When it debuted in the United States in early 2006, the Honda Fit had already been an international star for five years in Japan. Its popularity then quickly also grew in Europe, Australia, South America and Mexico and it likewise moved to the top of the subcompact segment in the U.S.

That success rate is not likely to change with the 2015 Honda Fit. After a year’s hiatus, the Fit is back. It’s been redesigned to face head-on increased competition in the segment. There’s more cargo room and there’s better gas mileage. And there are more standard features and more options, all further expanding the definition and expectations of an entry-level car.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

The 2015 Honda Fit is offered in LX, EX, EX-L and EX-L with Navi trim levels. My weekly driver was the latter (and most expensive) offering. It pushes the Fit’s price to nearly $22,000 — and that’s for a sub-compact.

The EX-L with Navi trim, like the same status with the Honda Civic, adds to the long list of standard features on the lower level trims. It’s a comprehensive package, far more than might be expected. It includes Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot display and an elaborate list technology features from an HDMI input to Pandora functionality to fully smartphone application integration.

The top-line EX-L trim adds: heated mirrors, leather upholstery and heated front seats. The EX-L with Navi adds, of course, a navigation system with voice recognition as well as HD and satellite radio upgrades.

The 2015 Fit’s exterior is recognizable from its predecessor, but barely. The new version features sharp angles, oversized front and rear lights, a more upscale-looking grille and a more pronounced rear end. The interior also has a new look with a more handsome design and improved material quality.

The 2015 Honda Fit has been redesigned inside and outside.
The 2015 Honda Fit has been redesigned inside and outside. Images © James Raia/TheWeeklyDriver.com, 2015.

As a subcompact, the Fit has good interior space, including in the back seat where there’s ample legroom. Like a lot of vehicles with manufacturer’s claims of five-passenger seating, the Fit is a better fit for four adults.

Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Fit is the total cargo space. How does a subcompact have some much interior space? One answer is the so-called back “Magic Seat.” It can fold in multiple directions. The result is optimal configurations for cargo or passenger entry and exit.

With both rear seatbacks folded down, the Fit has 52.7 cubic feet of cargo room, not too much less than some smaller crossovers. With the Fit’s front passenger seat folded flat, items nearly eight-feet long will fit.

With its 1.5-liter, four-cylinder, 130-horsepower engine with a six-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT), the Honda Fit shouldn’t be expected to break land speed records. But for its class, it’s no slouch, with a 0-60 mph test time of 8.8 seconds.

On the open road, the Honda Fit drives predictably. It’s a lightweight vehicle, so it doesn’t have a lot of authority. And compared to previous years’ models, the new Fit has more engine noise at freeway speeds.

On the contrary, in city driving the Fit is at its best. It maneuvers well through traffic, has a tight turning radius and is right at home, as it should be, in tight parking spaces. Overall road vision is impressive, in part because the Fit has 10 windows. It’s another reason why the Fit has a larger presence than its subcompact status.

Likes:

Large, versatile cargo area.
Great fuel economy ratings.
Roomy back seat.
Comfortable, composed ride.

Dislikes:

Noisy engine.
Confusing touch-screen audio system.
Not available as a sedan.

Facts & Figures: 2015 Honda Fit

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 8.8 seconds.
Airbags: 6.
Fuel economy: 33 mpg (city), 41 mpg (highway), 36 mpg (combined).
Horsepower: 130
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $21,745.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.honda.com.
Price As Tested: Unavailable.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles; Roadside Assistance, 3 years/36,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“There’s something here for a wide swath of people. Whether it is accommodating passengers or carrying odd objects, the Fit conforms to you. Nearly all the things that made the old Fit appealing have been made better – it’s nimble, sips less fuel and has a more occupant-friendly cabin. And with its more settled freeway demeanor and less annoying steering, the Fit feels more grown-up than ever.” — Edmunds.

“We might be disappointed by the car’s slight dynamic drop compared to its predecessor, but it’s hard to complain about a car that is still such a complete package. Some competitors might have better chassis, some have better steering, and some just don’t look dorky. But nobody has yet matched the Fit’s incredible versatility at this price, and placed it atop a chassis that offers a modicum of fun.” — Car and Driver.

“With the 2015 Fit, Honda has raised the bar in a segment that has some pretty tough competition in the Nissan Versa Note, Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2. It’s no longer a question of settling for less, but rather settling for the best.” — Kelley Blue Book.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“The moment the Honda Fit debuted in the U.S. in 2006, it was easy to like. And it still is. There’s a lot more competition, but the Fit remains exceedingly versatile and fun to drive as a subcompact with a big presence.”

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