Reviews

2015 Honda Fit Driving Impressions


Honda Fit's all-around usefulness, wedgy good looks, and fuel economy are at or near the top of the subcompact charts, but its most compelling attribute is its athletic soul. The previous generation was best-in-class in terms of quick responses, and the new Fit raises the agility index. It's quick on its feet, handling rapid transitions without a hint of hesitation, keeping body roll to a minimum by the standards of this class.

The new electric power rack-and-pinion steering system could be better in terms of tactile information, but it's sports car quick at 2.5 turns lock-to-lock, and accurate once the driver has logged some seat time on a winding back road. We experienced a fair amount of this on mountain highways east of San Diego during the Fit's press preview program, and emerged with a very positive impression of this car's dynamic credentials, including ride quality and its disc/drum braking system.

We were also impressed by the performance of the new 1.5-liter engine. A gain of 13 horsepower (versus the previous 1.5-liter) may not sound like much, but it represents an 11-percent increase, and adds tangible urgency to the Fit's green light getaways, as well as its passing power on two-lane highways.

As noted, the Fit's new (and only) automatic option is a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Honda continues to improve the operation of this transmission type, reducing those occasions when the engine and gearbox seem to be out of sync, although the phenomenon persists when the driver tramps hard on the throttle from a stop or at low speeds. Using the CVT's paddle shifters activates steps in the system's program, simulating actual shifts, and the Fit's best EPA fuel economy numbers are achieved with this transmission.

However, for drivers who really enjoy driving, the new 6-speed manual is the way to go. It replaces the previous 5-speed, and is typical of Honda manuals: short throws, crisp engagements, enhancing the sense of partnership between driver and machine.

Two caveats to the foregoing. One, Honda limits the manual transmission to the Fit's lower trim levels, LX and EX, which means if you want to shift for yourself you won't be sitting on leather and you can't have a navigation system.

Two, while the availability of six speeds allows the driver to keep the engine in its powerband sweet spot, for some reason Honda chose not to change the final drive ratio. In other words, in sixth gear the new Fit is turning the same rpm as the previous Fit in fifth. As a result, the engine is pulling a lot of rpm at freeway cruising speeds, well over 3000 at 70 mph.

The interior of the new Fit is quieter than its predecessor, but even so 3600 rpm at 75 mph gets a little buzzy.

On the other hand, we achieved over 40 mpg with the 6-speed manual during our driving, and would readily trade the leather and navigation options for the engagement that goes with the manual transmission. Garmin anyone?

Prices shown are manufacturer suggested retail prices only and do not include taxes, license, or doc fee. Manufacturer vehicle accessory costs, labor and installation vary. Please contact us with any questions.

**Based on 2014 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, battery-pack age/condition and other factors.

For 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid, 115 combined miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (MPGe) electric rating; 47 city/46 highway/46 combined MPG gasoline only rating. 13 mile maximum EV mode driving range rating. 570 mile combined gas-electric driving range rating. Based on 2014 EPA mileage and driving range ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your MPGe/MPG and driving range will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, lithium-ion battery age/condition, and other factors. For additional information about EPA ratings, visit http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/label/learn-more-PHEV-label.shtml.

Request More Info