I’m the first to admit I never really got on the Honda bandwagon. I understand they’re very well-made vehicles, they’re fun to drive, and they usually offer up a modern, different look inside and out. They’re also built to last and they can be affordable. I get it, I really do. They just never really “did it” for me, if you know what I mean.
Well, Honda is now starting (very slowly) to pull at my heartstrings. Beginning with the all-new 2016 Honda Civic Coupe I recently drove along the Sea-to-Sky highway, I have to say the Japanese automaker has stepped it up in all areas: design, comfort, style, and drivability.
Over the years, Honda felt like it had kind of lost its way and was relying much too heavily on the fact that it bore the giant “H” on its front grille. In other words, the rest didn’t matter because the brand would carry them. However, as manufacturers like Nissan, Kia, and Hyundai began nipping at their rear bumpers in segments they used to rule over, Honda started to wake up.
That’s definitely been the case with the recently revamped Honda Fit, the company’s smallest vehicle but perhaps its mightiest after the Civic. This funky little hatch is an extremely important product in their lineup, and the 2016 model might just be the tastiest version yet.
Fit all the things
To me, one of the best things about the 2016 Honda Fit is the fact that it is so very, very practical for such a little car. With four doors and a hatch, plus gobs of headroom and legroom in the rear, who needs a wagon or crossover? Add to that Honda’s oh-so-cool Magic Seat, and this sub-compact hatchback can pull double-duty as the weekend hauler for all your family/renovation/house moving/you-name-it-the-Fit-will-do-it needs! With 470 litres of trunk space (rear seats up), this little guy really isn’t all that little once you get inside.
Interior comfort is supreme, too, far exceeding one’s expectations for a vehicle that starts at just $21,590 in top-line EX-L Navi trim like my tester. Plush, leather-trimmed, and super comfy seats (which are also heated for winter goodness!) ensure long hauls are a breeze. Moreover, ample headroom means even taller passengers won’t feel cramped inside the 2016 Honda Fit, which looks deceptively small from the outside.
My young son had more than enough legroom in the rear, and his seat was easy to install. Even with the front passenger seat moved forward slightly to avoid footprints on the back, an average-sized adult was still comfortable up front.
The 2016 Honda Fit EX-L Navi comes equipped with HondaLink Next Generation with available bilingual voice recognition, as well as Bluetooth and SiriusXM satellite radio.
I love that the Fit only has a single centre display. The dual screens in other Honda/Acura products are a bit of overkill and quite unnecessary, really. The Fit’s dashboard looks and feels much cleaner, more concise, and is simply easier to manipulate and interact with. Buttons on the steering wheel also make life easier. You can change radio stations or take phone calls without removing your hands.
Fit all the performance
Hondas are always known for the way they drive. That’s just one of the Japanese automaker’s trademarks. Well, the 2016 Honda Fit is no different. Sure, it’s only got a 1.5L 4-cylinder i-VTEC engine that produces 130 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque, but with the standard manual transmission that engine can be an absolute joy to pilot, and it feels much more powerful than the numbers would suggest.
Even though my tester featured the optional CVT, I still had a good time. Honda calibrated its CVT to perform as if it had gears to shift, so there’s no concern with a CVT “drone.”
Where the 2016 Honda Fit really excels, in my books, is in ride quality. Sitting on 16” wheels, the Fit’s suspension and lighter and stiffer chassis (upgraded for 2015 when the vehicle was completely overhauled) ensure this hot little hatch stays hot even over rougher surfaces.
Steering is light and easy, making driving a pleasure, not a chore. At the same time, it doesn’t feel disconnected or removed in any way. The Honda Fit really is fun to drive and responds just as you’d hope a Honda would ― with vigour and personality ― while still delivering efficient performance for cheaper fills at the pumps.
Fit all the lifestyle and character
Design and character are other strong attributes of the 2016 Honda Fit. There’s something about its front fascia that just makes me smile. It sports a great new front grille that’s not only modern, but also just aggressive enough to make a serious statement on the road. Available in colours such as Aegean Blue Metallic and Mystic Yellow, the Fit is definitely made for the young at heart.
This car is quirky enough to appeal to those in the market for something that’s both practical and different, but who aren’t willing to embark on life with a Kia Soul or Nissan JUKE (for the ultimately different). The Honda Fit makes a statement about its driver, and that statement is: I like to stand out, but I also like to make smart decisions. It’s a fine line to tread, but somehow Honda’s done it well with the 2016 Fit.
Despite the Nissan Micra seriously riding their bumper, and the all-new Toyota Yaris hatchback not far behind, Honda’s still holding strong with the Fit, but will have to keep upping its game if it wants to retain that top-of-the-pack status.