By KBB.com Editors
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More people are discovering you don't have to pay a lot to get a lot of car. Such is the case with the 2013 Honda Fit, a subcompact 5-door that is surprisingly roomy, loaded with cool features, and pretty darn cute to boot. Taller than most cars its size, the Fit offers upright seating with ample headroom and legroom both front and rear. And, because it's a Honda, the Fit naturally gets great gas mileage while concurrently delivering a high level of fun-to-drive. For those who would rather wave goodbye to gasoline altogether, there's the new all-electric Fit EV. Granted, competitors like Ford's Fiesta, Chevy's Sonic and Kia's Rio5 are equally attractive, but Honda has been in the small car game a lot longer, and that carries some weight.
If finding a small car that can comfortably fit four adults for around $16,000 seems like a pipe dream, its time to wake up. The Honda Fit not only qualifies, it also gets around 35 mpg on the highway and holds its value better than just about anything in its class.
While its fuel economy figures are not bad, they pale compared to the 40-mpg numbers posted by cars like the Kia Rio5, Ford Fiesta and Chevy Sonic. Also, the sedan versions of those cars cost less than the 5-door only Honda Fit.
Joining the lineup for 2013, the new battery-electric Fit EV represents Honda's first attempt at a modern electric car in the U.S. market. Given its $37,000-plus sticker price (final cost after the 36-month lease, incentives included), only 1,100 copies will be produced over the next three years, with availability limited to all but a handful of states.
Driving Impressions If you're expecting the 2013 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.
The available touchscreen navigation system inside the 2013 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, and even find restaurants 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 2013 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, and generous headroom and legroom all around. When not carrying passengers, the rear seats fold flat to create a respectable 57.3 cubic-feet of cargo space. That's more cargo room than in the Nissan Versa or Kia Rio5!Exterior
Designed with Americans in mind, the 2013 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 Fit a smooth ride and a more stable platform – it also increases the amount of legroom available to rear-seat passengers. 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 Honda Fit hatchback for 2013 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 with under-seat storage, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a tilt-and-telescoping 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 side-curtain airbags, electronic traction and stability control, and antilock brakes with 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, fog lights, 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, but requires the automatic transmission.
The 2013 Honda Fit 5-door has a 1.5-liter engine equipped with Honda's advanced i-VTEC system. The i-VTEC setup varies the intake and exhaust valve actuation to enhance 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. From zero rpm, the Fit EV's permanent magnet electric motor pushes a whopping 189 lb-ft of peak torque through a single-speed gearbox. Once the battery is depleted, a full recharge using the standard 120-volt power supply takes roughly 15 hours, while a 240-volt source (not included) requires only three.
117 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm
106 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/33 mpg (manual, Sport automatic), 28/35 mpg (automatic)
AC synchronous electric motor
20 kWh lithium-ion battery pack
92 kW/123 horsepower @ 3,695-10,320 rpm (sport mode)
189 lb-ft of torque @ 0-3,056 rpm
EPA-estimated range: 82 miles
The 2013 Honda Fit subcompact has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $16,000 with the 5-speed manual gearbox. Models equipped with the automatic add about $800 to the base price. The MSRP for the Fit Sport starts closer to $18,000 and a fully loaded model with navigation tops out just over the $20,500 mark. To make your 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 resale values, we expect the 2013 Honda Fit to do slightly better than the 2013 Toyota Yaris and Scion xD, but better over time than the Chevrolet Sonic, Nissan Versa, Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio5.
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