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2018 Honda Fit Overview
Now in the middle of its third generation, the Honda Fit subcompact hatchback enters 2018 with new exterior styling at the front and rear, including a mildly redesigned grille, and a new Sport trim. The Sport slots into the Fit lineup between the entry-level LX trim and the upper-end EX and EX-L trims, and it comes equipped with a number of sport-oriented features and unique exterior elements designed to improve aerodynamics and performance. Honda also expands the list of standard features for the EX and EX-L trims with the addition of the Honda Sensing suite of cutting-edge safety and driver-assistance technologies. Rounding out the 2018 upgrades, the automaker revises some of the interior instrumentation and adds two new exterior colors: Helios Yellow and Orange Fury.
The 5-door Fit continues to garner good reviews from critics and buyers alike, and many rank it at or near the top of the subcompact class, which includes such competitors as the Toyota Yaris, Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, and FIAT 500. As in previous years, the Fit offers sporty good looks, a comfortable interior, versatile cargo-carrying capabilities, good gas mileage, and affordable pricing. On the downside, it’s a little noisy and can feel underpowered at times, particularly at highway speeds, but for many buyers the Fit’s benefits far outweigh its shortcomings.
The exterior updates for 2018 start at the front, where the Fit gets a sharper, more detailed look with new creases and angles. The grille retains the same basic smile-like shape, but Honda has spruced it up with 2 chrome and piano-black horizontal slats between the reshaped headlights, as well as a larger H emblem in the center. The lower air splitter, bumper, and fog lights (if equipped) have a sharper, more angular appearance and come with new chrome accents. At the rear, the sporty improvements extend to new taillights and a restyled bumper with a piano-black lower edge.
The 2018 Fit keeps its wedge-shaped profile, which climbs from the low hood to a high roofline before descending sharply at the back end. A rising sideline, subtle wheel wells, and a rear roof spoiler complete the look. Standard exterior features rolling over from 2017 include auto-on/off headlights, daytime running lights, and LED brake lights, while the Sport, EX, and EX-L trims also receive fog lights and the EX-L gets heated power side mirrors with integrated turn signals. The LX rides on 15-inch wheels, while the EX and EX-L trims receive 16-inch alloy ones.
The new Fit Sport receives a host of exterior enhancements to distinguish it from its stablemates, including a front underbody spoiler and a rear 3-strake diffuser, both with orange accents. Side underbody spoilers, a chrome exhaust pipe, and exclusive 16-inch gloss-black wheels add to the Sport trim’s bold appearance.
The Fit's new front-end design increases its overall length, adding 1.4 inches to the LX, EX, and EX-L trims, which now measure 161.4 inches from bumper to bumper, and 0.4 inches to the Sport, which stretches to 161.8 inches. All trims still sit on the same 99.6-inch wheelbase. Despite its short stance, the front-wheel-drive (FWD) Fit delivers a smooth ride with sharp handling, which has helped it rise to the top of its class. The electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering remains responsive and precise, while MacPherson struts in the front, a torsion-beam configuration in the rear, and a front stabilizer bar help handle road imperfections and ensure overall stability.
The Fit's 1.5-liter 4-cylinder i-VTEC engine, which generates 130 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque, provides decent power around town but can feel a bit sluggish at highway speeds, especially when merging or passing. The LX, Sport, and EX trims come standard with a 6-speed manual transmission, while the EX-L upgrades to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a Sport mode and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Buyers do have the option of adding the CVT to the lower trims. Fits equipped with the CVT get an Eco Assist feature, which helps drivers improve their vehicle’s fuel efficiency. The EPA estimates fuel-economy numbers at 29 mpg city, 36 highway, and 31 combined with the manual; 33, 40, and 36 for the LX trim with the CVT; and 31, 36, and 33 for all other trims with the CVT.
The Fit seats 5 passengers in its comfortable cabin and offers plenty of legroom, although rear seating space might be tight for three adults. The seats provide good support for long-range driving and are manually adjustable. Cloth upholstery comes standard on all trims except the EX-L, which upgrades to leather upholstery and heating for the front seats. The Sport receives a unique black interior with exclusive cross-hatched seating fabric and contrasting orange stitching to match the orange exterior accents. On all trims, the rear seatback splits 60/40 for more versatile cargo capabilities. The Fit offers 16.6 cubic feet of storage room behind the second row and 52.7 cubic feet with the rear seatback folded down, and the trunk features a low load floor to maximize cargo space.
All Fit trims get a revised speedometer and digital tachometer, which are the only interior design upgrades for 2018. The entry-level LX comes equipped with all the essentials, including air conditioning, power windows, cruise control, a center storage console, a 5-inch touchscreen, a 4-speaker audio system, and a reversing camera. The EX adds push-button start, a power moonroof, a larger 7-inch touchscreen, and a 6-speaker audio system, plus such features as Pandora capability and an SMS text-message function. The range-topping EX-L receives a leather-wrapped steering wheel and is available with HD radio and navigation. The new Sport trim also comes with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, as well as a 7-inch screen and 6-speaker audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
For 2018, both the Fit EX and EX-L trims gain the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assistance technologies as standard equipment. An available option on the LX and Sport trims, the Sensing suite includes adaptive cruise control, collision-mitigation braking, road-departure mitigation, and lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning. Honda claims the Fit is the only vehicle in its class to offer such cutting-edge technologies. Traction and stability control, antilock brakes (ABS), and a full range of airbags are among the other standard safety features. The 2017 model received a 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA), which should carry over to 2018.
The well-reviewed Fit has garnered a number of awards, particularly in terms of its overall value and resale value, and it ranks highly on numerous lists as a good buy. Although it runs in a highly competitive market segment, it continues to hold its own against its competitors, and the 2018 improvements should only increase its appeal.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in California.
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