Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Quick Drive: 2018 Honda Fit Sport

2018 Honda Fit Sport Front

Ever since its debut in 2007, Honda's Fit has always been fun to drive and super practical. It showcases many of the attributes Honda has become known for—reliability, precision, versatility, engineering know-how, smart packaging—in hatchback form. For me, the last Fit I reviewed back in 2015 wasn't as fun as earlier iterations; I sort of wrote it off. Then I drove one with a six-speed manual ...

Yes, the Fit is still as practical as ever with its multi-folding Magic Seats, it still gets decent gas mileage, and still will likely have rock-solid reliability and high build quality. But the Fit Sport I drove recently came equipped with a six-speed manual instead of the CVT. Frankly, that CVT saps the fun out of this little runabout. But with the 6MT, the Fit goes from being a good little subcompact to an entertaining driver's car.

Much like nearly every single Honda I've driven with a manual transmission, this shifter is fantastic and completely transforms the car's driving experience. I found myself scouting for fun roads; looking for tight off-ramps. The manual transmission makes this cars orders of magnitude more fun. Paired with the free-revving 130 hp 1.5-liter engine, the Fit Sport with that 6MT is a hoot.

Truly, this car made me feel like a 20-something kid again (I'm double that figure nowadays), like when I had a quick-shifting 1998 Honda Civic. It revs quickly, corners sharply, and has great steering. You know that old adage about how driving a "slow car fast" is lots of fun? That's the Fit Sport.

When dressed up in Sport trim, buyers get front, side, and rear underbody spoilers; blacked-out 16" alloy wheels; a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system; fog lights; and a host of other goodies. I'm still not a fan of the Fit's touchscreen, however. Regardless, this car is a fantastic mix of great driving dynamics, small size, and expertly engineered versatility and practicality. 

In case you weren't familiar, all Fits come with a 1.5-liter 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC engine with direct injection making 130 hp and 114 lb/ft of torque with the manual transmission, and 128 hp and 113 lb/ft of torque with the CVT. The suspension is composed of MacPhearson strut front suspension and a torsion-beam rear. Side note: I love the rear bumper's diffuser.

While I'll take the manual transmission option every time its offered in a car, the Fit Sport is one of those instances where the transmission totally changes the driving experience. While CVT-equipped Fits are still very good cars, Fits with the manual are very good, very entertaining cars. I would totally rock one of these. Our tester stickered at $18,390, which included the $890 destination/handling charge.

FYI, I am a fan of the Toyota Yaris SE, too. However, the Fit has more than 20 more horsepower, it's more practical (thanks to those aforementioned Magic Seats), and I can actually buy one with a manual. (The Yaris SE, at least in the Pacific Northwest cannot be ordered with a manual. Plus, the Yaris' manual is a 5MT.) Did I mention the Fit Sport comes in orange? 

While the subcompact hatchback market has cooled down over the years, Honda's Fit Sport is still a great choice for people who want practicality but aren't willing to sacrifice fun. Really, go drive one. It's great. 

2018 Honda Fit Sport

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