All subcompact cars share a common problem – they compete more with their stablemates than they do among themselves. With compact cars, and crossovers, fiercely competing for your attention and money, cars like the Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit need to be extremely affordable or offer something unique to be considered.
And while the Honda Fit might be an excellent choice amongst its peers, it’s still not enough to convince consumers to select it over a Honda Civic, or an HR-V. There are a number of reasons why opting for the Fit makes sense including resale values. At the time we gave up our 2014 Honda Fit, it was worth what we still owed on the loan in 2016. Today, two years later, it’s still worth almost the same amount. Although Civics retain their value, the Fit is better at it. This is an important argument in favour of the Fit but once it’s versatility is experienced, everything else is secondary.
The first two generations of the Honda Fit were attractive, cute even. Our little bugger rode on plain old hub caps, was white and completely unadorned. For the 3rd generation Fit introduced for the 2015 model year, Honda’s switched things up quite a bit.
The current Fit is visually louder with its larger snout and defined and creased beltline. In the case of the tested Sport, it is adorned with a specific front spoiler, rear diffuser and alloy wheels. Draped in Platinum White, it is in some ways reminiscent of the Civic Type R.
With the 2015 overhaul, Honda classed up the cabin and moved it into the 21st Century. It retains its bulky and chunky look but loses nothing in the ergonomics department. The 5-inch screen is nicely nestled in the dashboard and all manners of controls are simple to operate.
If you come up with only one reason to purchase the 2018 Honda Fit, this is it. The cabin is without comparable competition in either the subcompact or compact car segments. Moreover, no other small crossover, with the exception of the Honda HR-V, is as versatile and user-friendly. The unequalled Magic Seat in the 2nd row can flip up for tall objects, or fold completely flat for large object. When in place, the boot delivers 470 litres of space. When stowed, the volume grows to an astounding 1,492 litres.
The rear bench can also take on passengers. How’s that for flexibility! Although fitting three across will be a chore, leg-, head- and shoulder-room are generous. The front seats are plenty comfortable and storage is plentiful. There’s a useful cupholder to the left of the instrument pod that is perfect for phones. There are door bins, cubbyholes; essentially spots for all of life’s little necessities.
A base 2018 Honda Fit starts at $15,190 (the 2019, $15,490). The mid-level 2018 is $19,590 (+$1,300 for the CVT and Honda Sensing) and with it come a leather wrapped steering wheel and shifter, all of the physical add-ons to go along with heated front seats, cruise control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and more.
The EX trim includes a sunroof, push-button start, variable wipers and the useless LaneWatch for $21,890. At this price, we’re dangerously close to the that of the 2018/2019 base LX-2WD HR-V. The Sport, only $1,000 more than the Fit LX, is in my opinion the best deal, and one that is likely to do very well when the time comes to sell it on the used car market.
The Fit is delivered with only one engine. The 1.5-litre 4-cylinder mill produces 130-horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 114 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,600 rpm. These stats are specific to the 6-speed manual car as the CVT-equipped Fit makes due with 2 fewer horsies and 1 less pound of torque…
You might have guessed that this is a little screamer of an engine. This relative lack of refinement also affects the potential interest in the Fit, especially if a Civic is taken for a test run prior to a purchase. Even so, the 1.5-litre is peppy with the 6-speed manual but is better served by the CVT. The latter manages to extract more oomph and performance from the engine and reduces NVH at higher revs.
The controls for the 6M are extremely light and take some getting used to. The Fit is an inexpensive automobile which explains and justifies the front disc, rear drum brake setup and torsion beam rear suspension. Even so, the ride is compliant with an entertaining level of roll. Meanwhile, the brakes are perfectly adapted to the task – the Honda Fit weighs only 1,161 kg so no need for costlier to maintain rear disc brakes.
The Fit is not the most fuel efficient subcompact but no matter how hard it is driven, it’ll always return roughly 7L/100km. Sadly, so will the HR-V. But like it and the Fit, both are trumped by their larger siblings, the CR-V and the Civic. As well, the Civic LX with CVT will consume the same amount and worst of all, retails for only a few hundred dollars more than the Fit.
The 2018 Honda Fit is a fabulous car but until the day comes when Honda will truly want to move them with more enticing financing and leasing incentives, the Civic is a more logical choice.