After a year’s hiatus, the Fit returns to the Honda lineup as an all-new subcompact hatchback. It rides on a new platform, has a new look, and is powered by a new engine through a new transmission.
Even though the new Fit seems larger, it’s actually about the same height, 1.6 inches shorter, just 0.3 inch wider and weighs in at 2,572 pounds, up 52 pounds from its predecessor.
The Fit’s distinctive wedge-shaped hatchback design has made it instantly recognizable, but now it looks more mature thanks to a new grille and headlight design, LED taillights, and 16-inch wheels. The rear suspension has been redesigned to provide more room for rear-seat occupants. That improvement comes at the expense of some luggage space, but with nearly 53 cubic feet, cargo space still remains larger than that of its competitors. Folding the seat back flat or flipping its seat bottom up gives the Fit plenty of versatility for carrying passengers, mountain bikes, large pets, and other stuff.
Not only does it offer more passenger space, the 2015 Honda Fit boasts an improvement in material quality and design: The doors and dash feature luxurious soft-touch panels, and matte-finish “faux-luminum” flourishes accent the dash, door handles, and air vents.
Along with the upgrade in appearance comes an upgrade in standard and available equipment. The 2015 Honda Fit is offered in LX, EX, EX-L, and EX-L with Navi trim levels. Standard equipment on LX models includes 15-inch wheels, automatic headlights, cruise control, height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, 5-inch display screen, and a four-speaker sound system with CD player, auxiliary audio jack, and iPod/USB audio interface.
EX models add 16-inch alloy wheels, sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, 7-inch touchscreen interface, Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot display, and a six-speaker audio system with Pandora functionality, smartphone app integration (HondaLink), and an HDMI input (needed for many HondaLink features, including a streaming navigation app).
Going with the EX-L gets you heated mirrors, leather upholstery, and heated front seats, while the EX-L with Navi adds (predictably) a navigation system with voice recognition as well as HD and satellite radio upgrades.
The 2015 Fit features a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine generating 130 horsepower and 114 lb.-ft. of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on LX and EX models, while a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is optional.
The new CVT performs better than expected, accelerating to 60 mph in a little over 8 seconds in our test car. Unlike some other CVTs, which seem to produce more noise than action, it quickly “downshifts” when you need quick acceleration.
Equipped with the manual transmission, the Fit returns an EPA-estimated 32 mpg combined (29 city/37 highway). CVT-equipped models deliver 35 mpg combined (32 city/38 highway), except for the entry-level LX. At 36 mpg combined (33 city/41 highway), it yields the best fuel economy of the lineup.
The balance between ride and handling is biased toward handling with a firm, but not harsh ride. Steering is quick and nicely weighted for a pleasant driving experience, but on the highway, road, engine, and wind noise are difficult to ignore. Every 2015 Honda Fit comes standard with anti-lock brakes (front disc, rear drum), stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, and active head restraints.
In the small-overlap frontal-offset test, the Fit originally earned a second-worst score of “Marginal.” Honda subsequently redesigned the Fit’s front bumper, however, and IIHS retesting resulted in an improved (second-best) “Acceptable” rating. Honda says owners of Fits built before the change will be given the opportunity to have their cars modified with the new bumper free of charge. Prices start at $15,525.
— Dave Van Sickle, Motor Matters
Manufacturer Photo: The 2015 Honda Fit is completely redesigned from the ground up to deliver an unparalleled combination of style, interior space, fun-to-drive performance and fuel efficiency plus leading-edge safety and vehicle connectivity. The 2015 Fit debuts with a sleek, modern and sporty exterior style. A more aggressive front fascia showcases a new grille and headlight design. A strong character line runs along the side of the Fit, emphasizing the vehicle’s aerodynamic profile.
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2014