2015 Honda Fit Review

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2015
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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
July 21, 2015

The 2015 Honda Fit might not up the ante in sportiness, but it offers up exactly what urban small-car shoppers want in safety and convenience features—and it's still as good as some utility vehicles or vans with its wondrous, unmatched Magic Seat setup.

The 2015 Honda Fit improves on what the model already did so well: making a lot of useful space out of a small footprint. Yet now it's a little more appealing as a whole, with crisper, more aerodynamic lines, as well as a new, more fuel-efficient powertrain.

One of the keys to the Fit's simply unparalleled interior flexibility is its so-called "Magic Seat" rear-seat setup. And it's housed in a quieter and more comfortable vehicle that is likely to offer tough competition for other subcompacts on the market.

As one of Honda's most attractive yet most pragmatic vehicles by design, the Fit looks less like a scaled-down minivan than either of the two previous generations. It's always had a wedge shape, but the 2015 Honda Fit has a slightly more aggressive stance, with a pronounced side crease underscoring the rising beltline. With a steeply raked windshield at virtually the same angle as the short, stubby hood, the crease adds motion and a horizontal appearance to a tall, almost "one-box" shape riding on fairly small wheels and tires. The new shape tapers both in height and width past the rear doors, ending in larger rear taillight units that continue up the sides of the rear hatch in rear styling that's quite Volvo-like—if only it weren't for the big chrome bar across the tail.

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While the exterior is nicely restrained, designers were perhaps a little too ambitious inside, where the instrument panel has a little too much happening with shapes, pieces, trims, bezels, and surfaces. It's a nice cockpit-like layout, though, and doesn't feel at all cheap.

The 2015 Honda Fit is the first Honda model for the U.S. to be assembled in Mexico. Then later in the year it will spawn a small crossover; and there's still the possibility of a four-door sedan, even though Americans are finally finding out that hatchbacks aren't so bad.

In that vein, the Fit has in previous model years been a great cheerleader for how small, affordable hatchbacks can be fun to drive, and the latest model continues that tradition—mostly. The latest Fit is powered by a direct-injected 1.5-liter engine that produces 130 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. That's a boost of 13 hp over the previous model. A six-speed manual gearbox is the standard transmission, but most Fits will arrive at dealerships with a continuously-variable transmission (CVT) that maximizes fuel efficiency, up to EPA ratings of 33 mpg city, 41 highway—which vaults Honda to the head of a class that includes the Chevrolet Sonic, Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa, and Toyota Yaris. In a separate Sport mode, you can slick through seven 'gears' with paddle-shifters, if you'd like.

Honda's done a better job of making the CVT tolerable than Nissan does, although we still find Subaru's CVTs the best among small cars. At speeds well above any U.S. speed limit, the Fit manages to suppress most exterior noise fairly well. It's hardly the hush of a luxury car, but among small and affordable hatchbacks, the new Fit is noticeably more refined than its predecessor was. If only Honda had paid a little more attention to engine noise, it would have been even better, as this Fit, with its new direct injection and composite intake, can sound a little raspy and uncouth. The Fit rides with a little more maturity than it has in the past, and keeps its responsive steering and handling, but the cost is that the driving experience isn't quite as battened down to the driver's seat.

The Honda Fit has long been a model that does some incredible things with interior space; and the new 2015 Fit is no exception. The Fit's packaging is still what truly makes this model a standout in its class. Honda's so-called Magic Seat arrangement is just as much of a game changer as it's been all along, and we're surprised other automakers haven't moved to try to mimic it.

The setup brings a split folding rear seat that can not only flip forward but flip back and upward, allowing four different modes that cater to specific kinds of large cargo—including a unique Tall mode and a futon-like Refresh mode. Back seats are happy places for tall, lanky folks, too—more so than in many swoopy-roofline cars a size or two larger. In front, the Fit is more ordinary for its class. Seat cushioning and support covers only the basics—even relative to other models in this segment—and some will wish for more rearward seat travel and adjustability.

Honda's 2015 Fit has earned very good safety scores from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA gives it five stars overall, and the Fit achieved Good ratings in all IIHS categories except the tough new small-overlap front crash tests, where it was rated Acceptable. That rating only applies to cars built June 6,2014, or later, so Honda will replace the front bumper beam on about 12,000 Fits built earlier than that date (owners can call their dealers to find out if their car qualifies for the strengthened bumper).

Its new body structure is 57 pounds lighter than that of the last Fit, but it uses more high-strength steel for greater rigidity. In fact, Honda says the new Fit should also earn the IIHS top rating of Good in all tests, including the tough new small-overlap barrier test, which would allow it to be designated an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2015.

