Honda’s little hatch that just Fits – your stuff and your lifestyle.
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
The most affordable car from Honda isn’t much of a looker, but it’s a hit in every other department.
Let’s have a closer look at this funny-looking little hatchback that can do it all.
The Fit’s overall shape is in line with a miniature minivan. Yeah, that’s it. It’s tall and it’s quite narrow. When it comes to the styling, like my mom always said, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. I’ll leave it at that, after noting that the Fit’s current design language is… well… interesting. It’s not offensive by any means, but it’s certainly not attractive in my books. It has been ever so slightly refreshed for this year – I noticed a new grille. There’s still the steeply-raked windshield and short stubby hood, and a deep crease on the side that makes it actually look longer than it is. The tall LED tail lights are nice, and my lower trim Fit had 15-inch wheels with wheel covers. They won’t get any second looks, but neither will the car.
The interior is pretty busy when it comes to the number of shapes and angles, and materials are as expected in an entry-level vehicle – hard plastics everywhere other than a bit of soft-touch stuff in front of the passenger and upholstered panels on the doors. The Fit continues to fulfill its mission in terms of roominess – it feels hugely spacious for such a small car. There is tons of head room and it doesn’t feel cramped in any seat. The Fit feels nicely equipped for a relatively base model. The steering wheel has plenty of functionality – it controls the main screen and the driver information screen. The heated fabric seats are reasonably comfortable lack supportive bolstering.
The touch screen handles audio (Bluetooth streaming and radio), phone and some car settings and any connection you make to your smartphone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The screen was quite responsive, Honda’s Display Audio interface is decent and the voice recognition was amazing. While it uses virtual buttons that force you to look away from the road, it does have a volume knob – thank you, Honda! A manual climate control system completes the centre stack.
You will find the Fit to be very nicely equipped in terms of driver assistance technology – forward collision warning system, collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, lane keep assist, a multi-angle rear-view camera and adaptive cruise control (something the $92,000 BMW X5 I just reviewed didn’t have…)
As small as the Fit is, it does offer three seats across the back. There is a good amount of leg room and plenty of head room. The outboard seats are comfortable, although just by virtue of the size of the Fit, the middle seat is quite narrow. There is nothing in the way of convenience or further comfort – no charging ports, no air vents, etc. You will find two sets of LATCH anchors if you’re securing child seats.
At the front of the centre console I found 12V and 1.5A USB plugs and an open bin. There are similar (12V and 1.0A USB) plugs under the armrest lid, along with a hard plastic bin – so whatever you keep in there will slide and rattle around. There are two cupholders where you’d expect them, but I really enjoyed the third cupholder on the left side of the steering wheel – it worked nicely to plop my phone into as well.
The magic happens toward the rear of the vehicle. I mean it. Honda even calls the rear seats Magic Seats. They split 60/40 but that’s just the start of it. First of all, the trunk starts with a significant 470L of cargo space – very generous for a tiny car. Those Magic Seats can be configured in four different ways.
- There’s the normal seating mode of course.
- Then there’s the Tall Mode, which flips the seat bottoms up and out of the way – this allows you to transport things that normally wouldn’t fit into the back seat area because of their height. Buying that big ficus tree from IKEA? No problem!
- The Long Mode allows you to fold the right rear seat down, as well as the front passenger seat – creating an insanely long cargo space.
- Of course, you can fold the entire rear row down for Utility Mode – which bumps things up to a shocking 1492L trunk. It is really, really big for this size of car.
- And finally, although this is a bit out in left field, Honda also mentions the Refresh Mode. Pop off the front passenger headrest, and you can fold the front passenger seat all the way back, essentially creating a La-Z-Boy for one rear passenger. Hey, maybe we’ll start seeing Fits as tiny executive limos soon!
Under the Hood
The front-wheel drive Fit has a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine that puts out 128HP at 6,600 RPM and 113 lb.ft of torque at 4,600 RPM. It can come with a manual transmission but my review sample had the optional CVT (continuously-variable transmission).
Fuel economy is definitely one of its virtues – it is rated at 7.0/5.9 L/100 km city/highway. We averaged 6.7 L/100 km during our week in it, which is very good.
Considering the numbers (which are pretty low), I was surprised at how much power the Fit has off the line. It’s very responsive and I loved that spirited feeling around town. Once you’re on the move, of course, the car doesn’t have much power and it really works hard when you need some jam. And when it does, the engine makes a lot of noise above 2000 RPM. Conversely, when just cruising (even at highway speeds), I was shocked at how quiet the Fit was – engine, road and wind noise were all very nicely controlled. For an entry-level vehicle, it was very impressive.
As with all Hondas, there’s an ECON driving mode which I found to be surprisingly drivable – in the past, Honda’s ECON modes have often made a complete slug out of a vehicle.
The CVT can be put into three slots when driving – Drive, Sport and Low. Sport mode feels quite responsive, and Low keeps the CVT in lower ratios which helps in hilly areas or for engine braking.
The Fit handles really well thanks to its light weight and small size and although this is no sports car and the steering is a bit numb, it’s kind of fun to throw it into the corners on occasion – it’s more playful than it looks. The ride is fine – it’s firm and feels refined and compliant enough to be comfortable.
Visibility out of the Fit is excellent, unless you have rear passengers – the rear headrests must slide up to accommodate passengers and they do impede your rear view. Its size is a boon when it comes to parking – I could slide the Fit into virtually any parking spot with no effort.
WAF (Wife Approval Factor) was somewhere in the middle. She really enjoyed the utility factor and was impressed how it handled a couple of her shopping trips – which says a lot. She wasn’t a fan of the looks whatsoever.
If you’re in the market for a small hatchback that does a lot, the Fit should absolutely be on your list. It’s brilliantly designed in terms of utility, it feels quite refined, comes surprisingly well-equipped in even this lower trim (never mind what all comes in the higher-trim levels) and is a fun, efficient way to get around. I wouldn’t hesitate putting one of these in my garage if it fit all of our family’s needs.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Honda Canada.
If you enjoyed this review, feel free to check out my other vehicle reviews under the car reviews tab at the top of my blog.
Pricing: 2018 Honda Fit
Base price (LX trim): $19,890
Price as tested: $19,890