Honda’s entry in the competitive subcompact hatchback market is the Fit, now in it’s third generation and boasting a mid-cycle refresh for 2018.
Automakers commonly update their products during a particular model’s usual four-year cycle and this year, Honda has freshened the styling and introduced a new Sport trim level. Also new is the availability of the manufacturer’s Honda Sensing system that brings an enhanced level of safety technologies to the car.
The styling is certainly sportier this time around and more closely matches, and exceeds, that of rival vehicles in this market segment. It’s easy to understand the popularity of cars in this class. They are compact, easy to park and maneuver and perfect for busy urban streets. The hatchback design helps the owner transform the vehicle into a very useful load-carrier when the rear seats are folded away. Best of all, cars like the Fit are economical to operate with respect to fuel economy and maintenance.
The Fit is an ideal choice for younger drivers, especially city dwellers. They’re also a popular choice for retired folks who no longer need a large vehicle in the garage to deal with family demands. Although this is an inexpensive car, especially in basic form, it looks very sharp and sporty, particularly with the new grille with its more prominent “H” logo and a new treatment for the headlights. Fit buyers are often people with a strong sense of design and from that standpoint, it’s tough to fault the little Fit.
There are five trim choices for Fit buyers, so Honda is offering something for just about everybody. These are DX (basic), LX, Sport, EX and EX-L Navi, which as its name implies, includes a navigation system with a 7-inch touch screen.
All models come with a 1.5-litre, 16-valve, twin overhead cam four-cylinder engine. The powerplant puts out 130-horsepower with the 6-speed manual transmission and 128-horsepower with the available continuously variable gearbox (CVT). DX variants only come with the manual transmission. This is a responsive engine that adds a lot of fun-to-drive content to the Fit. Honda really knows how to build great power units and has lots of experience, being the world’s largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines.
The Fit may be a small car, but Honda has taken every step to make it a safe car. Among standard or available electronic security features are adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking system, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning plus a comprehensive suite of air bags. Honda points out that it has the best roster of safety technologies in its class.
Add to this a very welcoming and practical interior and it all adds up to a surprisingly desirable subcompact car. SUVs and crossovers may be the most popular family vehicles right now, but many drivers prefer a practical vehicle without any unnecessary bulk – an important point in congested urban areas. For that role, the Honda Fit gets the job done very efficiently indeed.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: Four-door, 5-place hatchback
ENGINE: 1.5-litre four-cylinder
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual or CVT
PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 8.5-secs
FUEL ECONOMY: 8.1-litres/100 km city; 6.6-litres/100 km hwy.
PRICE: $15,190 base MSRP