be the trickle-down of safety technology, so it might be smart to offer it here. Honda’s accident-avoidance system is geared to urban environments, and is active at speeds up to 18 mph. As with similar systems announced by Volvo and Mazda, Honda’s City Brake Active system tracks traffic ahead with a windshield-mounted laser. If the system determines that a collision is imminent, it will flash visual and audible alerts to the driver. If the driver fails to take action to avoid an accident, the system automatically applies the brakes. Honda’s active brake system will also intervene if the driver inadvertently floors the accelerator while stopped or traveling at less than 6 mph if another car ahead is closer than four meters (about 13 feet or slightly less than the length of one Honda Fit), effectively denying the request to accelerate.
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Honda brass previously confirmed two future Fit spinoffs, a subcompact crossover to compete with the Nissan Juke, Buick Encore, and Kia Soul—this was previewed by the Honda Urban SUV concept shown at the 2013 Detroit auto show—and a subcompact four-door sedan similar to the current Honda City. The latter car will battle the Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, and Hyundai Accent, and will be aimed at Americans who hate hatchbacks and love the gawky styling typical of puny sedans. The new Fit hatchback will go on sale in Japan later this year, and we expect our model to arrive at approximately the same time.
By Ron Sessions