Not so long ago, owning a subcompact like the Fit was considered to be a punishment for sins of a past life by most global societies. They were flimsy, clunky, loud, uncomfortable, if economical deathtraps. The original Fit did a lot to change that, though, and thankfully this new one has completely flipped the script.
The all-new 2015 Fit keeps — and improves on — the practicality of its predecessor, but adds some much-needed style and spirit of fun to the moniker.
Interior by Escher
Perhaps the single most impressive thing about the Fit is its interior volume … no, stop, don’t leave — it’s actually fascinating! The Fit is a small car, in fact its 1.6 inches shorter than the last Fit, and a full 32 inches shorter than the mid-size Accord. It simply disappears next to SUVs and crossovers.
Despite the miniscule exterior dimensions, the Fit has more rear legroom than the Accord and more available cargo space than a Yukon Denali even with its third-row seats folded. This is a stunning achievement and I am pretty sure it violates the laws of physics. So much so that it looks like Honda managed to get MC Escher to design the car. It’s good to see him getting work. After all, being dead for 42 years holds most people back.
The space-bending interior volume isn’t the only Escher-like trick that the Fit’s interior has up its sleeve. Not only do the rear seats fold down, they also fold up to create a large, deep load space, ideal for furniture or other bulky items. Despite Honda’s advertisements, I am reasonably sure it wouldn’t fit a centaur. But mine ran away last month, so I’ll likely never know.
Livable like no other small car
Speaking of Honda’s ads, I don’t think the serial killer would like how open and airy the interior of the Fit is either. However, most customers should. The high roofline and broad expanse of glass make the Fit seem even more capacious than it is. The airiness and light also help distract from the interior that is, to put it simply, that of a car that starts life at $15,560.
The Fit’s interior is a sea of dark plastics and low-cost trim that clearly mark it as a budget car. For all that, the interior doesn’t look bad. It may be fake, but the “aluminum” trim brightens things up, as well as giving the car a “designed” feel. The dash also boasts some nice soft-touch faux leather and, because Honda made it, everything fits absolutely perfectly.
The space-bending interior volume isn’t the only Escher-like trick that the Fit’s interior has up its sleeve.
Those looking for some luxury feel will have to spring for a loaded $21,745 EX-L, like my press demonstrator. For that price, customers get leather-trimmed seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen (the base model gets a 5.0-inch non-touchscreen). These additions don’t cover the car’s cheap roots, but they definitely give the owner a more upscale experience.
The Fit also doesn’t lack for modern toys and creature comforts. Even the most basic Fits come with A/C, power mirrors, power windows, cruise control, Bluetooth audio, a rearview camera, and a five-star safety rating. On the fully loaded car, customers get navigation, HondaLink infotainment, a blindspot camera, heated seats, and a moonroof. In short, just about everything a buyer might expect on a car that costs twice as much.
Regardless of cost, the Fit is an exceptionally comfortable place to spend time. The seats are good, and the interior has excellent ergonomics all around.
The new Fit also offers excellent styling. The combination of creased sides and funky front-end provide just the right amount of style and personality for a small car without venturing into aggressive wackiness. It’s a design that looks great now, and should also age well.
The Fit driving experience isn’t as polished as the styling or the interior design, but it is still well above average for a subcompact.
All Fits get their drive from a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 130 horsepower and 110 pound-feet of torque. It’s far from an overwhelming amount of power, but it is not bad for an engine that displaces less than the standard American soda serving.
Mated to either a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT), the little four-cylinder can propel the Fit to 60 mph in about eight seconds. This may not make it blisteringly quick, but it is a good second faster than most of subcompact competition.
Unfortunately, a chorus of what sounds like a million metallic bees eating one another accompanies any sprinting the Fit performs. My press demonstrator’s CVT accentuated this buzzy chorus by holding the engine at high rpms for long periods. At least the bees aren’t that thirsty: a CVT-equipped Fit is rated at a 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg highway.
The Fit lacks the poise and crispness of other subcompacts, especially the Ford Fiesta, but it is still a pleasure to drive. The body is extremely rigid and the light curb weight makes the car feel nimble. The steering lacks feedback, but has good on-center feel and highway manners. The suspension is soft enough to absorb bumps without turning the Fit into a squish monster.
People who really love driving may be let down, but the Fit is as good a compromise between everyday livability and precision dynamics as the price and segment will allow.
All the car you will ever needMost subcompact cars have their origin in Europe or Asia, where customers are willing to sacrifice size and refinement for a cheap car that will fit on overcrowded city streets. As such, nearly all of them have shortcomings for U.S. buyers.
Not so the Fit: it combines the exterior size and price of a subcompact with the interior room and features of a mid-size sedan. Unless customers demand all-wheel drive, there is really no demand that the Fit can’t satisfy. There are plenty of larger and more expensive cars that can’t make the same claim.
Critically, the Fit isn’t just a practical option; it also has a personality. This is partly down to the funky styling, but, more than that, the car feels charmingly purposeful, like a particularly determined pony. That is something that takes this car beyond the realm of simple transportation and truly makes this a great car for just about everyone.
- Physics-bending interior room
- Low cost
- Comfortable ride
- Excellent fuel economy
- Great available features
- Loud, coarse sounding engine
- Some interior materials feel cheap