By KBB.com Editors
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.You'll Like This Car If...
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.You May Not Like This Car If...
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 It 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.Favorite Features
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.Notable Standard Equipment
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).Notable Optional Equipment
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.Under the Hood
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)
The 2011 Honda Fit has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $15,800 with the five-speed manual. Models equipped with the automatic transmission add about $800 to the base price. The MSRP for the Sport trim starts closer to $17,500 and a fully loaded model with navigation tops out just over the $20,000 mark. To get the best deal, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what consumers in your area are currently paying for the Fit. As for residual values, we expect the Fit to be on par with the Toyota Yaris and Scion xD, but better over time than the Chevrolet Aveo5, Nissan Versa and Kia Rio5.