By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.1
Americans have a love/hate relationship with subcompact cars. When times are good, we seem to prefer big, gas thirsty beasts to fuel efficient cars like the 2012 Honda Fit subcompact. But these are not such good times, and a car like the economical Honda Fit makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. The Fit is a tall car, with plenty of head and legroom for tall occupants. It has a versatile 5-door configuration, so larger items like bikes, skis or surfboards can easily fit in the Fit. And, perhaps most importantly, the subcompact Honda Fit strikes a nice balance between fuel economy and driving fun. While there are only a handful of subcompacts to challenge the 2012 Honda Fit, few have the backing of one of the most trusted automotive companies in recent memory. Honda's 5-door Fit is more than just inexpensive transportation. It is frugal on fuel, big on comfort, has lots of cool features, and is darn cute to boot. With competitors such as the Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio5, not to mention the newest subcompact challenger, the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, Honda's plucky 5-door has its work cut out to keep pace. But, if you're looking for a proven commodity with a sterling reputation for quality, economy and resale, then the 2012 Honda Fit 5-door is the right subcompact at the right time.
If getting 35 miles per gallon (mpg) in a car that can fit four full-sized adults sounds like a dream come true, imagine it in a car that costs less than $16,000 and holds its value better than anything in its class. The 2012 Honda Fit 5-door subcompact can do all these things, plus is fun to drive and inexpensive to maintain.
If you're looking for maximum fuel economy at a minimal price, the 2012 Honda Fit isn't the right subcompact for you. If you can forego the 5-door layout, the sedan versions of the Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio cost less, as do the 5-door Chevy Sonic, Hyundai Accent and Nissan Versa.
For 2012, Honda's Fit subcompact receives a number of improvements. The Fit Sport model gets a front-end facelift, while the base Fit 5-door gains color-key exterior mirrors. Inside, minor updates are made to the Sport and base car's accents, while both trims receive more soundproofing to help quiet the cabin.
Driving Impressions If you're expecting the 2012 Honda Fit to handle like a miniature Civic Si, think again. However, we admit we were surprised how much fun this car is, especially considering...its subcompact status. We like the Fit's precise steering and its ability to keep its poise during hard cornering. The feeling gets even better when behind the Sport trim's steering wheel, which features paddle shifters on models equipped with the automatic transmission. The Honda Fit Sport is equipped with larger wheels and more aggressive tires, as well as a thick rear stabilizer bar, giving it a more playful attitude. With only 117-horsepower under the hood, the Honda Fit sometimes has to struggle on steep hills or when asked to overtake slower traffic. But in normal freeway driving the little Fit seems eager to please and has no problem merging from onramps or keeping up with fast-moving traffic. Of course, that's with one person in the driver's seat. Load the 5-door Honda Fit with additional passengers, however, and acceleration takes a noticeable turn toward the slower. The short-throw 5-speed manual transmission can help with quicker acceleration, however, and to our way of thinking it's just more fun to drive than the automatic.
The available touchscreen navigation system inside the 2012 Honda Fit includes a voice recognition feature that allows you to speak rather than type in commands. Without ever removing your hands from the steering wheel, you can control the navigation, locate the nearest gas station, even find restaurant by genre.
With this universally accepted connection, the 5-door Fit can accommodate portable audio players and USB storage devices which can be controlled via the car's audio system.
Where recent Honda interiors have been criticized for being too conservative, the 2012 Fit clearly didn't get the memo. Blue-lit gauges are surrounded by a curvaceous instrument panel flanked by equally elaborate door panels and seats. The Fit's interior is as fun as it is functional, with high seating positions both front and back, generous head, hip and legroom all around ,and convenient storage areas such as the cupholders built into the lower doors. When not carrying passengers, the 2012 Honda Fit's 5-door configuration can be utilized to load up all manner of gear. Just fold the rear seats flat and a respectable 57.3 cubic-feet of cargo space is ready for loading. That's more cargo room than in the Nissan Versa or Kia Rio5! Making the process even easier is a flat-folding front-passenger seat and Honda's rear "Magic Seat," which can be folded flush without having to remove the head restraints. OK, maybe it's not magic, but it is exactly the type of clever engineering people have come to expect from Honda.Exterior
The 2012 Honda fit 5-door subcompact is more wagon than hatchback, bearing strong similarities to the popular Honda Civic Wagon of the mid 1980s. Designed with Americans in mind, the Honda Fit's tall roof and doors make it easy to get into and out of, while the generous expanse of glass, including triangular mini windows ahead of the front doors, gives everyone inside a clear view out. A long wheelbase gives the 2012 Honda Fit a smooth ride and a more stable platform – it also greatly increases the amount of legroom available to rear-seat passengers. The Fit's styling is rather progressive for an inexpensive subcompact, but its youthful appeal isn't lost on the Fit's target audience. The Sport trim takes things as step further, with a color-keyed lower body kit and spoiler, black headlamp bezels and dark "machine-finished" 16-inch alloy wheels.
The base 2012 Honda Fit 5-door includes a 5-speed manual transmission, power door locks and windows, power mirrors, a rear-window 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, antilock brakes, and Electronic Brake Distribution.
One trim up is the Fit Sport, which includes a security system, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, color-keyed side mirrors, chrome exhaust finishers, a 6-speaker sound system and, with the 5-speed automatic transmission, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Exterior upgrades include an underbody kit, a roofline spoiler, foglights, rear stabilizer bar and 16-inch dark "machine surface" finished alloy wheels. The Sport trim can also be ordered with Honda's satellite-linked navigation with voice recognition software. The automatic transmission is available for both trims.
