Words by Andy Lilienthal, photos by Mercedes Lilienthal
“So what color do you think it’ll be?” I asked Mercedes as we headed to pick up the car from SeaTac Airport in Washington. “I hope it’s the yellow color.”
“I think it’ll be red or silver,” she said.
Upon arriving at the Park ‘N Fly at SeaTac International Airport (Seattle), we pulled up to an extremely bright Mystic Yellow Pearl Honda Fit. You couldn't miss it.
Usually when we get a car to review, it is dropped off at our house or work. This time, we were flying back from Minnesota and were picking the car up at the airport, then would drive it 170 miles south to Portland. Plus, this would give us a good first impression of Honda’s recently redesigned subcompact hatchback. And although Mercedes had been to the car’s launch last April, I hadn’t had a chance to drive one yet.
Fingerprints! This is after about an hour in the car.
All ’15 Fits get one engine: a 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine making 130 hp, up 13 from the last model. Torque is also increased to 114 ft/lbs, up 8 from the last model. Our tester, an EX-L w/Navi, was equipped with Honda’s CVT, which has paddle shifters on the steering wheel (I still don’t get why any CVT needs paddle shifters). I will say that the bump in power is noticeable. The Fit does get up and go pretty well, even with the CVT. That being said, the engine is noisy and sounded raucous, and that’s only accentuated by the droning nature of the CVT under throttle, which makes the engine sound as if it were powered by bionic hamsters fueled by espresso. (See? Not all hamster jokes refer to Kia.) The car is rated at 32 city, 35 combined, and 38 highway MPG on 87 octane fuel. Not too bad, but not in the coveted 40 MPG category. Our trip computer said we got 35 MPG; a manual calculation yielded 31.
On the highway, the Fit rides with a Goldie Locks quality: not too firm, not too soft. Road noise wasn’t terrible either. I was able to throw the car into the curves a bit, and it reacted in classic Honda fashion with quick, sharp, composed moves. It feels tight and sporting—perhaps not as sporty as previous Fit models, but still agile nonetheless.
|Taken at the 2015 Honda Fit Launch, this is what "Relax Mode" looks like. Ah, Magic Seats!|
The 2015 Fit does a lot right, but something seems to have gotten a bit lost in its evolution. It just doesn't feel as sporty or as energetic as the last couple of generations.
It doesn't feel as fresh or spirited. That’s not to say it’s a bad car. It’s far from it. It would still be an excellent choice for anyone interested in a marvel of packaging and interior usability. Maybe it was the CVT, maybe it was the frumpy styling. It’s a great car, it’s just not as much fun as it used to be.
Regardless, our Fit EX-L with Navi had a sticker price of $21,590 including destination. This is a loaded, top-of-the-line model, which does encroach on Civic territory, albeit with fewer goodies. It did have heated leather seats, a moonroof, the LaneWatch system (e.g. camera on mirror), and other premium goodies. Yes, it’s a good chunk of change, but if you like the looks and want the versatility, the Fit should be at the top of your list for subcompact shopping. While it might have lost a bit of its scrappy nature, it's still a very good all-around choice.
|Large, easy-to-use knobs are a nice minimalist feature.|
|The Fit's interior is minimal, modern, and functional.|
|The Fit's gauges are easy to read.|
|Camera mounted under the passenger's mirror projects images onto the touch screen while changing lanes.|