2018 HONDA FIT

 

A GOOD FIT

The stubby little Honda Fit has earned quite a reputation for its ability to hold lots of stuff. It was designed as a tall hatchback, but it seems more like a miniature minivan. This year, Honda upgraded its mighty mite by altering the styling, adding a Sport model, tweaking the suspension for a better ride and offering advanced safety equipment.

The styling changes are not monumental. The cab-forward design still features a sloping hood, a huge windshield, and long character lines on its flanks. However, the grille has been updated, and the new Sport model gets lower side sills, front and rear chin spoilers and glossy black wheels.

Inside, the cabin is much the same as it was last year, although Sport models receive orange stitching on the cloth seats and the center console. The dash features a 7-inch touchscreen that is easy to use. The infotainment interface now includes Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Air conditioning is handled by knobs positioned conveniently below the display.

The seats are covered in durable fabric. Front ones have manual adjusters, including one to raise or lower their height. The rear seats, called Magic Seats by Honda, are split 60/40 and recline. These seats will also lie flat to create a storage space of more than 52 cu-ft., which is quite remarkable. Additionally, the seat cushions can be raised vertically, so that a tall box can slide through the side doors.

Under the hood, Honda equips the Fit with its 1.5-liter, inline-4 engine that generates 130 horsepower. It’s no barn-burner—it takes about 10 seconds to get it up to 60 mph. It’s also very noisy, and has a tiring drone at freeway speeds. Although Honda enhanced the sound insulation this year, it is hard to see what effect it has had. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a CVT automatic is optional. My test car had the manual, and it featured a light clutch and smooth shifting gears. The Fit averages 31 mpg with the manual gearbox, and 33 mpg with the CVT.

Behind the wheel, the 2018 Fit is not as sporty to drive as the first-generation model from nearly a decade ago. It doesn’t respond with the same kind of zest. However, it does handle predictably, and is easy to maneuver in urban traffic. The ride is similar to other sub-compacts in its class—bouncy on back roads, but steady on freeways.

Honda offers the Fit in four levels of trim, LX, Sport, EX and EX-L. The base LX comes with manual air conditioning, power locks and windows, keyless entry, a backup camera and cruise control. The Sport delivers the cosmetic touches mentioned above, but no performance enhancements. The EX provides advanced safety features like, frontal-collision warning and mitigation, lane-departure warning and automatic high beams. The EX-L adds leather upholstery and navigation.

Pricing for the Honda Fit starts at a reasonable $17,085 for the LX with manual transmission. The Sport goes for $18,395. The EX is $19,055, and EX-L comes in at $21,415.

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