Are you in the market for a new car and thinking about downsizing strictly because your needs have changed, however, the thought of giving up on bells and whistles is not part of your plan? You’re in luck as carmakers are looking out for you, and many other would-be small-luxurious car buyers.
Right sizing is a really big trend in the utility segments at the moment, and in the industry as a whole. The small car is no longer a compromise, amenities-wise or otherwise. The new Honda Fit is a perfect example of a compact (sub-compact actually) playing in the big leagues with leather, auto climate control, navigation, proximity key entry system, and more.
To boot, the Fit is a blast to drive, but if I had to find a sore-ish spot it would be its new styling. The previous ‘09-‘14 Fit was far more elegant and easy on the eyes. Tastes are always tough to argue, but there’s no doubt that the 2015 Honda Fit is a brilliant user-friendly small car that is sure to please.
It’s all here
There are so many good reasons to spring for a new Honda Fit. Let’s start with what we can plainly see.
The Fit’s cabin, nine model years in, is bar-none the best sorted in the segment. As far as utility and convenience are concerned, nothing beats the car’s Magic Seats. Finally, this setup has now found its way into another Honda, the all-new HR-V. The 60/40-rear bench folds, flips and flattens in moments, opening up countless storage possibilities. In fact, having recently moved into my new house, the girlfriend and I ended up using her ’14 Fit to haul stuff and leaving my Porsche Macan behind…
When in actual use, the seats all around are comfortable and reasonably supportive. With the bench in place, cargo space is an impressive 470 litres, and when down, volume increases to a CUV-like 1,492 litres!
Once more, aesthetics are often a moot discussion point, however, Honda’s decision to make the Fit’s dashboard more grown-up has taken away some of its numerous storage areas. It is all very functional and the layout is user-friendly, in the car’s image. In the Fit, as opposed to the Accord, Honda has wisely decided to keep things simple by forgoing the second screen for a touch-sensitive climate control panel.
A word on the body
OK, so I’m still going to say a few words on the 2015 Fit’s outer shell. At the very real risk of sounding old, I think there’s simply too much going on with the Fit’s body panels. Honda has gone a little overboard with the storm-trooper front fascia and the over-sculpted taillights and rear bumper.
I assume that this was to attract a younger crowd (same happened with the current Yaris), but a near complete absence of class might not work. One positive comment about the car’s design is that the thin “A” pillars and high roofline give the car excellent visibility.
What you don’t see
All 2015 Fits get a sprightly 1.5L 4-cylinder engine. Its 130 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque are loads of fun.
Best part? My tester was equipped with…wait for it…a 6-speed manual gearbox! Hallelujah! Optionally, the Fit’s mill can be mated to a CVT that does a fine job. But! But the #savethemanuals gearbox is lovely to work with. Shift lever throws are light, and the clutch’s action is easy.
According to Honda, the CVT will help you achieve far better fuel numbers than the 6M. I averaged just over 8L/100km while Honda states 7.3L. With the CVT, the predicted number is 6.8L/100km. Either way, the fun to economy quotient is great.
The front MacPherson and rear torsion-beam suspension is simple in design, but highly effective on the road. Lean is controlled and the ride is good, bordering on firm. This means the Fit remains stable at highway speeds but is never punishing. The electric power steering fits with the car’s personality, and the brakes are also perfectly suited to the car.
Fitting in the ring
The subcompact segment is bursting with good cars. No other category is more price-sensitive, especially where the entry point is concerned. A base 2015 Fit requires $14,575 while my loaded EX-L Navi asks for $21,375. At the top end of the pricing scale, the issue is less important.
Nissan picked up on this immediately and undercut everyone with their $9,998 Micra. I’ve driven this car and it is brilliant. The Micra hurts all small cars, none more than the pathetic Mirage that Mitsubishi wanted $12,498 for. In order to soften the blow to its dealers, Mits has since offered a $2,500 reduction in price -- too little too late IMO.
Other notables are the Hyundai Accent, Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta, and the Kia Rio. Out of all of the above-mentioned cars, the Fit and Micra are tops. The Fit is quicker and marginally quieter, but the Micra is far better looking. Honda does give you a little more car than Nissan does, but a test-drive is in order. Very tough call.
In the end, if you are looking to right-size with equipment, the Micra won’t fit the bill, but the Versa Note might. Yeah, Nissan’s got every angle covered here. A loaded Note with Navi and more is a few grand cheaper than the Honda, but I’d go for the Fit here for two reasons: engine and those Magic Seats.