Full 2013 Honda Fit EV Review
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Honda Fit EV is an all-new model.
The Honda Fit hatchback is already a great small car thanks to its space-efficient design and flexible interior configurations. The 2013 Honda Fit EV goes one better from a green standpoint, as this all-electric version allows you to whiz around town on electrons alone.
Honda's new Fit EV doesn't look much different from its gas-powered counterpart, but it's a different story under the hood. An electric motor rated at 123 horsepower provides the Fit EV with quick acceleration (quicker than the regular Fit, in fact). For power, the electric motor draws on a cargo-area-mounted lithium-ion battery pack.
The intrusion of the battery pack takes away some of the little car's utility: The rear seats still fold, but they no longer fold flat, much less fully upright (as in the regular Honda Fit), and you lose the flat load floor. But since it's a hatchback, the Fit EV is still pretty versatile.
Overall efficiency is also quite good, as the Fit EV has an MPGe combined fuel economy equivalency estimate from the EPA of 118 mpg, plus an estimated range of 82 miles on a full charge. Both are better than Ford's new Focus Electric. The Fit EV also boasts a quick recharge time; about three hours are required to recharge a depleted Fit EV using a 240-volt-compatible charger included with the vehicle. For comparison, the 2013 Nissan Leaf takes about four hours, even with its newly available high-capacity charger.
With the introduction of the 2013 Fit EV, Honda joins a small rank of manufacturers with a dedicated electric vehicle. The Fit's obvious competitors are the aforementioned 2013 Ford Focus Electric, 2013 Nissan Leaf and Fiat 500e. The Fit compares very well here, offering excellent range and power, two key aspects for an electric vehicle.
The only catch? You can only lease the Honda Fit EV, and only in California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. This definitely limits the car's appeal. But if you live in one of these states and don't mind leasing, the 2013 Honda Fit EV is a solid choice for an electric vehicle.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Honda Fit EV is offered in only one loaded trim level. Standard features include a rear spoiler, LED taillights, 15-inch alloy wheels, a three-mode (Sport, Normal, Econ) drive system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic climate control, heated front seats, full power accessories, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a 60/40-split backseat. Electronic features include Bluetooth phone connectivity, voice controls, a navigation system, a rearview camera and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
Powertrains and Performance
A 92-kW electric motor (123 hp and 189 pound-feet of torque) along with a 20-kWh lithium-ion battery pack power the Fit EV. The EPA estimates the Fit EV can drive about 82 miles on a full charge. The EPA also gives the Fit EV an energy consumption estimate of 29 kWh used per 100 miles (the lower the kWh number here, the better). That translates into MPGe figures of 132 mpg city/105 mpg highway and 118 mpg combined, which is a bit better than the Ford Focus Electric (105 MPGe combined) and Leaf (115 MPGe).
It takes just three hours to recharge a depleted Fit EV using the standard 240-volt charger. But if you only have access to a 120-volt circuit, recharging can take as long as 15 hours.
Able to sprint to 60 mph in less than 9 seconds in Sport mode, the Fit EV ranks as one of the quicker electric subcompacts Edmunds has tested. To put it into perspective, that's slightly quicker than a turbocharged, gasoline-powered Chevrolet Sonic, about a half-second quicker than the electric Focus and more than a full second quicker than the Nissan Leaf.
The 2013 Honda Fit EV comes standard with antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum), stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active head restraints. A rearview camera is also standard on the EV.
In normal driving, the Fit EV's brakes feel fine. But in Edmunds panic-stop brake testing, this Honda took 140 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph. That's a poor showing, as it's 14 feet longer than the Leaf's best braking distance and more than 15 feet longer than the average subcompact's performance.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Fit EV features an enhanced key fob with more functionality than the regular Fit's. With it one can initiate charging, monitor progress and even turn on the air-conditioning from 100 feet away. The available Honda Link EV smartphone app can do all that, plus help you locate charging stations and set charging times that optimize utility rates.
The EV's cabin's design is similar to the standard Fit's, with large, clear gauges and simple, intuitive controls. The gauge cluster features EV-specific instruments that show information such as the battery pack's state of charge and remaining range. In keeping with the vehicle's green philosophy, the upholstery material is derived from sugar cane.
Honda had to reconfigure the interior a bit to accommodate the EV model's battery pack. Rear passengers sit slightly higher and 3.3 inches farther back, which actually improves rear legroom. Cargo space suffers, though, as you get just 12.0 cubic feet behind the backseat versus the standard Fit's 20.6 cubic feet. In addition, the regular Honda Fit's "Magic Seat" (which can fold flat or upright) didn't survive the transition. The 60/40-split rear seat still folds, opening up nearly 50 cubic feet (versus 57.3 in the standard hatch), but the load floor is no longer flat.
The 2013 Honda Fit EV is perfectly capable of merging and keeping up with typical highway traffic in its default Normal driving mode. Of course, the Sport mode provides the strongest performance, while the Econ mode can boost efficiency by a claimed 17 percent provided you're willing to sacrifice that snappy pickup and endure limited air-conditioning performance.
With all the instant torque an electric motor provides, the Fit EV proves adept at zipping through city traffic. It weighs 700 pounds more than the standard Fit, though, so it doesn't feel as light on its feet when driving around turns. However, it can still be fun during a daily commute thanks to its quick steering and planted demeanor. Push harder and you'll quickly be greeted by tire squeal, a side effect of the EV's small, fuel-economy-focused tires.
A positive effect of the 2013 Honda Fit EV's extra mass is its more substantial feel behind the wheel. Compared to a gasoline-powered Honda Fit, the ride is noticeably smoother over pockmarked city streets and highway expansion joints.