Honda’s tiny Fit is an urban outfitter because it is so at home in the confines of the city. It slides easily into parking spaces, returns better than 30 miles per gallon in the city and it can carry four people or a decent amount of cargo.
Key to the petite people mover is the tall roof that enables an upright seating position and a split-folding back seat that drops flat in one move to create a generous cargo space with an almost flat floor. The front seats were excellent. They hit me in all the right places, had firm support and are heated on the top EX-L model.
With the back seat down and the front passenger seat folded there is room for an item up to seven feet long. The high roof also makes it easy to get in and out, but that’s something that older folks will appreciate more than young buyers.
The 2015’s 99.6-inch wheelbase is a little more than 1 inch longer than the previous model. Rear seat legroom is improved by 4.8 inches, and overall passenger volume is up by 4.9 cubic feet. That’s pretty remarkable considering the car is 1.6 inches shorter overall.
Never miss a local story.
Prices range from $15,650 for an LX to $20,925 for the EX-L with Navigation.
The Fit is more than just a practical box. The 1.5-liter engine has been tweaked to develop 130 horsepower and it is mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT (continuously variable) automatic transmission. The manual is available only on the LX and EX. The CVT is the transmission most buyers will choose, and it is the one that gets the best fuel economy. An LX with the CVT has a highway mileage rating of 41 miles per gallon. I drove an EX-L with Navigation and it was rated at 32 mpg in town and 38 mpg on the highway. I averaged 33.8 mpg with quite a bit of freeway driving according to the onboard computer.
The CVT is finding its way into most Honda products because of its efficiency, but the one in the Fit was less enjoyable than other Hondas I have tried. Step hard into the throttle from a stop, such as pulling out into a busy street, and the Fit leaps forward, almost too quickly, and the lunge is accompanied by a lot of engine noise. The lack of shifting means it takes a while for the engine to calm down.
I would prefer the manual transmission but it is not available on the EX-L models.
The Fit has a fair amount of wind and road noise on the freeway, and the ride is pretty firm. A bit more suppleness would raise the comfort level.
My real unease comes from the new entertainment system. Everything is controlled by touching the 7-inch LCD screen or with controls on the steering wheel. Radio presets are not visible, for example, and tuning in a new station is harder than just twisting a knob. Bluetooth connection to your smartphone is standard, and if you have an iPhone you can ask Siri questions through the built-in microphone.
Honda’s Lane Watch is a small camera under the right outside mirror. When you put on the turn signal it shows a side view on the center LCD screen. Very handy for changing lanes or seeing if a bicycle has pulled alongside before you make a right turn. I would love to have one on the left side, too.
The base price of the test car was $20,925. Destination charges brought the sticker price to $21,745.
Three years or 36,000 miles with a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Tom Strongman’s e-mail is email@example.com.
2015 Honda Fit EX-L Navi
Engine: 1.5-liter, 130-horsepower four-cylinder.
Transmission: CVT automatic, front-wheel drive
Wheelbase: 99.6 inches
Curb weight: 2,642 pounds
Base price: $20,925
As driven: $21,745
MPG: 32 in the city, 38 on the highway