By Douglas Kott, Contributing Editor
Honda has proven with the Fit that an entry-level economy car doesn't need to be devoid of personality, especially when it comes to design, features and being fun-to-drive. With the all-new 2015 Honda Fit, the automaker builds on the success of the original with notable improvements in spaciousness and creature comforts not found on any other car in its class. While the new 5-passenger hatchback doesn't have the cute, bug-eyed face of the previous one, the thinner headlights, deeper character lines and revised dimensions add both maturity and greater utility. These attributes, combined with the value it delivers in both its sticker price and fuel economy, compare favorably against a field of strong competitors such as the Nissan Versa Note, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent.
The 2015 Fit is affordable, easy to drive and can haul as much as a compact SUV. Perfect for off-to-college youngsters or empty nesters looking to downsize without sacrificing rear-seat legroom, the Honda hatchback offers new safety and connectivity features you'd expect in class-above vehicles like the Dodge Dart and Mazda3.
What the Fit's new continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) gives in extra mpg it takes away in driving pleasure. Though it performs admirably as far as CVTs go, there's still some engine drone at cruising speeds. In comparison, the Kia Rio offers a 6-speed automatic.
The Honda Fit is all-new for 2015. Perhaps the biggest change for the 5-door hatchback is a 4.8-inch increase in backseat legroom thanks to both a longer wheelbase and the repositioning of the rear 60/40 split folding seat.
Driving Impressions The fun-to-drive aspect of the 2015 Honda Fit isn't just about its power or hunkered-down suspension. The new model does have a more powerful engine, but it's is also slightly...... heavier. Instead, the satisfaction comes from its great outward visibility and upright seating position coupled with precise steering, good brake feel and predictable road manners. Just as the Fit has matured in styling, its trim levels also are a bit more formal – the choices are LX, EX and EX-L models. The LX comes with 15-inch wheels and tires, while the EX and EX-L have a 16-inch package with lower-profile tires. A redesigned rear suspension with increased torsional rigidity eliminates the need for the optional sway bar that came with the previous-generation's Sport package. Upgrades to the electric steering also provide a more linear feel and weighting appropriate to the vehicle's speed. While the Fit is a more serious automobile, there's still plenty of playful spirit in it.
MOTION ADAPTIVE ELECTRIC POWER STEERING
The Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering system monitors vehicle speed and steering angle and works in conjunction with the Vehicle Stability Assist to detect if the Fit begins to slide from its intended path. Using that input, the system will automatically initiate steering force to prompt the driver to take the proper corrective action.
Thanks to center-mounted fuel tank, the Honda Fit has a flexible folding rear seat that folds flat into the floor. Called the Magic Seat, this 60/40 split rear bench provides up to 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space, a 4.9 cubic-foot increase over the previous model and the best in class.
In remaking the Fit, Honda paid particular attention to the interior, making greater use of soft touch materials accented by silver trim. The front bucket seats are nicely bolstered and supportive and the instruments easy to see with blue-themed lighting. Major controls are well within reach and intuitive in operation. A 5-inch audio display screen for the audio system comes standard on LX models. The screen has an electrostatic-touch feature and sharp graphics thanks to its high-definition liquid crystal display. As on the previous model, there are an abundance of cup holders and storage bins, including a center-console box to accommodate loose items.Exterior
With clean lines and a large glass area, the 2015 Honda Fit combines a more muscular shape, thanks to the wider body and more pronounced character lines, while retaining the utility of its high-roof hatchback design. The large rear hatch has a low liftover providing ample access to the cavernous cargo area. The rear of the vehicle sports a rooftop spoiler and below-bumper diffuser which not only enhances the car's sporty looks, but also improves aerodynamics. EX and EX-L models sport aluminum-alloy wheels, additional chrome trim on the grille and rear liftgate, and fog lights.
Ready for an enticing list? Standard features found on the Honda Fit LX are a 6-speed manual transmission, rearview camera, automatic headlights, a 5-inch audio display screen, cruise control, remote keyless entry, power windows and door locks, one-touch up/down driver's window, air conditioning, a 60/40-split second row, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, LED taillights, a trip computer, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 160-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with a USB port and auxiliary audio input jack. Safety features include side-curtain airbags, and electronic traction and stability control.
On the EX and EX-L models, buyers can expect 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, fog lights, paddle shifters on the CVT, and keyless start/stop. Other EX/EX-L upgrades include a 7-inch screen (with navigation optional on EX-L models), along with a one-touch-operation moonroof and Honda Lane Watch which gives a camera view from the right side of the car when the right-turn signal is activated. Exclusive Fit EX-L features include leather upholstery and heated front seats. EX and EX-L models are equipped with a 180 watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers and two USB ports.
The 2015 Honda Fit 5-door is equipped with a new Earth Dreams DOHC 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine equipped with direct injection, which replaces the previous port-injected single-cam unit. It is also the first application in a subcompact of dual overhead camshafts (that's the "DOHC" part) that combines i-VTEC and Variable Timing Control (VTC) of the valvetrain. At high engine speeds, i-VTEC has a more aggressive cam profile to create more horsepower, while at lower engine speeds, the VTC retards valve timing to boost fuel economy. As a result, power is increased from 117 to 130 horsepower and fuel economy increases two mpg city and four mpg highway on the manual, four mpg city and six highway with the CVT on the LX, and four mpg city/three mpg highway on the EX and EX-L CVT.
130 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm
114 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/37 mpg (manual), 33/41 mpg (automatic, LX), 32/38, (automatic, EX and EX-L)
Thanks to its new production site in Mexico, Honda is able to pack extra features across the board on the 2015 Honda Fit without a substantial increase in the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). The LX model with a 6-speed manual transmission starts at $15,525 – an increase of only $100 over the previous base model. CVT-equipped models are $800 more. The EX starts at $17,435 for the manual and $18,235 for the CVT version. The EX-L comes only with the CVT and starts at $19,800. The Fit EX-L with navigation costs $1,000 more. 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.
By Bruce on Thursday, December 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, shifts smooth, GREAT mileage"
Cons: "LX model doesn't have the HDMI hookup"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Mine is an LX with the 6-speed manual. Such a great car! Even in the base model, you get a backup camera, cruise control, bluetooth stereo and phone services, and the magic seats are so great for moving stuff around! I'm 6'3 and I'm probably the tallest you can be while still comfortably driving this car, but it's incredibly roomy. No clue what reviewers who complain about a 'rough ride' or a 'noisy cabin' are talking about, some folks must have a crazy low tolerance for road noise. Something no one mentioned at the dealership or in any reviews, this thing has hill start assist! You don't roll back at a light if you get the manual transmission, which is awesome. I love this car, I get about 42-44 mpg on the highway if I keep it under 70 mph. Also, that cupholder up on the dash to the left of the steering wheel is so clever! Never thought I'd use it at first, I use it every day though now."
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By joe b on Saturday, November 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"nice little car but rides like a ww2 jeep. I most likely will sell it. mine is an lx model auto trans. anybody interested?"
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By spanky on Saturday, November 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 650overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Solid ,Roomy, versitile, fair price for EX"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Hondas have been in our garage since 1974-from lawn mowers to Acuras -- this 2015 FIT may be the BEST yet! iNCREDIBLE designed & roomy interior- feels like a midsize front & back seats. Acceleration is surprisingly peppy & fairly quiet. Ride is smooth & road noise is better than expected for this size car.Front visibility hasn't been discussed but is amazing.CVT trans is as good as it gets. On a back roads trip we got 44.1 mpg after 140 mi. LOVE IT! Seems it is the BEST FIT for our needs in a small second vehicle."
8 people out of 10 found this review helpful