2017 Honda Fit Review

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2017 Honda Fit Overview

The Honda Fit is a vehicle you’re likely to rate in one of two ways, depending on how you view the auto market. To a driving enthusiast, the Fit is one of those bargain commuters that hardly even deserves to be called a car. It doesn’t have a lot of power, and it looks exactly like the subcompact it is. You can drive off in your Bimmer and relish the fact that you’ll never be caught dead in something so unremarkable and plebian. But for the everyday consumer, the Fit is no more than what it purports to be—an extremely practical vehicle and one heck of a deal—and that’s a good thing. This latter side of the equation seems to be ringing true, with the Fit garnering awards for its usability and value, particularly to a younger set. Millennials don’t always see cars as the consumer status symbols they once so universally were. Even if the auto industry is doing well as a whole, many of us are just looking for a decent and reliable set of wheels so we can get to work. That reasoning puts the Fit in an excellent market position going into 2017.

The Honda Fit competes with vehicles like the Nissan Versa Note, Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Sonic, and Ford Fiesta. The subcompact hatchback segment as a whole is priced around $15,000 to $20,000 and is characterized by small differences in pricing between trims. For 2017, a base Fit LX equipped with a manual transmission starts at $15,990; a top-of-the-line EX-L with Navigation runs to $21,265. There is also an EX trim between the LX and EX-L. Most available options are centered around cargo organization and vehicle protection (cargo covers, splash guards, etc.), and they're typically priced below $300.

Unsurprisingly, the Honda Fit gets excellent gas mileage from its 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, which is equipped with direct injection and variable valve timing. This engine produces 130 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission comes standard in the LX and EX, with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) available for $800 more. The CVT is standard in the EX-L. With the CVT, the LX posts fuel-economy numbers of 33 mpg city/40 highway/36 combined, bordering on hybrid territory. These numbers drop a point or two for EX and EX-L trims with the CVT. Fits equipped with the manual get 29/36/32. The Fit is front-wheel-drive-only (FWD) and is known for solid handling.

Of course, we’re not talking about a minivan here. This is a small vehicle. Nevertheless, the Fit offers 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats down. This is in part thanks to Honda’s Magic Seat system, which lets you move the seats around pretty much any way you see fit (no pun intended). In Long Mode, you can collapse the rear seats, remove the front passenger-seat headrest, and then fold the front passenger seat all the way back, making room for, say, a pair of skis. Tall Mode lets you fold the rear seat bases up, creating a cargo area that reaches all the way down to the floor of the car, perfect for awkward items like bikes or grills. A fairly run-of-the-mill Utility Mode lets you fold the rear seats down flush (as you would prior to configuring Long Mode), and a Refresh Mode lets you remove the driver’s-seat headrest, fold the seat back, and use it as a lounge in conjunction with the rear driver’s-side seat. Taken together, these cargo flexibility options help compensate for the Fit’s small size.

The interior is designed to look and feel spacious, even if it really isn’t. The Fit LX doesn’t offer much beyond the basic features you’d expect from a vehicle in the segment, but the EX adds an improved audio system with a touchscreen display, a leather steering wheel with mounted controls and paddle shifters, a power moonroof, and alloy wheels. The EX-L adds leather-trimmed upholstery and heated front seats, and the EX-L with Navigation adds exactly what it says it adds: a navigation system, integrated into the touchscreen display and featuring voice recognition. The HondaLink infotainment system is available on the EX and up, offering in-car smartphone connectivity. And keyless entry and push-button start are featured on all trims other than the LX. So although the LX’s relatively rock-bottom price tag might be attractive, opting for one of the higher trims instead is probably how you’ll get the best overall deal.

All Fits include a standard rear-view camera, and every trim starting with the EX also features a blind-spot warning system. A full complement of airbags, vehicle stability assist, and electronic brakeforce distribution are also standard. The Fit received a 5-out-of-5-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and top Good scores on all Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, other than an Acceptable on the small-overlap front. Increasingly familiar safety technologies like forward-collision or lane-departure warnings are still absent from the Fit lineup—but even with all the value, it’s important to remember the Fit is still essentially a budget vehicle and cannot be expected to offer all the latest and greatest features. Considering how quickly these newer safety features are spreading across automakers’ fleets, it’s presumably only a matter of time before they appear on the Fit as well.

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