Wednesday, November 26, 2014

2015 Honda Fit: A Great Thing in a Small Package

The subcompact car market used to seem as if the automakers were sending buyers to the penalty box, making really small cars that didn't have much to offer in the way of comfort or style.
Those days seem to be over, thankfully, and it may be due in large part to the Honda Fit.

When the Fit made its debut a few years ago, it seemed to boldly state that it wanted subcompact drivers to have some practicality, and a little bit of fun, with their cars.

Since then, the Fit has only gotten better.

For the 2015 model year, it gets a full makeover, most notably with its new styling. The Fit now has a much more aggressive and sporty exterior appearance.

In fact, during our weeklong test drive, we noticed a few folks turning their heads to check out the car.

There are sharp, curving lines at the car's rear and a black grille and more pointed headlights in the front. There's also a more aerodynamic shape to the car, which aids fuel efficiency.

It's a nice move by Honda's designers, who have developed a reputation for being rather conservative. Or, who knows, maybe the designers have been coming up with cool stuff like this all along, but the Honda honchos have quashed their efforts at creativity.

The body of the new Fit is shorter, but the wheelbase has actually been extended and widened, with the end result being an increase in overall passenger room. Honda says the new Fit includes an added five inches of rear passenger leg room. That change might have shaved a bit of space from the front passenger area, and it did rob a little from the rear cargo area, but those decreases are minimal and not detrimental.
Plus, for more cargo space, you can fold the back seats up to carry taller items. When the seats are folded, the Fit has 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space, which is grand.

A backup camera is standard in the Fit, and optional is the LaneWatch system, which gives the driver a dashboard screen view of what's going on in the right lane when the driver turns on the signal to make a right.

Honda has what it calls its Earth Dreams engines, which are aimed squarely at touting their strong fuel efficiency. The Fit has one of these, a 1.5-liter four cylinder that makes 130 horsepower and comes with a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission.
The manual model gets 29 mpg city, 37 highway and the CVT gets 32 and 38. The LX trim model, thanks to some engineering tweaks, gets 33 and 41 with the CVT.

One minor issue we had with the Fit is that it's a bit noisy. Sonically, it reminds you a bit of driving in a jeep or a small truck. And truthfully, the ride is not the smoothest you'll find.

But if you're looking for an economical car that also is practical, do not let those issues dissuade you from looking at the Fit.

The Fit starts at around $16,000 and ranges to around $21,000.

This car proves that in some cases, you really don't have to pay a lot to get a lot.

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