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The Fit is Honda's entry-level model (and lowest-priced model) in the U.S., and it perhaps comes closest to emulating what the Civic used to be: well-configured, affordable transportation with a fun-to-drive edge.
While the Civic has become somewhat larger, softer, and more anonymous in look and feel over the years, the smaller Fit manages to feel nearly as roomy thanks to its tall, upright body style and still-best-in-class 'Magic Seat' seat-folding arrangement.Depending on how you see the 2012 Honda Fit—and how you value a voluptuous exterior—you might be turned off somewhat by its obvious preference of function over form. It's difficult to make a super-practical, small, tall hatchback like the Fit look even vaguely sexy, and the tall proportions arguably make it look like a scaled-down minivan in some respects. Inside, the Fit has an airier feel than in some other small cars, with a relatively low (by today's standards) beltline and a vast expanse of dashboard ahead, due to the rakish windshield.
You won't find impressive performance from the 1.5-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine in the 2012 Honda Fit, but provided you don't have a stopwatch in your hand you'll find it quite fun-to-drive with the manual gearbox. A five-speed automatic is also offered and comes with paddle-shifters in Fit Sport trims. And though sheer velocity might not come easy in the Fit, its handling and maneuverability are stellar, with this small hatchback possessing a responsive, tossable feel around town or in tight corners.
The Fit feels just fine at 80 mph, and settled enough for longer-distance highway cruising. Honda claims to have made the Fit even quieter for 2012 with more insulation from road noise.
If you're cross-shopping a lot of small cars, you'll notice that while appointments are simple and sturdy in the Fit, something is very different—in a good way—about its interior packaging. The Fit makes the most out of a small space, for both passengers and cargo--and it feels like Honda has applied some minivan ideas here. There's enough headroom and legroom for two adults—or three kids—in back, and the so-called Magic Seat folds flat by lifting a single lever and pushing the seatback forward, with no need to remove rear headrests in the process. In front the driving position is upright but comfortable, with a good view forward.The cargo floor is especially low for easy loading, amassing an impressive 20.6 cubic feet of EPA cargo room. In addition, there are two glove compartments (upper and lower), plenty of cup holders (redesigned in the center console for 2012), and many useful storage compartments and cubbies in the center console, dash, and doors—as well as under the back seat.
The Honda Fit has earned respectable safety ratings from the IIHS, although it roof strength score was just 'acceptable.' That said, the 2012 Honda Fit offers an especially strong body structure, along with a long list of safety features including front seat side airbags, full-length side-curtain bags, electronic stability control, and anti-lock brakes.
The 2012 Honda Fit includes plenty of features and option possibilities and manages to buck the stripped-down small-car stereotype in this respect. Both the Fit and Fit Sport models include a pretty generous list of features, and for 2012, equipment on the Fit Sport has been bolstered, with additional dash trim, steering-wheel audio controls, and upgraded seat fabric. Air conditioning; power windows, locks, and mirrors; cruise control; keyless entry; a USB input; and an MP3-compatible CD sound system are included with the base Fit. The Fit Sport gets larger 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, keyless entry, a security system, and USB connectivity for the sound system, along with sporty cues throughout. Offered only on Fit Sport models is a package adding the navigation system. The navigation system now includes Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and streaming audio, but that's unfortunately the only way to get it.