For those of us who have a passion for exploring off the beaten path, it is often easy to scoff at crossovers and economy cars outfitted with bigger tires and gear that might over-inflate the capabilities of a vehicle (and likely it’s operator) and provide a sense of false-hope when the pavement runs out. For extreme and extended off-road travel there is no replacement for a capable, dependable, and serviceable four-wheel drive vehicle.
What about explorers who need a fuel-efficient vehicle to commute every morning or only use their vehicle to leave the city and therefore need something that can street park and still get them to the woods on the weekends? I believe there is room in the massively diverse overlanding community for a few more explorers. And Honda does, too, which is why it released the rugged urban-explorer Honda Fit e:HEV Crosstar at the 2021 Tokyo Auto Salon.
When I first saw the Fit Crosstar build, it instantly reminded me of the Honda Civic Wagovan of the late 1980s and early ‘90s. That vehicle offered four-wheel drive, a six-speed manual transmission, and gobs of cargo space to make hauling your camping gear down any forest service road a breeze. Once you pointed the old Civic “Shuttle” back toward civilization you would enjoy over 30 miles per gallon and the pride that comes from all of the jealous looks oozing out of neighboring campsites.
The new Fit e:HEV Crosstar pulls on those same strings with a slightly more rugged build out and a hybrid motor option available to International buyers.
Although the Fit has been discontinued in the United States, it remains a very popular model in Japan and in 2021 Honda offers four different Fit trims and they brought the Crosstar to the Virtual Tokyo Auto Salon to show that hot-hatches have a place in the wild. From the factory, the 1.5 liter hybrid can expect up to 60 MPG and it is available in four-wheel drive.
For Tokyo, Honda outfitted the Fit with a suspension lift and upsized Toyo All-Terrain tires wrapped around black steel wheels. A Yakima roof basket adds cargo capacity for the roof but might knock your efficiency down a couple of MPG’s, don’t worry, you have a few to spare. With the mostly-useless back seat folded down the Fit has a cavernous 53 cubic-feet of cargo space, more than enough for a couple to pack up and escape the city for the weekend.
I don’t expect to see a Honda Fit pass me on the Mojave Road or climbing Rocky Mountain passes, but at a time when the world could afford to be a little more inclusive, I will welcome a wagon like the Honda Fit at my campsite anytime because it means that people are getting outside and exploring. Exploration is the point, after all.
Header photo by: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
Overlanding Industry News by Zach Elseman. Follow Zach @okienomads.