2015 Honda Fit EX-L
Honda’s smallest car will perfectly “Fit” the bill for many situations.
I remember the first time I drove the Honda Fit: it was a revelation. At the time of its introduction, you simply could not put the words “fun” and “subcompact cars” in the same sentence. Being accustomed to morale-sapping rides like the Toyota Yaris and Chevy Aveo, I figured it was going to be a very forgettable week behind the wheel, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The Fit embodied everything I love about the “VTEC, yo” era of Honda- playful, flickable chassis, zingy engines, slick gearboxes and pretty much no low end torque so you had to drive them in a keep-up-the-momentum kind of way. Not only was it a gas to drive but it also had an interior that acted like a Black Hole, meaning it could easily swallow whatever we tried to put in it. No other small car offered as much fun at such a low price point and could hardly touch the Fit’s ingenious packaging and practicality.
PROS: Super practical, delightfully fun-to-drive, sips fuel.
CONS: Engine is far too busy at highway speeds, infotainment system is slow to respond to commands, needs a bigger fuel tank.
THE VERDICT: You will not find a more practical or engaging to drive vehicle as the Fit, especially at this price.
The replacement to the plucky first generation is the Fit we drove for this Road Test, outfitted in top-of-the-line EX-L trim and equipped with a sweet shifting 6-speed manual gearbox. I’ve actually never driven a Fit with an automatic, and I’m not sure why you would want to- the manual is just about perfect. Plus, opting for the slushbox nets you a CVT which is good if it’s laudable fuel economy you’re after, not so much if you want to drive it like your neighbours Civic Si. Interestingly, this is the first Honda product we’ve seen where you can team a manual with navigation; why not on other models? (We’re looking at you, Accord Sport.)
On the subject of gearbox there is good news and bad news. The good news is it still has all the stuff you expect from Honda- silky clutch take-up, frictionless gear lever and a 6th gear, something woefully absent in the last generation. Problem is, the ratios on the new top gear are the same as the outgoing 5-speed, so 120km/h on the highway will see the tach settling into the 3,500-4,000rpm range- not exactly the stuff of relaxed cruising. Even with the frenetic engine speeds (and constant trips so the redline by choice) we still returned an exemplary 8.4L/100km.
Speaking of stuff we don’t get from the last model, the rear anti roll bar that helped make the Fit such a formidable opponent at autocross events isn’t part of the program for 2015. So the Fit won’t change direction and dart through low speed corners as well, but the ride is smoother- something we suspect will appeal more to the majority of Fit buyers anyhow.
Of course, anyone even considering the Fit is drawn to its incredible ability to swallow cargo. It is a bona fide miracle that Honda engineers could not only endow the little thing with more interior volume than the outgoing model, but rear seat passengers now have almost as much legroom as the much bigger Honda Accord. The aptly named Magic Seats fold down into an origami like configuration of useable space so you can transport anything from potted plants to surfboards with ease. You can stack stuff right up to the high roof- when you’ve got an empty cargo hold, the welcome by-product is excellent outward visibility. Combined with the rear-view camera and Honda’s exclusive LaneWatch system, you’ll be able to maneuver and park your Fit pretty much anywhere.
There are some annoyances you’ll have to live with if you select the Fit as your daily driver. If your commute favors highway cruising, you’ll want to keep the stereo’s volume near the upper end of its volume range to drown out the frenzied engine speeds. Similarly, if you freak out at the very sight of a dashboard light (especially where the Low Fuel light is concerned) you’ll be stopping to fill the little tank often, even though a rough estimation told us there was more than enough range to get to the nearest station. The slick multi-tiered touchscreen that controls audio and climate can be frustrating to use- it can take far longer to execute a simple command like adjusting volume and fan speed.
Yes, these flaws keep the Honda Fit from being a perfect car. Other manufacturers have gotten wise to the idea that Canadians have an affinity for small cars and are turning out in decent numbers to put one in their driveways. To that end the competition has gotten tighter since the Fit’s debut- but if you’re always hauling stuff around and place efficiency and fun as two crucial must-haves, the Fit is in a class of one.
2015 Honda Fit EX-L— Specifications
- Price as tested: $23,048
- Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger hatchback
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/front-wheel drive
- Engine: 1.5-litre inline four, DOHC, 16 valves
- Horsepower: 130 @ 6,600 rpm
- Torque (lbs-ft.): 114 @ 4,600 rpm
- Transmission: 6-speed Manual
- Curb weight: 1,177 kg ( 2,595 lbs)
- Observed Fuel consumption: 8.4L/100km (28 mpg)