2013 Honda Fit Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
February 3, 2014

If you're not turned off by the utilitarian look of the 2013 Honda Fit, you'll like what you get, which is awesome practicality and space-efficiency, plus some driving verve.

Honda's fit subcompact hatchback is nearly Civic-sized, and it's the brand's go-to choice for those looking for space without bulk.

Slotting into the Honda lineup in roughly the spot once held by the Civic Wagon, the Fit's convenient interior reconfiguration abilities maximize its utility within a small footprint. Gas mileage is generally excellent, and styling is pert and perky.

If anything, the Fit's sole downfall comes in features, where some common conveniences aren't even offered. Even so, as Honda's entry-level model, it covers the bases that the Civic used to; and it has a lot of the simple, smart Honda small-car charm that, frankly, is missing from the current Civic.

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And really, thanks to a phenomenally good, space-efficient design, 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. The function-over-form approach is obvious in the way that the 2013 Honda Fit interior tends to make much better design sense than its exterior. Just don't expect even a gram of sex appeal; from some angles, the Fit looks a bit like a scaled-down minivan on the outside. Inside, the Fit has an airier feel than in some other small cars, with a relatively low beltline and a vast expanse of dashboard ahead, due to the rakish windshield.

The Fit only offers 117 horsepower; yet it has a way of feeling surprisingly frisky when you're driving around town. One of the keys to that isn't its power output, but that the attention given to steering, handling, and maneuverability all help make the most of it. On tight streets and in places where precision matters, the Fit feels crisp and tossable. Take it out on the highway, and it's stable and secure, though a bit noisy.

Packaging, seating, and cargo versatility are phenomenally good in the 2013 Honda Fit. If you're cross-shopping many small cars, you'll have no problem picking out the Fit's key differences, in that it manages to fit (yes, the name's appropriate here) a lot more usable space into a parking footprint that's strictly subcompact. In back, there's enough headroom and legroom for two adults—or three kids—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. Factor in a low cargo floor, and even under-seat storage, and you get the sort of vertical space to fit the sorts of things, like loveseats, potted plants, or in some cases bikes.

The Fit isn't quite the highest-rated subcompact for safety, but it remains one of the better picks in its class and includes a respectable roster of safety features. It's been a top performer in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, although in federal NCAP testing it hasn't fared as well--with a four-star rating overall. Furthermore, the Fit achieved a worrisome 'poor' rating in the IIHS small overlap frontal test. That was enough of a blemish for that group to retract its Top Safety Pick designation for the Fit.

Whether or not the 2013 Honda Fit satisfies with respect to features could depend a lot on your expectations surrounding connectivity. On one hand, it's definitely no stripped-down small car, and you won't find manual windows or have to skip air conditioning. But on the other hand, you won't find satellite radio on offer at all, and Bluetooth connectivity is reserved for top Fit Sport models optioned with the navigation system--stickering over $20k. 

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2013 Honda Fit

Styling

The 2013 Honda Fit makes no beautiful design statement from the outside, but it makes a lot of sense when you look at it from the inside out.

The function-over-form approach is obvious in the way that the 2013 Honda Fit interior tends to make much better design sense than its exterior. Just don't expect even a gram of sex appeal; from some angles, the Fit looks a bit like a scaled-down minivan on the outside.

With its last redesign back in 2009, the Fit got a more aerodynamic look that's also pretty well-detailed on the outside. Small side windows ahead of the doors and mirrors aid visibility, and the sheetmetal has some character lines that run through the grille and hood. In any case, the rather tall, narrow look of the Fit, as a whole, can leave it looking a bit too slab-sided for some tastes.

The Fit's cabin feels like that of a larger vehicle; the beltline is rather low compared to that of most new cars, while the rakish windshield leaves a vast expanse of dashboard ahead of the driver. The dash itself is quite upright, though, and with a two-tiered design and well-coordinated textured trims and matte-metallic plastics--along with upholsteries that are simple but sturdy--the Fit interior has a sort of sensible, straightforward fashion sense that's missing from the odd and unexciting Civic.

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2013 Honda Fit

Performance

The 2013 Honda Fit is responsive and nimble, but not downright fast.

The 2013 Honda Fit only offers 117 horsepower; yet it has a way of feeling surprisingly frisky when you're driving around town.

One of the keys to that isn't its power output, but that the attention given to steering, handling, and maneuverability all help make the most of it. In all those respects, the Fit is all stellar for a small, frugal hatchback. On tight streets and in places where precision matters, the Fit feels crisp and tossable.

Especially with the five-speed manual gearbox, the Fit feels lively and responsive, with the 1.5-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine revving eagerly. The five-speed automatic that's available comes with paddle-shifters in Fit Sport trims, and compared to some other automatics in this segment it does well for responsiveness--though you should be aware that you get some added coarseness and noise.

Some small cars trade off low-speed responsiveness for a nervous attitude at highway speeds; but the Fit feels just fine at 80 mph; there is some engine and road noise, but Honda claims to have made some recent improvements.
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2013 Honda Fit

Comfort & Quality

As a standout among small hatchbacks, the 2013 Honda Fit works some interior-design magic.

