The Honda Fit. A car that previously managed to surprise me (happily!) with its outstanding utility, intelligence and affordability has come around again, redesigned for 2015.
Pricing: 2015 Honda Fit
Base price (EX-L with Navi): $21,295
Options: $1300 CVT
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $24,331
Honda says the Fit’s new exterior is “sporty and full of character”. Sporty is a bit rich, if you ask me, but it certainly has plenty of character. It’s a subjective car, as all B cars are. You’ll have those who appreciate a tall hatchback for what it offers, and there are those who will simply not like them. Personally, I’m a fan. Hey, we own a car in this body style, so we must get it, right?
Overall the new Fit is sensible. It gets Honda’s new solid-wing grille and a very strong character line that makes its way along the side panels. Rear LED tail lights give it a nifty signature and there’s even a rear spoiler. The 16-inch rims look great.
This high trim Fit has proximity-based keyless entry and a racy-looking red push-button starter. Once you’re in, you’ll love the spacious cabin that offers excellent head room. Most of the plastics are hard, but Honda has added some soft-touch materials on the face of the dash. There are a number of touches that really gave this Fit a premium feel, from the heated leather seats (which are reasonably comfortable and well-bolstered) to the 7-inch touchscreen that controls your audio, phone, navigation, vehicle settings and even offers fuel economy information.
As in almost every Honda, there’s a great steering wheel – it feels just right, and has buttons for media, phone, cruise control and the driver information screen which sits to the right of the speedometer. The dash is perfectly flush and completely devoid of buttons. That’s nice and clean and the touchscreen’s pinch and swipe functions work pretty well, but I really missed a volume knob – the touch-based slider isn’t intuitive nor was it quick enough for me. You get an automatic climate system which also gets completely touch-based controls. The Fit’s driver assistance tech is pretty much camera-based – a rear-view camera with moving trajectory lines and Honda’s cool LaneWatch, which shows what is beside you when you turn on your right-side signal light. It’s the best blind-spot monitoring system, if you ask me. You also get a power tilt/slide moon roof. Siri EyesFree is along for the ride, which is great for iPhone owners.
The second row features three seats, each with a head rest and seatbelt. If the headrests are down, it’s impossible to sit there and if they’re up, they’ll intrude into your rear view. I was very happy with the rear head room (I’m 5’10”) and the leg room is surprisingly good too. The seats are comfortable and even recline! I appreciated that the floor is almost flat, making the middle position more useful than in some other cars. Yes, the middle is still tight for an adult, but our three kids fit back there just fine. There are two sets of LATCH anchors for child seats if that’s important.
As I’ve found in many small cars, Honda has been able to come up with a number of storage spaces and innovations around the cabin. There’s an expandable cupholder to the left of the steering wheel – which doubles as a perfect place for your phone. The centre console has a drop-in bin near the front (where you’ll find 12V and USB plugs), as well as dual cupholders. Skinny as the armrest is, you’ll still find a little storage under the lid, as well as another USB and 12 V plug.
Cars shaped like the Fit tend to offer plenty of space in the back. This is no exception. The trunk is very usable at 470 litres. Fold the second row (almost) flat and you’ve got an enormous 1492 litres space. But the real trick is how the Magic Seats (which split 60/40) can also flip their seat bottoms up and out of the way, creating a very tall space behind the front seats. Alternatively, you can also fold the right rear seat down, and fold the right front seat down, and you’ve got the ability to transport items up to 2.4 m (7′, 10″) long! Now that’s versatility!
Under the Hood
A diminutive 1.5-litre 4-cylinder sits side-saddle, putting out a bit more power than before. 130 horsepower and 114 lb.ft of torque make their way through a new CVT (continuously-variable transmission) and on to the front wheels. Is it efficient? Quite. The Fit is rated at 7.3 L/100 km (32 US mpg) in the city and 6.1 L/100 km (39 US mpg) on the highway. I averaged 7.4 L/100 km (32 US mpg) during my week, slogging my way through fresh snow. Not bad at all. The tank holds 40 litres.
While the numbers seem small, they’re enough to motivate this little 1201 kg (2648 pound) machine around town. The Fit has good get-up-and-go power and its CVT is quick and intelligent. If you’re feeling inspired, you can manually “shift” its six simulated “gears” with paddle shifters. There is a noticeable difference between the normal driving mode, and the other two – ECON and Sport. And that’s a good thing. Kudos to Honda for understanding that it should feel different if it’s a dedicated, separate driving mode. ECON mode really retards the car’s responses but remains driveable, and aims to save as much fuel as possible. Sport mode is very effective in making things more responsive.
The Fit’s electronic steering is highly overboosted and feels number than I’d like from a little Honda – it feels as though you’re controlling the car from a distance and there’s not much feel. However it does react quickly and of course the handling is still outstanding because the car is so small and nimble. The ride isn’t very luxurious and feels pretty jiggly – no surprise with a short wheelbase and an entry-level vehicle. It’s good enough and filters out the big hits. The Fit does get a bit noisy under some circumstances. Road noise is often present, especially from the suspension over any kind of road irregularities. The little engine makes itself known when it revs over 2500 RPM, and there’s definitely some wind noise on the highway. I should point out that none of these is shocking at this price and in this vehicle category. I enjoyed the great visibility out of the car, however things get a little cluttered around the A-pillar and trying to see through that small window if you need to.
I’m not the only one who thinks the Fit is a great car. On December 2, 2015, AJAC announced the Fit as the winner of the Best New Small Car (under $21k) category as part of its Canadian Car of the Year Awards.
The Fit simply has so much to offer. First of all, it starts at a ludicrously low price and offers all the functionality I talked about here. Or you can load it up to this high-trim level, and add all the bells and whistles – optioned like this one, it certainly feels like a premium automobile.
WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) was quite high. When I told her how much it cost, she was surprised, and she said it feels like a much more expensive vehicle inside. She readily admitted that it doesn’t look like it from the outside. But she loved the utility it offered, and how nicely it drove.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the 2015 Honda Fit. The combination of affordability, available upper-crust technology, simply outstanding flexibility and utility and economy makes for a smart choice.
Blog provided with permission from Tom Sedens, a local automotive blogger in Edmonton, Alberta, and member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). For more vehicle reviews, visit wildsau.ca.