The 2015 Honda Fit marks the beginning of the third generation of the company's popular subcompact hatchback. Our tester, an EX-L with navigation, comes with all the goodies, including a sunroof, leather-trimmed heated front seats, fog lights, heated side mirrors and push button start…and, of course, navigation.
The new model has 4.9 cubic-feet more passenger space than the outgoing model and more legroom to boot. That's made even more impressive by the fact that overall the car is 1.6 inches shorter in length. The new body structure is also more rigid than the outgoing model, and lighter, too.
Out on the street, we think the Fit's ¾ view makes it look bigger than it actually is. In profile, the roof slopes right to the nose, with barely a kink for the windshield. “Stubby” is the word we'd use to describe it. In back, the tall and futuristic taillights remind us of recent Volvo wagons, which isn't a bad thing. The wheel package is good -- the EX gets 16-inchers -- but the wheel well is big. That leaves a lot of room between the tire and body.
What's it like to drive?
The 2015 Fit gets Honda's newest Earth Dreams engine. It's a 1.5-liter four making 130 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. That's 13 hp and 8 lb-ft more than last year, and since the Fit only weighs 2,642 pounds, it's no dog.
Of course, it's not a speed racer either. The continuously variable transmission does a decent job of keeping the engine in the right rev range for solid performance and maximum fuel economy, but the car makes a ton of noise while doing it. We'd love to specify the six-speed manual with this car, but it isn't available on the EX-L trim.
Power comes on smooth, but the engine drones noisily at high rpms. Both Nissan and Subaru have worked a step-down feel into their CVTs, which is a lot less unsettling than having the tach pinned at redline every time you accelerate as with the Fit. The paddle shifters move the revs around a bit, but they don't really enhance the driving experience. We mostly left them alone.
The brakes provide a nice bite at the top of the stroke, and get progressively tighter as you clamp down. That might not seem like a big deal, but you'd be surprised at how many manufacturers can't get this right.
The Fit has three driving modes: eco, sport and normal. As far as we can tell, the mode selector simply changes the throttle position sensor map so the computer thinks your foot is down farther than it is. Normal seemed fine to us in most situations.
The steering action on the Fit is one of the better points. Between the light weight and skinny tires, the initial turn in is good. But the body will roll a bit, and anything faster than the posted speed will induce understeer -- overall it's more fun than we expected.
Potholes are road imperfections are transmitted to the cabin, both the noise and the shock, but we'd stop just short of calling the Fit “tinny.” However, the doors do resonate a bit when slammed. The cabin is comfortable, including the seats and soft touch materials on the doors and armrests. Most of the plastic is treated with a soft, rubbery texture, and Honda has added a ton of extra storage spots in the doors, dash and armrests.
Visibility is good from nearly every angle, especially out the front with that sloping hood. The greenhouse in the Fit is more like a fishbowl -- at least that's what we felt like in traffic.
Do I want it?
The Fit is a very versatile package. It offers more passenger and cargo space than most of its competitors, the chassis handles respectively and mileage is near the best in class -- a class that includes the Chevy Sonic, Kia Rio hatchback and Ford Fiesta, to name a few.
Kia offers a longer warranty than the Honda, and doesn’t look quite as nerdy. The Fiesta has a more interesting interior, and offers the enthusiast driver more to love. Of course, neither have Honda’s legendary reputation for dependability.
Our advice? Pick the base Fit model with the manual, and only order what you need in options. You’ll be out of the dealership for less than 20K and you’ll have everything you’ll need to get from point A to point B.
2015 Honda Fit EX-L w/ Navigation specs
On Sale: Now
Base Price: $21,590
Drivetrain: 1.5-liter, 130-hp, 114 lb-ft continuously variable transmission, FWD
Curb Weight: 2,642 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA City/Hwy/Combined: 32/38/35
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