Stretching a dollar never goes out of style, even when gasoline prices drop to new lows. Still very much married to the economy car market, Honda redesigned its popular subcompact hatchback, the Fit, for 2015.
As it did when first introduced in 2006 as a 2007 model, the new Fit continues to offer versatility and fuel economy in a cute affordable package. On a recent weeklong test drive of the Fit EX-L in Austin, the nimble subcompact slipped into the urban lifestyle like a glove.
Economy cars tend to be light on style and heavy on value but the Fit elevates its class with flair as well as function. On the outside, a roofline spoiler, slimmer headlights, LED taillights, and a segment-exclusive rearview multi-angle camera are standard on all Fits for a starting price just $100 more than the outgoing model.
Enhanced versatility begins with a larger interior that includes seating for five and 60/40 split rear seats that expand to 52.7 cubic feet of cargo room when folded flat.
A 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 130 horsepower commands all Fits. It can be matched to two new transmissions—a six-speed manual (available on LX and EX models only) or a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with G-Shift Control for improved fuel economy.
With the combination of the new engine and transmissions, the Fit has an EPA estimated fuel-economy rating of 29 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 37 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission, 33/41 mpg for the LX trim with the CVT, and 32/38 mpg for the EX and EX-L trim with the CVT. During the one-week test drive, I averaged 34.6 mpg.
Blue backlit instrument dials that turn green to signal fuel-efficient driving via the Eco-Assist System, further enhance fuel economy and the driving experience.
The new Fit also achieved its goal of winning the highest available crash-safety ratings—a five-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program.
Standard safety features include Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, and anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, and an expanded view driver’s mirror, among others.
The Honda LaneWatch display, that displays a camera view of the right passing lane when the blinker is engaged, is standard on EX and above trims. It’s neat to look at, but a little distracting and not as effective as a blind spot alert system.
Standard creature comforts include air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, a center storage console with an armrest, illuminated steering wheel controls, and an AM/FM/CD/ stereo with an MP3 auxiliary jack.
As the top-of-the-line model, the EX-L also includes the first-ever heated leather seating, a Smart Entry Push Button Start, a one-touch operated moonroof, and a seven-inch touchscreen Display Audio with next-generation HondaLink. While the touch-screen looks good, it’s not as intuitive as I would like—I still prefer knobs for volume and tuning control, which are available on the LX.
All Fits sold in the U.S. will be produced for the first time in North America at the all-new plant in Celaya, Mexico.
Pricing for the 2015 Honda Fit starts at $16,470. The as-tested price on the EX-L came to $20,5990.