It’s not a huge technological deal in the U.S., but automatic start-stop is a pretty big thing in the rest of the world. A few cars in the U.S.–like hybrids and most BMWs–come equipped with the technology. And the 2015 Honda Fit will come equipped with it, too, just not in the U.S.
Overseas, traffic doesn’t move as quickly as it does here. When a driver takes his or her foot off the brake pedal, a stopped engine will turn back on automatically, allowing the car to save gas when it’s not moving. However, Honda engineers say that the fractional time lag irritates U.S. customers, and our EPA fuel economy tests don’t really benefit cars with start-stop despite it working in the real world. On the other hand, Europeans and some Asian countries evaluate based on CO2 emissions, which start-stop works perfectly to address.
So the 2015 Honda Fit isn’t getting the system here.
The abruptness of some systems, like the one in the 2013 BMW 3 Series, remains a constant criticism. Others, like those in Mercedes-Benz products, work much more smoothly. We often don’t give flak to the start-stop systems equipped in hybrids because when a car starts in all-electric mode, activating the engine while the vehicle is moving is almost seamless.
In most start-stop systems, the air condition and power steering are linked to the car’s main electronics and shut down or become weaker when the car is off. In the U.S., that’s seen as more of an inconvenience than not, even when it comes to making a compromise to save fuel.
The 2015 Honda Fit is going on sale this year as a 2014 model in Japan but will not see our shores until a new plant in Mexico is set up to handle North American supplies sometime next year. Then, it will likely be joined by a sedan and a crossover.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)