The 2015 Honda Fit now essentially includes four models and primary builds: a base Fit LX, a mid-range EX, a premium EX-L, and a top-of-the-line EX-L with navigation. Keyless entry, cruise control, a rearview camera, and air conditioning are among many items now included even on the base LX, while mid-level EX models get push-button start, upgraded infotainment, and Honda's impressive LaneWatch wide-angle lane-change aid from the Accord. EX-L models heap on leather and more luxury, while a Navi model at the top finally gets a navigation system worth the premium, with a high-contrast display and live traffic.

8

2015 Honda Fit

Styling

The 2015 Honda Fit is true to its name, anything but frumpy or bloated; with its sharp, and nicely detailed exterior and class-above interior, it has a taut, trim, urban style that matches its mission.

The 2015 Honda Fit is an all-new, third-generation version of Honda's subcompact five-door hatchback. It packs more interior volume into the same footprint, and sports crisper, more aerodynamic lines and a new and more fuel-efficient powertrain. Most important, the Fit retain the "Magic Seat" rear seat that gives it simply unparalleled interior flexibility--but housed in a quieter and more comfortable vehicle that is likely to offer tough competition for other subcompacts on the market.

The Fit remains one of Honda's most attractive yet most pragmatic vehicles by design. This one, to Honda's credit, looks less like a scaled-down minivan than either of the two previous generations. It's always had a wedge shape, but the new 2015 model has a slightly more aggressive stance, with a pronounced side crease underscoring the rising beltline. With a steeply raked windshield at virtually the same angle as the short, stubby hood, the crease adds motion and a horizontal appearance to a tall, almost "one-box" shape riding on fairly small wheels and tires. The new shape tapers both in height and width past the rear doors, ending in larger rear taillight units that continue up the sides of the rear hatch in rear styling that's quite Volvo-like—if only it weren't for the big chrome bar across the tail.

While the exterior is nicely restrained, designers were perhaps a little too ambitious inside, where the instrument panel has a little too much happening with shapes, pieces, trims, bezels, and surfaces. It's a nice cockpit-like layout, though, and doesn't feel at all cheap.

Review continues below
7

2015 Honda Fit

Performance

The Honda Fit is no longer the sportiest-driving car in its class, but it feels eager, responsive, and well-coordinated.

While the redesigned 2015 Fit isn't quite as nimble-handling and unexpectedly vivid from the driver's seat in the corners as its predecessor, most will find that stronger powertrain performance more than makes up for that.

All versions of the 2015 Honda Fit are powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, making 130 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque—both significant gains over last year's engine. This new engine has direct injection, improved block cooling, piston oil jets, and a reduced-weight crankshaft, along with an all-composite intake manifold.

One of the biggest changes for the Fit, in addition to the new direct injection engine, is that last year's five-speed automatic transmission is gone from the lineup, replaced by a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with what Honda says is the same 'G-design Shift' programming, as is used in the Accord, which strives for less of a 'rubber-band' feel and more of a feel that revs raise naturally with speed as you accelerate, then lower when you reach cruising speed.

It's all true. With this, which Honda is anticipating to be the most popular transmission, the Fit just drives well; you don't think about it, which is a sign the CVT doesn't annoy with unneeded revs or 'surging' at mid-throttle acceleration. The new CVT has a Sport ('S') mode that allows you to click through seven preset ratios with the paddle-shifters—or you can grab the left paddle-shifter in Drive for more revs and responsiveness, for a short time.

Push the Fit just a little more and it's not quite as pleasant. The engine is in its sweet spot for acceleration around 4,000 rpm (peak torque arrives at 4,600 rpm). There's not much more acceleration remaining—mainly just extra noise—when you push the accelerator beyond about 70 percent of its travel, as the engine hits its upper ranges and reveals the rather thin firewall insulation.

The standard transmission in the 2015 Honda Fit remains a manual gearbox; and Honda has added a gear this year. The six-speed offers mostly lower gears than before, for a sportier driving feel, and its linkage is shorter, smoother, and more precise—better than most you'll find in affordable small cars, really. But you don't get any deeper overdrive with the added cog; its top sixth gear is now roughly aligned with what had been fifth gear.

For 2015, Honda has reengineered the front suspension, giving it a new geometry with front struts, a larger (hollow) stabilizer bar, a new lightweight subframe, and more caster trail for stability. In back, there's an H-type torsion-beam setup with shorter trailing arms than before, plus input-separation damper mounts (helping to isolate major road shocks without any loss in control).

The electric power steering system in the Fit is column-mounted—typically a less-desirable arrangement for precision—but it feels responsive, precise, and reasonably well-weighted here. There's a fair amount of brake dive, although the pedal is also precise and easy to mete out.

Review continues below
8

2015 Honda Fit

Comfort & Quality

An inside-out design approach and the phenomenal Magic Seat arrangement still make the Honda Fit one of the and. But there are plenty of reminders that you're in an inexpensive small car.

