The new 2015 Honda Fit will arrive in showrooms next spring--but it won't be fitted with start-stop, according to trade journal Automotive News.
Start-stop systems save fuel by shutting down a car's engine when stationary, but Honda is afraid a Fit equipped with it would have too much acceleration lag for American drivers.
Engineers were afraid the little hatchback would "lose at stoplights to V-6s," Fit lead powertrain engineer Nobuhiko Shisido told Automotive News at a preview event for the car.
When shutting the engine off, the start-stop system shifts the transmission into neutral. So when the light turns green, the starter motor has to crank and the car has to shift itself back into gear.
The whole process, from the driver lifting his or her foot off the brake pedal to forward motion, takes about one second.
Most drivers probably won't be drag racing their Fits, but Honda still thinks that's too long.
New Honda Fit Hybrid (Japan-only model)
Since EPA fuel economy tests don't take start-stop systems into account, Honda wouldn't have any fuel-efficiency gains to advertise. On the other hand, adding start-stop could have made the Fit more expensive.
The 2015 Honda Fit went on sale in Japan earlier this month, but it won't be coming to the U.S. until next year.
The redesigned car will have a new 1.5-liter direct-injected four cylinder engine and CVT (a six-speed manual will also be offered).
Honda expects gas mileage to improve by about 10 percent with the CVT.
The Fit hatchback will be joined by a sedan and a crossover, most likely based on the Urban SUV concept from the 2013 Detroit auto show.
There will also be a Fit hybrid with Honda's all-new Sport Hybrid i-DCD powertrain. However, like start-stop, it seems unlikely to come to the U.S.