As people who like to drive, be it to the grocery store or on a road trip, we think cars should reward the driver with some type of attributes that add to the driving experience. While most of the new small cars fit the basic driver needs of being a value, economical and good dependable transportation, few go the extra distance of being enjoyable and even fun to drive.
The 2015 Honda Fit is one of those smaller cars that goes all the way adding a large measure of driving enjoyment, and with the Mystic Yellow Pearl paint, on our test car, it even could be said to be a bit flashy.
The 2015 Fit is the first issue of the all-new third generation of Honda?s popular five-door subcompact. First introduced for the 2007 model year the Fit has been an award winner ending up on many of the ?best? lists of many magazines and web sites.
The new Fit looks more?fit. Generation two has a bit of roundness or teardrop styling, but the 2015 model looks like it?s spent the last year or two working out and toning its body into a tight angular look with a more sleek styling. The look is very purposeful, and we?re told it is significantly more aerodynamic.
We like five-door hatchback styling, and we think the Fit is one of the best applications of the configuration. The new car is actually shorter but with a longer wheelbase. This allows engineers to add more interior space and improve the ride quality.
The Fit (and all Honda models) are engineered with Advanced Compatibly Engineering? (ACE?) to enhance safety for better frontal crash compatibility. What this means is by using more high-tensile strength steel in certain areas and designing the structure to distribute crash impact more evenly channeling the impact away from the passenger compartment. This is especially important on smaller cars like the Fit, which generally end up as losers in an impact with a larger vehicle. A secondary benefit of using the lighter high strength steel is weight reduction. While dropping 44 pounds might not seem like much on a 2,500 pound car, it?s significant to engineers who are trying to cut every ounce they can from the car. (Hmmm, it might be easier to just get the owners to go on a diet?).
The latest front-wheel drive Fit is fitted with a 130-hp 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with i-VTEC+VTC valve timing control plus direct injection. This is one of Honda?s new Earth Dream Technology? engines. The new engine features combine to produce an 11 percent increase in horsepower and 7.5 percent increase in torque over the previous power plant. With the lower weight and increased power the Fit now makes a 0 to 60 mph run in just 8.0 seconds, according to one of the popular buff magazines. That?s at least a second faster than previous models.
The LX and EX models are available with a six-speed manual transmission (the previous manual transmission was a five-speed) while the EX-L has a standard new CVT (continuously variable transmission). The CVT is also an option on the LX and EX. The EX and EX-L models also have steering wheel mounted paddle shifters which mimic a seven-speed automatic. It?s a good CVT, but not a great CVT; we haven?t found one of those yet.
The combination engine and CVT transmission rate EPA numbers of 32 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 35 mpg combined. The manual transmission is not as efficient at 29/37/32 mpg. We averaged 34.8 mpg during a week of mixed driving conditions.
In addition to the high value, comfort and utilitarian spaces, we think one of the Fit?s most important attributes is it fun to drive attitude. It might not perform through the curvy mountain roads on our test route with the same prowess as a Mazda MX-5 Miata for example, but it has the same seat-of-the-pants feel when pushed through the tight corners. It?s fun to drive, and it?s comfortable to drive.
With the tall roof created by the five-door hatchback configuration, the interior space rivals a Lincoln Town Car in head and legroom, but it?s not as wide. At 16.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat, the Fit has about the same cargo space as the average mid-size sedan. Then there?s the 2nd Row Magic Seat. Fold the 2nd-row Magic Seat? forward and the space grows to 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space or it can be reconfigured to make a tall space to carry home that palm from the nursery without laying it down in the rear.
The overall look, soft touch materials and open feeling of the interior all contribute to Fit?s more premium feel. It also gets high marks from us for a well-designed instrument and control panel. It?s user friendly and intuitive, except for the radio. There are no buttons on the radio, and we find that hard to work, especially when trying to do something like change the station or volume on a rough road ? please bring back the knobs ? at least for volume and tuning. That said, there are actual buttons on the steering wheel to handle those functions.
Each of the Fit models is well equipped with a high level of standard features. The Fit aligns with other Honda models by being offered in LX, EX, and EX-L trims, each with more features than the previous equivalent trim. New standard features on all Fit models include auto on-off headlights, LED brake lights,?Bluetooth? HandsFreeLink? and a center storage console with armrest. Items such as Smart Entry Push Button Start, a one-touch operated moonroof, seven-inch touchscreen Display Audio with next-generation HondaLink, and heated leather seats are among the upgrades available for the first time in the Fit.
The long list of standard safety features includes Vehicle Stability Assist? with traction control, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist. Standard drive-assists on all trims include a multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines and expanded view driver’s mirror.?The Honda LaneWatch display, which displays the passenger side blind spot on the display screen, is standard on EX and EX-L trims.
The 2015 Honda Fit pricing ranges from $16,315, including the delivery charge, for the LX with manual transmission up to $20,590 for the EX-L with CVT. The EX-L is also available with the navigation system for $1,000 more, and it is well worth the investment.
The Honda Fit was one of those cars we very much enjoyed driving, and wouldn?t mind having one as a regular fixture in our garage. It?s utilitarian, comfortable, fun to drive, and the fuel economy is nice, too.