By KBB.com Editors
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Having temporarily abandoned the subcompact car genre that helped established the brand, Honda has recently rejoined the game with its five-door Fit. The Fit represents a return to Honda's roots, a car that mimics the attitude and determination of the first Honda Civic but with modern day comfort and safety features unimaginable in the Civic's early years. Cute, frugal, fun-to-drive and above all else notoriously reliable, the Fit exists to challenge new entries such as Scion, Hyundai and MINI, as well as Toyota's Yaris Sedan. Although the Fit is priced a bit higher than most of its competitors, Honda offers a substantial number of standard features, plus one attribute you won't find on any option list: Outstanding resale value.
Finding a compact car that can "fit" four full-size adults is not always easy, but the Fit can do just that and more. The 35-mpg Fit offers good fuel economy, excellent resale and reliability ratings and legendary Honda build quality.
The Fit is cute, but it ain't cheap. If your starting point is in the $12-13K range and you don't care about the hatchback aspect, you'll probably want to start with the Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Aveo or Kia Rio. All three cars offer better highway fuel economy, while the Kia comes with a longer standard warranty.
For 2011, Honda's Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) is included in the Fit's standard equipment, as are cruise control, remote keyless entry and a USB audio interface. The Fit Sport gains carpeted floor mats and four new colors are added to the car's color palate.
Driving Impressions Though we didn't expect the Fit to handle like a sports car, we were pleasantly surprised by its agile handling, precise steering and limited body roll and lean. The feeling...behind the Fit's wheel gets even better when driving the Sport trim, which adds larger wheels and tires and a rear stabilizer bar. On the open road, the Fit's meager horsepower and torque have it struggling somewhat on moderate inclines, but the car proves eager when it comes to accelerating on the freeway or darting across intersections. Sport models outfitted with the automatic transmission feature paddle shifters that make downshifting for passing a snap. But, for all-around driving fun we still prefer the short throw five-speed manual transmission. In-cabin noise is fairly subdued for a subcompact and, overall, we found the Fit to be comfortable, with adequately bolstered seating and easy-to-reach climate and audio controls. Compared to many of its competitors, the Fit's driving dynamics feel more refined and confident.
The available touch-screen navigation system includes a voice recognition feature that allows you to speak rather than type in commands. Without ever removing your hands from the wheel, you can control the navigation, locate the nearest gas station, even find restaurant by genre.
With this universally accepted connection, the Fit can accommodate portable audio players and USB storage devices which can be controlled via the car's audio system.
Where some recent Honda vehicles have been criticized for their conservative interiors, the Fit earns no such censure. From its super cool dash and blue-lit instrument cluster to the deeply sculpted door panels and seats, the 2011 Honda Fit offers a fun and functional interior. Honda engineers have loaded their little car with all sorts of storage areas, including places to stash everything from breath mints to cell phones to coffee cups. Overall interior space is impressive for this class, with ample headroom and legroom, both front and rear. Fold the Fit's rear seat flat, and the interior offers up a respectable 57.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity, more than either the Nissan Versa or Kia Rio5. Honda's "Magic Seat" may take some liberties in its name, but we must admit it's a pretty neat trick for the rear seat to fold flush without having to remove the headrest. For maximum cargo hauling, the Fit's front seat can be folded flat, providing enough space for items up to seven feet, nine-inches long.Exterior
The 2011 Honda Fit draws inspiration from a number of sources, but to our eyes it is the clear descendent of the late '80s Honda Civic wagon, a car that has an almost cult-like following among Honda fanatics. The tall roof line and doors make it easy for tall folk to climb in and out, and the ample use of glass, especially forward of the front door, gives everyone inside a clear, unobstructed view. The Fit's long wheelbase provides maximum interior room, as well as a more stable and comfortable ride. With large, sharply angled headlamps, an aggressively styled lower air dam and a super cab-forward design, the Fit's styling is eye-catching enough to have mass appeal beyond its intended 20-something demographic. Toss in the Sport trim's 16-inch alloy wheels, color-key lower body kit and rear spoiler, and the economically minded Fit looks anything but a boring sub compact.
The base 2011 Honda Fit includes a five-speed manual transmission, power door locks and windows, power mirrors, a rear wiper/washer, 15-inch wheels with full covers, 60/40-split second-row Magic Seat with under-seat storage, cruise control, remote keyless entry, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, a 160-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with four speakers, a USB audio interface, and an auxiliary audio input jack. Safety features include dual front airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags, electronic traction and stability control (VSA), anti-lock brakes, and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD).