The 2012 Honda Fit 5-door 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 enhances performance while still achieving good fuel economy and low emissions. The Fit transmissions come in two different 5-speed flavors: manual and automatic. The automatic version uses a 3-mode system: a "normal" drive mode, a "sport" mode that holds off shifting gears for maximum performance, and a "manual" mode, which allows the driver to shift gears with paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
1.5-liter in-line 4
117 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm
106 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/33 (manual, Sport automatic), 28/35 (automatic)
By polishedmetal on Thursday, February 05, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great little car!"
Cons: "Not a lot of power to get up hills."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I am the original owner of a 2012 Honda Fit - non sport version. I researched so many cars and finally had to decide between the Mazda 3 hatchback and the Fit. The Fit won out because with the seats down I could fit an 8 foot surfboard in the car. I've really enjoyed the Fit and love all the different seat configurations. It gets good mileage. It's inexpensive to maintain. It's just a really simple, bare bones, reliable car. It gets me where I need to go and I'm able to park in all the tiny parking spots, which is great."
11 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By sandy on Saturday, January 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great little car, gas great milage"
Cons: "Bad black cloth interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Comfort and mileage great. Its those cloth seats. Constantly dirty looking, everything on them shows. Can't keep clean looking. Hate them. Only reason I am trading for new car 2015 with leather. They should offer better color inside than black."
13 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By Pete on Sunday, January 18, 2015
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Crashed it
Pros: "Value, exterior design, interior flexibility"
Cons: "Road Noise, Interior fabric materials"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Bought an 09 Fit Sport new in 2008 and put 128K miles on it till I crashed it (my fault) in December 2014. 10 for reliability as I only changed oil, tires, brakes (twice). Had to add Freon a few times as cooling system had flaw in this year. Factory tire size is goofy and hard to come by so buy a close match and ask your tire dealer. Also be advised this car has a timing chain not belt (yes!). Resale value is a 10 as used fit's are hot and sell well. Exterior design and interior flexibility are awesome. Road noise is pronounced so I hope you like the radio loud. Interior fabric is very cheap and the biggest negative I have on the car. Overall a very reliable, cool looking, great value car."
22 people out of 39 found this review helpful
By Sallie50 on Tuesday, January 06, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After 18 years of Accords I wanted a car that was taller, narrower, and shorter. The Fit really fits. Plus it is comfy, versatile, and oh so cute."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By mike on Saturday, January 03, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "great gas mileage, great utility usage of space,"
Cons: "service problems, paint fading"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I thought that this would be my last car to purchase knowing that Hondas are reliable or that's what we are told. I have enjoyed this car until recently. After 5 years and only 27000 miles, I have had several repairs. The most notworthy was the ac fan motor had to be replaced last year. However, now the paint is fading on the hood and top, even with the sealant which was purchased. I do keep it in garage. I have had to replace the tires and battery. It is having rattle issues of late. It does bottom out very easily and you have to be careful at low spots. It has a lot of road noise, I cannot hear the phone. This is not the car's fault, but I have had several near collisions, side swipes, lately. I am not sure if the car cannot be seen,it is red, because of the small size or if folks are not paying attention. However very good gas mileage, better than advertised. Very good utility useage of space. I do like those features. I am sorry to say I would not buy this car again."
5 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By alfagirl on Monday, December 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good space usage, fairly decent mileage for size"
Cons: "Needs a few amenities"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"When the Fit was first introduced, I thought "that's my next car". A year ago, I purchased a used 2011, in a bit of a hurry as I was in a state of need. It does everything it needs to, has excellent space usability, is pretty comfortable - even on long road trips, and gets fairly good gas mileage. It has been decent in snow, and I have only put snow tires on the front, thus far. I like the narrow wheels!! There are a few disappointments, for me. This vehicle, at its weight, with standard transmission should be getting much better gas mileage. My 2004 Hyundai Elantra with 150K was still getting 32-33 mpg when I gave it up; Honda with this engine should be getting 40 mph regularly (with same driving style.) After two Hyundais - one basic, one GT - I found a few amenities missing in the Honda. Understanding that the Fit is an entry-level vehicle, I still expected slightly more from a basic Honda: better seat adjustment (fore-and-aft driver's seat height adjustment, at minimum. While the vehicle is very narrow, some sort of console would be helpful, even though it does have two glove boxes. Would prefer a key fob, vs. key with locks/emergency button - it's ridiculous to spend $85 - $100 to get an extra key cut and programmed; understand this is the "wave," but it stinks. Visibility is good, but those silly extra windows in front are pointless- they're unnecessary on a car this size. Interior lighting is lacking - there is only a middle ceiling light, linked to the doors; map lights over windshield would be very helpful. A light in rear storage area would be helpful, too. Trip meter/odometer has some unnecessary features - I don't need the mileage gauge, or percentage of oil life features, but since it is entry-level, perhaps those are designed for less experienced drivers. A slightly larger oil sump and oil filter would make me happier, and the 0-20 weight oil gives me some concern. The star of this vehicle is the stowage and rear-seat versatility. The many ways to configure the back seat, and the underseat storage when it is in regular seating position is great. Best part: when lowered, rear seat back is flat with rear storage area floor - that is how it should be! Worst part, for me - it is simply ugly! I like a vehicle to be pleasing to view as I approach it; this ugly little duckling simply is not. Not even really ugly-funky-cute. But, the entire current Honda family is ugly; can't believe those aerodynamics are really necessary at speeds up to 85 mph; it certainly isn't reflected in fuel mileage. Also, those aerodynamics do nothing to help stability in wind; I have driven small cars for much of my life and have never driven anything so badly affected by wind on the road. But, again, it does what it needs to, is reasonably energy efficient, and will hold an amazing amount of stuff."
19 people out of 24 found this review helpful