Sales of the fuel-sipping Fit have been holding steady, even in our period of cheap gas. That’s because the Fit is a winning package in many ways.
The Fit is popular here at BestRide.com – my editor called it “deceptively capable”, and a fellow writer wrote that it is “a big little car”. There’s a common theme; Fit transcends the curse of feeling like budget hatchback and reaches for a level of style and usability that feels like something greater.
The 2015 Fit comes in three levels – well, three and a half, with LX and EX, and then EX-L and EX-L with Navigation. With the mandatory $820 destination charge included, the LX starts at $16,380 and the EX-L with Nav tops out at $21,770. Interestingly, these current prices are notched up a small tick from the sticker that came with this probably-early-production EX-L with Nav test car, with $125 added to the MSRP and $30 added to the destination charge.
There were no options on this already-loaded test car, and so it had Honda’s brilliant LaneWatch camera, mounted under the passenger-side rear view mirror. Honda says it provides a view four times larger than the mirror can show.
It turns on when you flip the right turn signal, and you can also bring it up on your own with the end of the stalk. Not available on the LX, which is silly.
The rear view comes from a three-angle camera that shows quite a bit.
While we’re discussing the center screen, we’ll mention again Honda’s unfortunate choice to prune the knobs from the flat screen, leaving it an aim-and-poke. That’s a step away from cars like the Mazda3 that incorporate a remote knob, which falls to hand on the console. Fortunately the screen’s processor speed is likety-split, so it reacts quickly, but more tactile control would be most welcome.
The Fit drives fine. My editor’s review liked the slick-shifting, six-speed manual he had in his EX tester. But all EX-Ls are CVT automatics only, and I had my usual disappointment with the rubber-bandy response that’s seemingly endemic to gearless transmissions such as these. It’s not all bad; the steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters are a nice touch, and the Sport mode can help to quicken your pace. Still, it’s a shame to have the CVT forced on you in the most-featured Fit.
The 130-horsepower, 1.5 liter four-cylinder engine can be noisy when accelerating but has ample pep. I’d want a spin with the manual transmission to put that i-VTEC valvetrain through some high-revving paces to know for sure of what this mill is capable.
Honda’s heart is in the right place, but the cognitive dissonance of seeing an internal-combustion engine advertising “Earth Dreams” always makes me chuckle.
Handling was nimble, with not a whole lot of steering feel but a controlled suspension that keeps things level-headed. There’s not much encouragement to probe the limits, but again I’d want to row my own gears to further explore the Fit’s potential.
These neat aluminum wheels are standard on the EX and EX-Ls.
The L in EX-L stands for leather, and it revealed itself to feel rich like leather should. Black is the only available color, and with the high dashboard and side sills, it can feel dark in there, even with the sunroof. Maybe Honda will consider offering something lighter.
My 6’1″ frame fit well in the space provided, but soon into my first drive, I was looking in vain for a height adjustment for the front of the seat cushion, and there was none. There was a height adjustment for the entire cushion, but its lack of angle still rankled. If I bought a Fit, I’d probably find some way to elevate the front seat-track anchors, maybe with pegs underneath made by a machinist. Once that’s fixed, the rest of the supportive seat would be enjoyed.
The white stitching is an elegant detail.
Rear seat roominess deserves special mention. Legroom is terrific at 39.3 inches, while larger hatchbacks like the Mazda3 are in the 36-inch range. Headroom accommodates a six-footer, even with the power sunroof.
The cargo area is short and tall, and it measures 16.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up. That’s mid-sized sedan territory, albeit with different proportions.
There’s also a neat bin under the flat floor. A cargo cover would be a dealer-installed option, and it’s curious that Honda didn’t simply include it as do most of its competitors.
For the general subcompact buyer, the Fit has lots of reasons to buy – it is one of the most versatile cars out there. For the car enthusiast, the EX with manual transmission holds promise as still having that good ol’ Honda fun factor, and that would be a nice bonus.
2015 Honda Fit EX-L With Navigation
Base Price: $20,800
Price as Tested: $21,590
Destination Charge: $790
Roominess and versatility
Effective LaneWatch side camera
Top EX-L trim is automatic-only
Flat front seat cushions
Knobless center screen