Introduced a few years ago just as gas prices were beginning to race skyward, the Honda Fit now looks like a happy little piece of automotive prophecy. A subcompact four-door hatchback, the Honda Fit has earned praise for its world-class engineering and design, and it has definitely found its niche with consumers, particularly with the arrival of the second-generation model. With either generation, you'll find crisp handling, an adaptable interior, high-quality fit and finish and a relatively low price. For small-car shoppers, the Honda Fit represents an almost ideal package.
Current Honda Fit
The Honda Fit is available in two main trim levels: base and Sport. Both come with a fuel-efficient 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 117 horsepower and 106 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, with a five-speed automatic transmission being optional. Paddle shifters are included with the automatic for the Sport version. Fuel economy is respectably good with either transmission.
On the base Fit, air-conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry a tilt-and-telescoping steering column and a four-speaker audio system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack and iPod/USB audio interface are standard. The Honda Fit Sport gains bigger wheels, sportier exterior trim details and a six-speaker audio system with an iPod-friendly USB port. Fit Sports can also be optioned with a touchscreen navigation system.
The Fit is Honda's smallest automotive product, but it nearly matches the total passenger space of the larger Civic sedan. To help achieve this, Honda has installed a compact rear suspension design and placed the fuel tank underneath the passenger seat. Another key advantage for the Fit is its innovative, highly versatile rear seating arrangement. The "Magic Seat" has seatbacks that fold flat and seat cushions that can be flipped upward, creating a tall load area right behind the front seats -- sort of like a crew cab pickup's rear seats. Maximum cargo capacity is an impressive 57 cubic feet.
In reviews, we've found the Honda Fit to be a pleasure to drive for a frugal subcompact. The car has a solid feel to it, countering the perception of vehicles in this class as tinny econoboxes. Generally speaking, the Honda Fit continues the model's tradition of providing serious bang for the buck, and its combination of driving dynamics, polish and big-time practicality distinguish it from the competition.
Used Honda Fit Models
The current second-generation Honda Fit debuted for the 2009 model year and has seen no significant changes since.
The first-generation Honda Fit was available for just two years: 2007 and 2008. It came in two trim levels with no factory options available. The base version adhered to a minimalist philosophy, though it still came standard with air-conditioning and a CD player. The uplevel Sport trim was snazzier and, predictably, we favored it. It featured larger, 15-inch alloy wheels, stickier tires, exterior styling pieces, keyless entry, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a premium MP3-compatible audio system with an auxiliary audio jack.
The Fit stuck to the Honda playbook when it came to interior controls, which were intelligently designed and utilized high-quality materials. For a subcompact, the first-generation Honda Fit was surprisingly roomy and versatile. Chalk much of that up to the car's specialized second-row, 60/40-split seat design. The rear seats could be placed into four different configurations, depending on passenger or cargo needs. Folding the rear seat flat provided a surprising 41.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity.
Both trim levels were front-wheel drive and were equipped with a 1.5-liter, 109-hp four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission was standard, and a five-speed automatic was optional. Fit Sports with the automatic also had steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.
We found the first-generation Honda Fit to possess an enviable driving-fun-to-thrift ratio. Cornering and acceleration were crisp. The subcompact could achieve 0-60-mph sprints in fewer than 10 seconds with either transmission. Fuel economy was commendable, and safety was good. The whole thing was almost perfect. Almost. The main downside was that although the car seemed less tinny than other cars in its class, at highway speeds the engine made its presence known. The lack of a telescoping steering wheel could also be an annoyance for taller drivers. But on balance the first-generation Honda Fit provided about as much fun, satisfaction and value as you could find in a small economy car.
Read the most recent 2013 Honda Fit review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Honda Fit page.