Since the Honda Fit debuted in the U.S. eight years ago, it has remained a model of small hatchback versatility, dependability and efficiency. In recent years, new rivals have come to market and put a spotlight on its age and few flaws. The redesigned 2015 Honda Fit addresses its previous shortcomings and once again is a top choice in the class.
What Is It?
The 2015 Honda Fit is a subcompact four-door hatchback that seats up to five passengers. Prices start at $15,525 for the base LX trim with a six-speed manual transmission. Even at this humble price, the Fit includes features like full power accessories, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and iPod integration. The midrange EX trim adds keyless ignition, a touchscreen interface, a blind-spot camera, an upgraded audio system with Pandora and smartphone integration that provides a decent substitute for conventional built-in navigation systems.
Our test vehicle in range-topping EX-L trim with navigation adds leather upholstery, heated mirrors, heated front seats and satellite and HD radio. This increases the as-tested price to $21,590. Remote engine start for $399 is the only significant option offered.
How Does It Drive?
Powering the front-wheel-drive Honda Fit is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 130 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual comes standard on the LX and EX models, while a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is an option on LX and EX models and standard on higher trims.
Power isn't what we'd call plentiful, but it gets the Fit up to highway speeds deceptively quickly for the class. In Edmunds testing it reached 60 mph in 8.8 seconds, which is almost 2 seconds quicker than a comparable Ford Fiesta.
As with most cars equipped with a CVT, the Fit doesn't feel particularly responsive. Unlike traditional automatic transmissions that have distinct gearchanges, a CVT feels more like the engine revs up and hangs there waiting for the next gear. In actuality, it is "shifting" and gaining speed just as ably as a vehicle with a conventional transmission. Under harder acceleration there is a rather loud drone coming from the engine, but once you reach highway speeds and let off the pedal, the revs drop and the engine quiets down to normal levels.
In panic brake tests the Fit came to a stop from 60 mph in 127 feet, which is a typical distance for small hatchbacks. Our test driver noted that there was a slight side-to-side squirm when stomping on the pedal, but not enough to be of concern. Under normal conditions the pedal is reassuringly firm and smooth stops are second nature.
As a city commuter, the Fit is as well suited to stop-and-go traffic as it is when conditions open up, placing few demands on the driver. At highway cruising speeds, road and wind noise are noticeable, but no more intrusive than other small hatchbacks. Unlike the previous generation, this latest Fit feels more stable and composed at these speeds, tracking straight within its lane rather than nervously wandering as it did before. Almost all bumps and ruts in the road are felt, but only the largest are intrusive.
When the road begins to bend, the Fit's steering is pleasantly responsive without being needlessly busy. Steering effort is on the light side, making tight maneuvers easy, but at higher speeds it does leave the driver feeling a bit disconnected. Handling is respectably lively and when called upon, it can maneuver quickly and controllably.
How Well Do Things Fit Inside?
Versatility has been one of the Honda Fit's biggest selling points, and the latest version is no different. The upright front seats can accommodate the average 5-feet-10-inch adult, though the short seat cushions are better suited to smaller occupants. Six-footers obviously fare worse and are further hindered by a lack of fore/aft seat travel, but headroom is still plentiful. Adults of average height can also fit in the rear seats, but their heads would be brushing the headliner. Legroom, however, is surprisingly generous, with a few inches to spare.
Behind the rear seats, up to 16.6 cubic feet of cargo space is available, which is as big as it gets in this class. Fold the 60/40-split seats flat and that capacity increases to 52.7 cubic feet, a figure approaching that of small crossover SUVs.
What's even more impressive is the flexibility of the overall space, thanks in no small part to the return of the Fit's "Magic" seat. With little effort, the rear-seat cushions can be folded up against the seatback to provide a tall cargo space for unusually bulky items. The metal support under the cushion folds out of the way and also functions as the latch that keeps the seat secured upright. We even managed to fold and secure the seats with only one hand free.
Will I Like the Interior?
On the inside, the 2015 Honda Fit's design is tastefully modern. A glossy 7-inch touchscreen display is the centerpiece of the dash and is standard on the EX and above. The graphics are sharp, but the glossy surface has a tendency to obscure the information behind glare and reflections. The lack of physical buttons or knobs also means that switching between functions like navigation and audio will require a few extra inputs. Unfortunately, those inputs aren't consistently recognized either, and the small virtual buttons require drivers to take their eyes off the road to carefully poke the screen.
Interior materials quality is typical for an economical hatchback, even in top-of-the-line EX-L trim. Hard plastic surfaces are plentiful, but they are textured to look better than they feel. We're assured that the seat upholstery is genuine leather, but to us the seats look, feel and breathe more like premium vinyl. We have bigger issues with our elbow touch points, as the flat door armrest lacks padding and there is no available center armrest at all. Storage for your personal effects is acceptable, but the cupholders, bins and door pockets are all on the small side.
On the plus side, outward visibility is excellent. Thin roof pillars provide a nearly unobstructed all-around view that renders the rearview and blind-spot cameras largely unnecessary.
What Safety Features Does It Offer?
Standard safety features on all 2015 Honda Fit models include antilock brakes (front discs and rear drums), stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. A passenger-side view camera is standard on EX and EX-L trim levels and displays a blind-spot view when the right turn signal is activated or if a button on the turn signal stalk is pushed. For the most part, this system is an unnecessary redundancy to checking the mirrors and may even be a distraction to some.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Can You Expect?
The EPA estimates the 2015 Honda Fit's fuel economy at 35 mpg combined (32 city/38 highway) with the CVT. Compared to other small hatchbacks, the Fit's combined rating edges out the Ford Fiesta by 3 mpg, the Hyundai Accent by 4 mpg and the Chevrolet Sonic by 7 mpg.
During its stay with us, our Fit test vehicle averaged only 29.9 mpg in mostly city confines, but we have been known to drive with a bit more aggression than the average driver. On our highway-heavy evaluation loop, we recorded 36.2 mpg.
What Are Its Closest Competitors? Chevrolet Sonic — The Sonic's youthful appearance is one of its main selling points, but its interior materials don't look and feel as nice. It's also less efficient and has less cargo space.
Ford Fiesta — Even though the comparably priced Fiesta is quite a bit slower than the Fit, it does feel more lively and fun to drive. In terms of maximum cargo capacity, however, the Fit has far more space than the Ford.
Hyundai Accent — The Accent is the least expensive of the bunch, but lacks many of the features available in the Fit. The Hyundai also comes up short in cargo capacity and fuel economy to the Honda.
Why Should You Consider This Car?
Nothing in the subcompact segment comes close to providing the kind of space and versatility of the 2015 Honda Fit. It also delivers excellent performance, strong fuel economy numbers and a long list of available features.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
If you're looking for maximum mileage in a small commuter car, the Toyota Prius C delivers much higher EPA ratings. Taller drivers may not be satisfied with the available legroom up front.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.