The Richmond Auto Mall - Tony Whitney Reviews

Jun 20, 2016

2016 HONDA FIT EX-L NAVI SUBCOMPACT HATCHBACK

2016 HONDA FIT EX-L NAVI SUBCOMPACT HATCHBACK

The Honda Fit is a subcompact hatchback and on a worldwide basis, one of Honda’s best-selling vehicles. It’s been around now since 2001, but it was 2006 before the car made its North American debut. It’s built in eight countries and so far, Honda has built an impressive 5-million of them. In some countries, it’s called the Honda Jazz, if ever you want to rent one while on vacation.

My most recent Fit driving experience was with an EX-L Navi model, which is the flagship of the range and with its leather seats and navigation system, comes close to being a subcompact luxury car. It’s good to be able to buy a small car that has excellent basic design in upscale guise. With many rival ranges, you have to go to the model size up to get some of the goodies that come with the EX-L.

The current Fit is the third generation model and has been with us now for just over a couple of years. Initial Fit models I tried drove and handled very well indeed but I was never that happy with the styling. Since then, the Fit has improved greatly in this respect as each generation appeared. It’s now as neat and attractive as any car in this class and probably better than most.

Its hatchback bodywork is highly practical, which I was able to confirm when I had to move a few cases of wine for a friend. The rear seats fold down flat and the rear head restraints snuggle right down flush with the top of the seatbacks, creating a large cargo floor that takes moments to set up. Incidentally, the head restraints deploy properly into position for tall rear passengers, so safety isn’t sacrificed for the handy, easy-fold design.

Like all great small car designs, the Fit is very compact and easy to park and maneuver, but surprisingly roomy inside. I felt very comfortable driving the car and was impressed with the design of the driver’s seat and the generous headroom. It’s also very easy to get in and out of, a key factor in a car that sells widely to seniors as well as young families.

Fit power comes from an economical 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder, 16-valve i-VTEC engine, which drives, as is usually the case with this class of car, the front wheels. It produces 130-horsepower, which is fine for city work and perfectly capable on the freeway. Other tech highlights include availability of either a continuously variable automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual. My test car came with the CV, though you can get an EX-L Navi with a manual. The little car has all-round ABS disc/drum brakes. All models – DX, LX, EX and EX-L Navi – have the same mechanical specification. The two top variants come with cast alloy wheels.

The cabin is well laid out with sensibly placed instruments and controls and plenty of knee room in the back. The navigation system is easy to set up and has a touch-screen. Similarly, it takes just a moment to hook up a mobile phone to the hands-free system that’s built in. Many controls are on the steering wheel, which makes life a little easier. The front seatbelts are adjustable for height and there’s plenty of interior stowage space for smaller items.

Like all Hondas, The car is beautifully put together and finished and owners can look forward to a long life from a vehicle that’s durable and very intelligently designed and built. The ride is better than might be expected from a short wheelbase subcompact, but obviously doesn’t match a larger model like a Civic or an Accord. Overall, it’s one of the better subcompacts on the Canadian market right now.

SPECS AT A GLANCE…

BODY STYLE: Four-door hatchback

ENGINE: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder

TRANSMISSION: Continuously variable automatic, as tested (6-speed manual available)

PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 11.5-secs

FUEL ECONOMY: 7.3-litres/100 km city; 6.1-litres/100 km hwy. (Automatic)

PRICE: Price range is approximately $14,700 to $22,890