The Honda Fit has long been a model that does some incredible things with interior space; and the new 2015 Fit is no exception. The Fit's packaging is still what truly makes this model a standout in its class.

Honda's so-called Magic Seat arrangement is just as much of a game changer as it's been all along, and we're surprised other automakers haven't moved to try to mimic it.

The setup brings a split folding rear seat that can not only flip forward but flip back and upward, allowing four different modes that cater to specific kinds of large cargo. Utility mode flips the lower cushion all the way down to floor level and folds the seatback forward, to a flat, low loading floor that spans all the way from the hatch opening to the back of the front seats. Tall mode locks the seats into an upward position for large houseplants and such items, while Long mode allows the front passenger seat to be positioned nearly flat with the rear cargo floor, to fit a long object like a surfboard. Then Refresh mode allows a long, sofa-like position that would allow some to stretch their legs.

As for how that seating arrangement is for passenger comfort, it depends on which seat you're in. And you might actually fit better in the Fit than you do in some 'larger' small cars; this lanky 6'-6” editor, for instance, fits with just-adequate legroom and headroom in the Fit, while the Honda Civic compact lacks enough headroom to be comfortable. Thanks to tall, full door cutlines, getting in and out of the back seat is easy, too, and there's reasonably comfortable, even though you can see that foam and structure were kept thin by the design constraints of the trick folding arrangement.

It's because of that phenomenally good seat-folding arrangement—and the excellent back-seat space—that we can't imagine giving the Fit less than an 8 out of 10 in this section. But it's not without its flaws elsewhere.

In front, the Fit is more ordinary for its class. Seat cushioning and support covers only the basics—even relative to other models in this segment—and this taller editor (as well as some fellow reporters who were just over six feet tall) could have used more rearward seat travel. Additionally, the odd, angled curvature of the floor on the passenger side creates a fatiguing, skewed-leg position. We also felt like there could still be a wider range of adjustability for the driver; if you're big and/or tall, definitely take this one for an extended drive to check.

As far as refinement and noise go, the 2015 Fit is a mixed bag. We noticed some persistent wind noise at the side mirrors, as well as at the windshield and cowl; new underbody aerodynamic panels help fuel economy, but don't much impact interior noise levels. Although there's relatively little road roar and rumble compared to other cars in this class. One letdown, though, is that in this day of piped induction noises, tuned intake manifolds, and exhaust resonators, the Fit's engine sounds coarse and unrefined—and you do hear it quite a bit if you're accelerating rapidly or climbing a long grade.

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9

2015 Honda Fit

Safety

The 2015 Honda Fit builds on this model's already strong safety reputation with impressive driver aids, including a standard rearview camera system and widely available LaneWatch display.

For the 2015 Fit, Honda anticipated top safety ratings from both of the U.S. agencies. The NHTSA gives the new Fit five stars overall, but the 2015 model didn't get the ultimate laurel from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It gave the car its highest rating of Good on four of five tests, but only Acceptable (one notch below Good) on the tough new small-overlap front crash test. Still, that's good enough to earn the IIHS' Top Safety Pick award.

However, about 12,000 Fits built through June 5, 2014, lacked reinforcements in the front bumper bar that were added later so that the Fit could achieve that Acceptable rating. The earliest 2015 Fits would have been rated as Marginal, just one step above the lowest Poor rating. Consequently, Honda will replace the front-bumper beam on those early Fits, starting in September 2014. Owners of Fits built in June 2014 and before can call their Honda dealer to learn whether their car is eligible for the free update.

Standard safety features on the Fit include dual-stage, multiple threshold frontal airbags, Smart Vent front side airbags, and side curtain bags with a rollover sensor. Electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes are included, as is Hill Start Assist, which keeps the Fit from rolling backwards on an uphill start. There's also a motion-adaptive steering logic for the power steering system, allowing it to assist the driver in the direction that will restore stability, working with the stability control system.

The Fit was also designed with Honda's next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, which helps protect occupants in crashes with other types and sizes of vehicles.

On all 2015 Honda Fit models, a dual-view driver's side rearview mirror is included, and a multi-angle rearview camera system is standard. Fit EX and EX-L models add the excellent LaneWatch display system, which takes a wide-angle rearward view from a camera on the rearview mirror and shows it on the infotainment screen the moment you flick the turn signal. We've found this feature to be tremendously useful in the Accord, where it made its debut, and it should be even more useful in the tight urban environment that the Fit is designed to tackle.

While the Fit includes an impressive set of safety equipment, the fundamentals are decent, too, with good outward visibility, because of the high seating position and all the window space.

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9

2015 Honda Fit

Features

The 2015 Honda Fit adds standard equipment without major price hikes, and offers strong value for money no matter which trim you choose.

The 2015 Honda Fit now essentially includes four models and primary builds: a base Fit LX, a mid-range EX, a premium EX-L, and a top-of-the-line EX-L with navigation.

