Edmunds Expert Review of the 2014 Honda Fit EV Hatchback
The competent 2014 Honda Fit EV has a lot of things going for it. Unfortunately, widespread availability to the public is not one of them, as Honda offers the all-electric version of its useful hatchback in only a few states and only as a three-year lease.
by srl99 on Jul 31, 2012 Vehicle: 2013 Honda Fit EV
We've tried a lot of the "working man's" electric cars and PHEVs, and this is the first one that provides us the total package.
Start with the "lease", which includes vehicle damage insurance. 3 years is a reasonable amount of time, and the total outlay over 3 years isn't bad. Especially because you only need to provide liability insurance (with moderate limits).
While we've only been driving the car for a few days, the first outing was approx 60 miles, mostly freeway, and we ended that with 33% charge left. [Much of the time in Eco mode, and no AC or heat]. The next trip was about 50 miles, driven more normally, some AC, and ended with about 50% charge remaining.
100 mile range possible?
The 2014 Honda Fit EV takes the nimble, utility-rich attributes of the regular Fit and replaces its gasoline engine with a strong, silent electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries that returns a fuel economy equivalent of 118 mpg. If the limitations of driving range aren't a concern for you and an electric vehicle would meet your needs as a secondary car, the Fit EV is one of the better choices.
Overall efficiency is quite good with a miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe) of 118, and the all-important driving range is pegged at an optimal 82 miles on a full charge. These figures are at least nominally better than those of several competing models like the Ford Focus Electric and Nissan's Leaf. The Fit EV recharges a little quicker, too, in about three hours provided you have access to a 240-volt circuit (the same as used by an electric clothes dryer). Plus, with its Sport mode engaged, Honda's EV is quicker than both its electric competition and conventionally powered subcompacts.
The 2014 Fit EV doesn't look much different from its gas-powered counterpart, but there's some modification required for the switch from a gasoline engine to an electric motor. First and foremost, the regular Fit's rear "Magic Seat" is considerably less magical. The seats still fold, but no longer flat, and the seat bottom does not rise up. Nevertheless, this hatchback remains commendably versatile and more useful than most competitors.
Unfortunately, potential customers in 42 states will be disappointed by one of this car's most glaring drawbacks: It's only available in California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island. Plus, it's not for sale, but only available as a lease (although the monthly payment is quite reasonable). If those parameters remove the Fit EV from your shopping list, you'll still be left with several other worthwhile choices.
The 2014 Nissan Leaf is the only example not based on a conventionally powered model and as such satisfies that frequent EV requirement to stick out in a crowd. There's also the stylish and well-packaged 2014 Ford Focus Electric as well as the smaller but fun-to-drive 2014 Fiat 500e. You'll find slight differences in driving range and utility with all these models, but the 2014 Honda Fit is an excellent choice thanks to its combination of a highly functional interior, strong acceleration, sufficient driving range and agreeable driving manners.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Honda Fit EV is available in a single heavily equipped, no-options trim level.
The car's exhaustive list of standard features includes 15-inch alloy wheels, three driver-selectable power modes for the electric-drive system, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, automatic climate control, heated front seats, cruise control and a 60/40-split backseat. Standard 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
The 2014 Fit EV's 92-kilowatt electric motor develops 189 pound-feet of torque and a different amount of horsepower depending on driving mode (123 hp Sport, 100 hp Normal, 63 hp Econ). Electricity for the motor comes from a 20-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.
The EPA estimates the Fit EV can drive about 82 miles on a full charge, which takes about three hours on the preferred (and included) 240-volt charger. Plugging into a standard wall outlet is possible, but a full recharge in that instance can take as long as 15 hours. The EPA also gives the Fit EV an energy consumption estimate of 29 kWh used per 100 miles (the lower the kWh number, the better). That translates into a "miles per gallon equivalent," or MPGe, of 118 mpg combined (132 city/105 highway). The Fit EV's efficiency is slightly better than the Ford Focus Electric (105 MPGe combined) and Nissan Leaf (115 MPGe combined).
In Edmunds testing, a Fit EV in Sport mode went from zero to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, which is quicker than both its electric car competitors and conventionally powered subcompact cars.
The 2014 Honda Fit EV comes standard with antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum), stability and traction control, a rearview camera, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active head restraints.
In Edmunds panic-stop brake testing, the Fit EV required 140 feet to stop from 60 mph. That's 14 feet longer than the Leaf's best braking distance and about 20 feet longer than the average subcompact car.
Interior Design and Special Features
Honda had to reconfigure the Fit's 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 Fit EV otherwise carries over the basic interior design and layout of its conventionally powered counterpart. That's a good thing: There are simple, sizable gauges directly ahead, augmented by EV-unique information related to battery depletion and remaining range. The standard navigation system also has a special screen to show the nearest public recharging sites, while an enhanced key fob 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 as well, plus help you locate charging stations and set charging times that optimize utility rates.
The Fit EV further stands out with a unique light gray color scheme and special renewably sourced upholstery made from sugar cane. The material looks fine but feels slightly waxy, and it seems to retain body heat more than most common automotive seat cloth. Standard heated front seats are a nice perk.
If you want to squeeze the most driving distance out of the 2014 Fit EV, select the drive system's Econ mode, which restrains the electric motor to 63 of its available 123 hp. Acceleration is pretty tepid, however, and the air-conditioning also is pared back to save energy.
That's probably fine for sitting in traffic, but Normal or Sport modes are better suited to most other driving environments. Despite its hardly breathtaking outright numbers, acceleration is actually oddly satisfying thanks to the electric motor's instantaneous delivery of full torque with an almost complete lack of noise.
The extra 700 pounds worth of batteries dull the regular Fit's nimble feel, but as a trade-off makes the Fit EV feel more stable and secure, with an improved ride that's almost luxury-car plush. The small, efficiency-optimizing tires can feel a little squirrely when wet, though, and will squawk if you try to take corners with a little too much zest.
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