Tested: 2015 Honda Fit EX-L Navi
Seattle, February 19, 2015 — The Honda Fit is a rather quirky-looking little car. It’s Honda’s answer to the compact, four-door car that still has a good miles per gallon rating and runs on gasoline. While it’s very tiny on the outside, the inside is chocked full of Honda’s touches to make it an interesting proposition in its respective market segment.
Outside, this car doesn’t look at all entirely different than other cars in its class but it still has body lines that look to be lifted from parts of the Civic models and of course a front fascia that screams “Hi, I’m a Honda”. It’s a “cute” car and does a good job of making a commuter car or a vehicle for a young family.
Under the hood lies a 1.5-liter, double overhead cam, 4-cylinder engine that only develops 130 horsepower with 114 lb-ft. of torque and uses Honda’s “Earth Dreams” technology. While its fuel efficiency is good – 32mpg around town and 38 on the highway – it pales in comparison to many of the diesel engines out there which have a better power-to-fuel-economy ratio.
To add hurt to injury, it’s coupled to a CVT (Constantly Variable) transmission which means you’re going to get anything but a fun driving experience. CVT are the Olive Garden of transmissions – folks eat them up because they’re indifferent or have no idea what the real deal is like. I’m not simply saying this to pin fault on Honda but a great deal of this industry is making the horrible switch to CVT – thankfully, the European market has mainly stuck with more traditional automatics. Even its included “sport mode” doesn’t do much to make this a fun power train combination.
There’s enough technology inside the EX-L to keep things interesting, including Bluetooth, navigation, satellite radio, SMS text messaging, heated front seats and a half-way decent-sounding audio system. Is on-board navigation really a big deal anymore? Don’t most folks still use their smartphone for this? Additionally, the included apps like Pandora are quite handy.
The EX-L also includes “lane watch” which will show you cars in the lane to your right when you hit the right-turn signal – quite handy for eliminating blind spot issues. Other safety items include front airbags, side airbags, ABS, vehicle stability assist and side-curtain airbags with a rollover sensor.
Overall comfort up-front is good for buzzing around town for but I’m not sure it’d be a ‘joy-ride” to take on extended trips as the firm seats aren’t too forgiving in scenarios like that. Rear legroom is a joke – as it the case with most all compact cars – is rather dismal if you have two adults in the front. It’s really reserved for small children or for folks riding with those in the front who wouldn’t mind jamming their knees to make more room in the back.
There’s not much to speak of in regards to finer materials being used inside this car, except for some leather used on the seats, steering wheel and shift knob – there’s really just cloth and plastic that comes in varying degrees of hardness. Nothing exciting for sure but to be expected in a car at this price point.
Driving the Fit brings some mixed emotions in that there’s a certain level of “funness” to it because of its small footprint – it feels as if you can easily weave in and out of traffic and park just about anywhere. However, the lack of available power when you need it means that you’re likely to get stuck in the back of the line when it comes to trying to pass others etc.
For just over $20k, the Fit is about as good of a car these days as one could hope for in this price bracket. It delivers competitive performance, styling, form and function to make it an appealing car to younger folks or those starting a new family. It’s difficult to imagine any appeal it’d have to folks over the age of 30 and with bigger kids.
In the end, Honda did successfully deliver a low-priced commuter car that’s very competitive amongst its peers and will still help draw in those who appreciate the reliability in which Honda is known for.