At the base LX level, the 2015 Fit includes cruise control, keyless entry, power windows and locks, a trip computer, air conditioning, a rearview camera system, maplights, and a height-adjustable driver's seat, and a USB port. EX models add a moonroof, push-button keyless entry and start, the LaneWatch system (showing a wide-angle view on screen when using the turn signal), alloy wheels, fog lamps, paddle-shifters, an additional USB port, and a larger seven-inch (instead of five-inch) infotainment screen.

The 2015 Honda Fit EX-L adds full leather upholstery, heated front seats, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, and leather trim for the shift knob and steering wheel. Above that, the EX-L Navi gets the top-of-the-line seven-inch system with full navigation features, live traffic, XM satellite radio, and HD Radio.

For those who care to add more and dress up their Fit, there's a whole line of dealer-installed accessories, including remote start, special machine-finish alloy wheels, a sport grille, various other appearance extras, and things like a cargo tray and cargo organizer.

And to those who have found recent Honda audio and navigation systems to be utterly disappointing, better systems with good touch screens and HondaLink smartphone connectivity have finally arrived, both in the 2014 Honda Civic and here in this 2015 Fit. The base audio system includes a five-inch screen with Bluetooth audio streaming, hands-free calling, voice recognition, dial by number, and a camera display. The step-up system, with or without nav, includes a seven-inch electrostatic touch-panel display and apps capability. We thought it sounded great and launched and streamed Pandora from our iPhone—loading album art and track information—with no fuss or need for input.

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8

2015 Honda Fit

Fuel Economy

The 2015 Honda Fit is now one of the most fuel-efficient subcompact hatchbacks—if you're skewing away from hybrids.

Honda claims that its new 2015 Fit has best-in-class fuel economy. This is true; but it's also worth pointing out that among small cars in the U.S. market, you could do better in fuel efficiency by going with a compact sedan instead.

It's also quite interesting that when equipped with the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), the Fit gets considerably better mileage—33 mpg city, 41 highway (or 32/38 mpg in EX/EX-L trims), versus 29/37 mpg with the manual gearbox. Part of that is due to the reason that Honda decided to go with lower gear ratios for the most part for the manual, thinking that it will be the choice for driving enthusiasts, not frugal types. We don't necessarily agree with this, and we think that it limits the manual's appeal.

The manual is now a six-speed, but Honda has, for instance, decided to go with a top ratio that's about the same, maybe slightly lower, than last year's fifth gear. That results in the engine spinning nearly 4,000 rpm at 80 mph—while the CVT at that speed is turning well below 3,000 rpm.

In either case, real-world mileage should be impressive, and we say that based both on our experience over a couple of first drive opportunities of the Fit and because of Honda's reputation for conservatively assigning its EPA fuel economy numbers. Over more than 75 miles of driving that we'd describe as spirited—along rapid two-lane highways and expressways—we saw an indicated 37-mpg average.

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July 18, 2015
2015 Honda Fit 5-Door HB CVT EX

Eligant solution

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I had a problem with the radio and it has to be replaced. Other than that my wife and I really like the Fit. I have gotten 46 mpg on long trips and even 47 mpg once. Around town I get 35-39 mpg. We are very... + More »
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June 2, 2015
2015 Honda Fit 5-Door HB CVT EX

Great car!

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This car is all good. Love all the new features, handles great, and the gas mileage is fantastic. The space in the interior is incredible. The Fit has so many new features it seems to do everything but cook... + More »
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May 17, 2015
2015 Honda Fit 5-Door HB CVT LX

Great All Gas Car! No Expensive Batteries to Replace!

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I've only had the Fit a few weeks. MPG on one hwy trip was 46 mpg's. Love the IMPG gauge. Helps to keep my right foot easy on the pedal. I was impressed the first time I closed the driver side door in the... + More »
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May 12, 2015
For 2015 Honda Fit

Great car, like the higher seats, easy in and out.

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i am an older lady who has a hard time getting in and out of cars. When looking for a car the seat height and fuel efficiency We're important. We found that the Fit was the only one that had higher seats, fuel... + More »
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April 30, 2015
For 2015 Honda Fit

Love this car.

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I looked at a lot of small-ish cars, both two-door and four-door, before deciding on the Fit. What sold me was the huge cargo space with the back seats able to lie completely flat, and the great visibility... + More »
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April 28, 2015
2015 Honda Fit 5-Door HB CVT EX-L w/Navi

Pleasing to the eye inside & out, the Honda Fit has sophisticated features & handling & excels in every role, making it a real joy to drive & to own

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The Honda Fit has always been and continues to be the most versatile, good looking, nimble, useful, well-built & frugal performer of any vehicle I've ever owned. There are other cars that claim to be... + More »
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Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 9
Features 9
Fuel Economy 8
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