Small Outside – But More Rear Legroom than An Accord
The 2015 Honda Fit has been reinvented and completely redesigned with a new transmission and engine, increased passenger room capacity and affordability. What was known in the past as a good car, Honda now says is a more dynamic, fun and refined driving experience for 2015. And we found our test model just a tic shy of being able to join the 40 MPG Club (they have another model that makes the club).
The front-wheel drive 2015 Fit comes in four trim levels of LX, EX, EX-L and EX-L with Navigation. Across all trims the only engine offered is the 1.5L Direct Injection, 16-valve, DOHC four-cylinder that puts out 130 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque while running on unleaded regular. The LX and EX can be ordered with a six-speed manual while all versions can be equipped with a smooth
operating Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT.) The LX with the CVT comes in at an EPA-rated 41 mpg highway. Clean Fleet Report’s Fit EX-L was EPA rated at 32 City/38 Highway/35 Combined. In 953 miles of 90-percent/10-percent highway/city driving we averaged 39.7 mpg, which was above the EPA rating due to spending so much time on the highway driving between Southern California and Las Vegas.
Ed note: The other Fit drivetrain is electric—the Fit EV. Formerly available for lease in limited numbers, Honda now says they’ve sold out of blue Fit EVs, though some may be available when they come off
Driving Experience: On the Road
The excellent fuel economy was the result of the CVT, selecting the ECO drive mode and setting the cruise control. If you are not familiar with CVT technology, it can take a few miles to get used to. To begin with, when mashing down the accelerator, you will hear and feel the RPMs racing to the maximum until you release the pedal. This is common to a CVT, but is nothing to be concerned with. Once you are at cruising speed, you will never feel a gear shift as there are no gears in a CVT. Our Fit EX-L had paddle shifters, but since this car would never be confused with a sports car and they didn’t do anything to improve the performance, they weren’t used. The Fit is all about fuel economy and blipping the paddle shifters will only use gasoline wastefully.
At 2,642 lbs., the Fit EX-L competently cruised down the road, but some of the surface imperfections, bumps, cracks and even small potholes were felt through the cabin. There was never a feeling of loss-of-control, thanks to the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), but you always knew when the road crew had not kept up with maintenance. The Fit, with electric, power-assisted rack and pinion steering, offered progressive pressure through corners, but overall it lacks feel. The lack of feel for me was felt when I was changing lanes at highway speed or taking a corner hard. There wasn’t what I call a direct connection feeling between the steering action and the wheel reactions. The 16-inch wheels (on the EX-L trim), 185/55 all-season tires, MacPherson struts and stabilizer bar up front, and torsion beam rear suspension did their best to keep the car flat through hard corners and reduce pushing when taking corners faster than the posted limit.
Stopping was straight and true with no fading from the power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes with Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), brake assist and the Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) system.
Driving Experience: Interior
The class-leading interior space in the 2015 Fit does not disappoint. It has a spaciousness that has excellent visibility through all windows. Clean Fleet Report’s EX-L model (the “L” stands for leather) had a clean look with all gauges and buttons in easy reach. The highlight of the interior, for me at least, was the single-bottle holder located on the far left of the dash, right where it meets
the door. The bottle holder seemed like it would block the air vent, but this really isn’t the case, and the convenience of having the bottle so easily reachable makes any reduced air flow an acceptable compromise.
I picked-up the car in Los Angeles and immediately hopped on the freeway for a 4+ hour drive to Las Vegas to attend the Consumer Electronics Show. The manually operated, heated black leather seats up-front invited me to find a cruising position. Unfortunately, I had to stuff a pillow behind my lower back as lumbar support was lacking and the thigh bolsters were not as bolstery as they could have been. Not to single-out Honda (because they make excellent vehicles), but I have found most small cars getting 40+ mpg on the highway do not have a driver seat engineered for the long periods of time you will be spending in the car enjoying that excellent fuel economy. And, in the case of the Fit, it had a center armrest but it was so low that it was impossible to find a normal resting position for my right elbow and arm. Why make a car that says “drive me long distances” and then not make it comfortable to do so?
The six-speaker, 160-watt, high-end sound system was commanded by the high-resolution seven-inch color display with navigation, the rear-view camera and
SiriusXM (three-month trial subscription), AM/FM/HD/CD/MP3, USB port with iPod connectivity, Pandora interface, SMS text messaging, Aux-in jacks, Bluetooth streaming audio and hands-free telephone. It sounded great and filled the cabin nicely with crisp treble and booming bass. But here is where the infotainment system is lacking: no knobs for the volume or channel selection. I found changing between modes (AM, FM, Satellite, etc.) to be cumbersome at the least and, because it required removing your eyes from the road, potentially distracted driving. Again, this is not picking on Honda, but why can’t sound systems have knobs that push and turn as opposed to the touch screens that so frequently don’t live up to their futuristic and coolness factors?
Our test Fit EX-L came with a one-touch power tilt and sliding moonroof that worked smoothly and was complemented nicely with a tilt and telescopic steering column, auto-dimming and multi-angle rearview mirror, leather-wrapped steering wheel with illuminated controls for hands-free telephone, radio and cruise control, and leather-wrapped gear shift knob.
The Fit can seat three adults in the 60/40 split bench rear seat that has a fold down arm rest with cup holders. Leg, knee and head room – front and rear – were very good, but for longer trips two adults maximum in the rear seats is a good idea.
Other nice interior features are rear air vents, air conditioning with filtration, power windows, door locks and heated outside mirrors with integrated turn indicators, six cup holders, carpeted floor mats, center console arm rest with storage, exterior temperature display, smart entry system, rear window wiper, push button start/stop and 12-volt accessory outlets.
Driving Experience: Exterior
The Fit was redesigned for 2015 with a softening of the front end and, as Honda says, “chiseled sides,” a “tapered roofline” and a more “linear slope and windshield.” No argument from me, the 2015 is a major improvement over last year’s model. Plus, if you want to really show some individuality, choose Mystic Yellow Pearl or Passion Berry Pearl, from the seven available colors, leaving no doubts that your 2015 Fit is no ordinary car.
Safety and Convenience
The 2015 Fit has earned a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) and a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
(IIHS). These recognitions say that within the small-compact classification, the Fit rates very high on crash worthiness and occupant safety.
For 2015, the Fit comes with safety and convenience features including six air bags, remote keyless entry, the LaneWatch Display system, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with traction control and the previously mentioned four-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with brake assist, Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and multi-reflector Halogen headlights, fog lights and LED taillights.
Pricing and Warranties
Pricing for the 2015 Honda Fit begins at $15,650, excluding the $820 Destination charge. Clean Fleet Report’s 2015 Fit EX-L with Navigation had an MSRP of $20,800, excluding the $820 Destination charge.
The 2015 Fit comes with these warranties:
- New Vehicle – Three-year/36,000-mile
- Powertrain – Three-year/36,000-mile
- Roadside Assistance – Three-year/36,000-mile
- Anti-Perforation – Five-year/Unlimited-mile
Observations: 2015 Honda Fit EX-L with Navigation
For right around $20,000 you get an almost fully optioned 2015 Fit (even less if you go without some of the optional items). This car can carry a family of four comfortably, even on 500+ mile
trips. Leave the kids behind, fold down the rear seat and this becomes an almost perfect small car for all your around town and freeway use. The small compact category is crowded with some pretty stout competitors, so when out shopping make sure to stop by your local Honda dealer as the 2015 Fit should be on your must-see list.
Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!
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