Packaging, seating, and cargo versatility are phenomenally good in the 2013 Honda Fit. If you're cross-shopping many small cars, you'll have no problem picking out the Fit's key differences, in that it manages to fit (yes, the name's appropriate here) a lot more usable space into a parking footprint that's strictly subcompact.

Compared to most other small hatchbacks, the interior design of the Fit is refreshingly different, and makes the most of both passenger and cargo space. Honda has looked to minivans, crossovers, and wagons for inspiration here, to awesome results. In back, there's enough headroom and legroom for two adults—or three kids—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.

The cargo floor is especially low for easy loading, amassing an impressive 20.6 cubic feet of EPA cargo room--giving you the sort of vertical space to fit the sorts of things, like loveseats, potted plants, or in some cases bikes--that you wouldn't otherwise be able to carry in a car this size.

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.

In front the driving position closer to what you'd expect in this class; it's upright but comfortable, and perhaps a little less 'sunken-in' than other hatchbacks, with a good view forward. The steering wheel telescopes on all models, making it easy for a wide range of sizes to be at ease.

Ride quality is comfortable enough, but it's far from luxurious. Suspension tuning is on the firm side, and just compliant enough for bumpy urban streets. Switchgear is high-quality, but overall, the look and feel of cabin appointments is quite good for the money--and simpler, more stylish, and more straightforward than the interior of the larger Civic.

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2013 Honda Fit

Safety

Safety ratings for the 2013 Honda Fit aren't unanimously top-notch, but it's one of the better small-car picks.

The 2013 Honda Fit isn't quite the highest-rated subcompact for safety, but it remains one of the better picks in its class and includes a respectable roster of safety features.

The Fir's list of safety features is impressive--including front seat side airbags, full-length side-curtain bags, electronic stability control, and anti-lock brakes.

And relative to most other small cars, the lower beltline of the 2013 Fit helps with outward visibility and parking ease.

Results in federal NCAP crash-testing haven't been quite as great, with the Fit earning four stars (out of five) in most categories--although reading in more depth reveals a few lower scores, like three stars for driver side protection, and only two stars in the side pole rating.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing, the Honda Fit has earned top 'good' ratings across the board in frontal, side, and rear impact testing, along with in the roof strength test.

As a footnote to the model year—as the 2013 Fit has remained on sale quite late in the absence of a 2014 model (it's all-new for 2015—the Fit achieved a worrisome 'poor' rating in the IIHS small overlap frontal test. That was enough of a blemish for that group to retract its Top Safety Pick designation for the Fit.

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2013 Honda Fit

Features

The 2013 Honda Fit is a bit more expensive than rivals, yet it doesn't include satellite radio, and Bluetooth is only included with navigation.

Whether or not the 2013 Honda Fit satisfies with respect to features could depend a lot on your expectations surrounding connectivity. On one hand, it's definitely no stripped-down small car, and you won't find manual windows or have to skip air conditioning. But on the other hand, you won't find satellite radio on offer at all, and Bluetooth connectivity is reserved for top Fit Sport models optioned with the navigation system--stickering over $20k. 

In any case, both the Fit and Fit Sport models include a pretty generous list of features, in a traditional sense. The base 2013 Honda Fit includes air conditioning; cruise control; keyless entry; a USB sound-system input; power windows, locks, and mirrors; and an MP3-compatible CD sound system. For a little more money, the Honda Fit Sport gets larger 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, keyless entry, and a security system, along with sporty cues throughout.

A navigation system, which now includes Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and streaming audio, as well as basic voice-command functions, is available only on Fit Sport models--and if you want Bluetooth, that's really the only way to get it.

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2013 Honda Fit

Fuel Economy

If gas mileage is a priority, you'd do better with any number of rival models--or even the larger Honda Civic.

You might expect the Honda Fit to be the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid Honda makes. Although it looks the part, it's not true--the Civic is actually considerably better in EPA ratings, while the Fit gets a 35-mpg rating at best.

Manual transmission versions of the Honda Fit and Honda Fit Sport get 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The base Honda Fit with the five-speed automatic fares slightly better, with EPA estimates of 28 mpg city and 35 mpg on the highway.

While those are good ratings, it's not particularly impressive in a class where 40 mpg highway ratings are becoming the norm.

Also of note on the green front is that there's a new Honda Fit EV offered for the first time this year. While this model offers good performance and a range of 82 miles, along with a rating of 118 MPG-equivalent, Honda only plans to build about 1,100 of these over three years, and offer them under a lease-only arrangement. 

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September 4, 2015
2013 Honda Fit 5-Door HB Automatic

fit is a good car.but gear box have some strange sounds sometimes.

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Fits gear box makes some unusual sound specifically in the morning
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April 17, 2015
For 2013 Honda Fit

Feels like Civics of old--and that's a good thing.

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I have owned several Civics, and with each new design they have grown bigger and less enjoyable to drive. My Fit Sport reminds me of my '93 Civic Si in that it is a small and nimble little car with a great... + More »
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Styling 6.0
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