As a middle aged man who has been in love with cars since being a toddler, it is all too easy for me to forget that the car business is just that-a business. So it’s always disappointing when I hear that a neat car will not be joining us as automakers ready for the 2021 model year. It is the fringe cars that make car companies interesting to me, and Honda is shedding some of those offerings. Yes, it is mid-summer, and that means we are learning what players have been cut from the roster. And Honda is the latest, so here goes.
First, we are losing the Fit completely. Known as the Jazz elsewhere, the first sign of trouble was Honda not committing to us seeing the new fourth generation of the car. So yes, the Fit/Jazz lives on, just not in North America. The crossover craze shows no signs of slowing, so I believe Honda’s thinking is anyone wanting a Fit will just go for the HR-V. Which is a shame, because the Fit was truly a good car. It’s packaging is brilliant, and will hold an impressive amount of cargo. My college buddy who is a New York City dweller can pack himself, wife, two growing boys and take the Fit packed with all their gear anywhere from the New Jersey shore to northern New England. Aside from cargo capacity, the Fit was also a surprisingly fun little car to drive. Lastly, the loss of the Fit means getting into a new 2021 Honda just got more expensive. A base fit cost just north of $16,000USD; it will cost over $4,000 more to put you in a base Civic or HR-V.
Speaking of the Civic, it is time to bid farewell to the Coupe. Long time readers at The Garage may recall my Forgotten Sporty Cars series, which highlighted the plethora of small, sporty two doors that were everywhere in the ’80’s and ’90’s. That market has completely evaporated, and it is remarkable Honda hung around this long. And it seems many had forgotten of this sporty car, as only about 6% of Civic buyers drove off the dealer lot in the Coupe last year. 2021 will be the last year of this generation Civic, so cutting the Coupe off is just Honda winding down and getting ready for the new car.
Lastly, 2020 marks the end of an era for the Accord. 2021 will be the first time ever an Accord will not be available with a manual transmission. A manual Accord was available on the Sport model with either the 1.5L or 2.0L engines. But with only 1% of Accord buyers wanting to shift for themselves, there’s just no business case to be made to continue any further. Again, it is remarkable that Honda offered a manual Accord as long as they did. The Accord is due a mid-cycle refresh for 2021, but in typical Honda fashion, there is no word on what we can expect to see just yet.
For the #savethemanuals crowd, the news is particularly hard to take, as the Fit, Civic Coupe and Accord Sport were all available with manual transmissions. The good news is Honda continues to offer a manual in the remaining four door Civics.