One trim up is the Sport, which includes a security system, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, color-key side mirrors, chrome exhaust finishers, a six-speaker sound system and, with the automatic transmission, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Exterior upgrades include an underbody kit, a roofline spoiler, fog lights, rear stabilizer bar and 16-inch alloy wheels. The Sport trim can also be ordered with Honda's satellite-linked navigation with voice recognition software. An automatic transmission is available for both trims.
The 2011 Honda Fit has a 1.5-liter engine equipped with Honda's advanced i-VTEC system. The i-VTEC varies the intake and exhaust valve events, which in turn enhances performance while still achieving good fuel economy and low emissions. The Fit comes in two different flavors: Manual and automatic. The automatic version uses a three-mode system: a normal drive mode; a sport mode, which holds off shifting gears for maximum performance; and a manual mode, which allows the driver to shift gears with the paddle shifters.
1.5-liter in-line four
117 horsepower @ 6600 rpm
106 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/33 (manual, Sport automatic), 28/35 (automatic)
By daisymay (WA) on Monday, April 22, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "better than expected MPG"
Cons: "Don't care for power windows, door locks, USB, etc"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Bought mine new for $17,000 or so with tax and license, 5 speed manual. I've had it for 1 1/2 years and only have 7000 miles on it, use it mainly for city/country driving. Getting 38-40 MPG, was more like 34-36 at first. You can "Fit" a lot into it with the rear seats down. Very happy with my purchase! If I had to find a complaint it would be it's a little noisy from inside...and of course there's not much power there, but seems to take the mountain passes OK. Freeway driving MPG drops to around 35."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By fit freak (CA) on Saturday, April 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive but I like sticks"
Cons: "Plenty of cup holders."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I only have had it for six months, but I really enjoy it. There are only two things questionable about it and that is the slight hesitancy in third gear, which doesn't seem to add up to much, and the fact that it's too low on the front bumper. I have the manual base model, and I would advise that nobody buy the sport model, since the bumper is even lower. Mine scrapes so I can't imagine how badly the sport scrapes when going in and out of steep driveways, or even not so steep driveways. But this is not unusual for newer cars. All of my friends with minivans report the same thing, this scraping, and let's face it; we see it everywhere on the driveways, those markings. Great car. Totally understandable why US News says greatest small economy car. I only have 8,000 miles on my 2013, but expect it to go many many more. AC great, and radio very good too. Storage is incredible. The things I can fit in the Fit :)..."
8 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By DP (NJ) on Wednesday, April 10, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I purchased this car because I thought it was cute (yeah who buys a car for cuteness?) anyway.. I loved it for a couple months until I had neck and back pain which I blame on the ergonomics of driving this very Uncomfortable car. I purchased a cheap cushy chair pad at walmart to help my aching butt on my 2 hr daily commute to work. The cushion helped but I constantly have neck and left shoulder pain from this car. Why do I blame it on the car? because I never had this pain BEFORE the car. I love the spacious ness of the inside of it and its still cute, but Im hating the long drives and being uncomfortable, Im done after 3 years and looking for a new car."
7 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Melliejones (MO) on Tuesday, April 09, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,846overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "gas mileage, fun to drive, good storage places"
Cons: "wish the interior came in a color besides BLACK !!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love my Honda Fit. It gets great gas mileage. I get around 35 mpg. The back seats drop easily and it will hold all 3 of my dogs and lots of luggage or bark mulch etc. I bot the bright royal blue. I wanted purple but that color was discontinued in 2010. It has many little storage places and many cup holders."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Gen (MI) on Monday, April 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Getting 40+mpg in the summer, especially on long trips, but generally 36-37mpg around town. Love the diversity of the back seat fold-downs. You can store items under the back seats when in up or down position. In the down position, the back is so flat, you can sleep in the car. Only complaint is the floor fabric is cheap and wears quickly. In spite of this, it's good value for the money."
By Seahag (NY) on Monday, April 01, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "inside room, body style, dash board features"
Cons: "poor mpg, shifting, accelerating"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Am so disappointed in this 2010 Fit Sport Automatic. Had a 2008 Fit standard, and it was such a dreamboat car. Unbelievable mileage, handling, shifting, inside room, you name it, it had it. It was totalled, and got this 2010 automatic, 2 years newer with half the mileage. Drives like a truck, noisy, cruise control won't work consistently, hate the paddle shifting, it's a dog on the highway and in town. It chuggs when upshifting, 18 wheelers pass me going up a slight grade. What happened to Honda engineering? They should hire the 2008 team back. Sorry Honda. I'm going back to the dealership to see what they will do for me. I am sad."
7 people out of 13 found this review helpful