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Honda Fit’s no exception to entry level compromise

While the “Fit” offers Honda quality at a reasonable price, the base model is the brand's entry level mini. Today we discover why this car may or may not be the Honda for you.

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Walking around the 2014 Honda Fit Sport, one notes a hint of possibility as to the street-ability and perceived sportiness of the little box that is the 5 door Fit. But that's the"top of the mark" for the Fit and you can expect to pay $19,000+ for one equipped with navigation.

While Honda has gone to great lengths to disguise the fact that this is the smallest vehicle available in its North American lineup, parking the car next to a Civic or Accord puts the car’s size into perspective.

The overall dimensions of the car is very small. And for some reason for 2015, the Fit is 1.5 inches shorter. Recently compared to the Chevrolet Aveo, Fiat 500 and Toyota Versa-Note by several consumer reports, the Fit scored high 8.9 out of 10 in over-all attributes while rating a bit lower in performance and standard features than a comparably priced Ford Fiesta.

A bit noisy in the cabin, with a rough hands-on feel for the road common to light vehicles, you won’t find the sound isolating features of a 2014 Accord Tour in the Fit.

In the automotive industry you get what you pay for. The Fit is not the exception. However, the 2015 model due to hit the market mid-year 2014 shows some promise.

An uptick in body styling, lower ground effects and an available 16” alloy rim will add to the illusion of a larger, car while an added 17 hp and 9 ft-lb of torque coupled to a CVT will bump up performance a bit. As demonstrated by Honda, as introduced at the 2014 North American International Auto Show, the interior will be improved by a shift in rear seat ergonomics, “soft touch” premium materials an updated dash monitor and personal communication connectivity.

As we watched the unveiling of the 2015 Fit, Honda made no attempt to disguise the fact that the new Fit was intended for a young, progressive demographic. While the car’s many positive attributes may be found to be more than adequate for mature drivers wishing to step-down into an affordable flex-space commutator, those doing so from a large or midsize domestic or import sedan may find the transition to be less than comfortable. In this case “less is not always more.”

looking at today’s Fit, we find a car that offers less than “best in class” mileage, and is rated # 3 for price in the small car category with the Mazda 3 and Ford Fiesta priced lower, while offering a greater number of standard features. However, it is a Honda and comes standard with superior fit and finish and the promise of higher residual value at time of trade-in or resale.

Due to manufacturing standards and market restraints, Honda as with all manufactures has cut more than few corners in the manufacturing of the Fit. If you are willing to live with a little less cushion and fluff while enjoying the parking and commuting attributes of a micro car, the Fit may be the Honda for you.

As to safety and crash test results, we know what happened earlier this week as all cars tested in the micro or mini car sector failed to receive a “good“rating in the “slight” overlap front end collision test. Honda claims that the fully redesigned 2015 Fit will “ ace” the test in 2015.

Looking to the 3rd generation Fit we find a redesigned uni body-like structure with integrated safety cage. Interestingly enough, Honda is positioning the Fit to be the companies new Civic, as Civic reaches Accord dimensions and price-points. Introduced to Japan in 2001, Fit production will pass the 5 million unit mark as North America adjusts to what Honda perceives as the “norm” in near future personal transportation.

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Parks McCants    January 25, 2014 - 7:28PM

My mother as well as several close friends own a Honda Fit. They love the car for daily commuting, shopping etc.High performance beyond fuel economy and consistent reliability was not a factor for these gals when considering the Fit. How do you feel about your's? Does it have enough power? Is the interior noise level reasonable? Do you like the ride and handling of the car? And.... Would you buy a new Fit?

Parks McCants    January 28, 2014 - 10:55PM

In reply to by Parks McCants

I'd like to share a Reader's comment submitted through NBC's Newsvine: I believe it to be an honest consumer's evaluation of the car...

I own a Fit. I would recommend the car for purchase. I would caution that it is a basic vehicle, if one is looking for plush or sophisticated they should look elsewhere and will pay more.
I use mine for work, it's a 2007 purchased new for $17570 and now has 173 K miles on it. Still running strong and used daily. It is a manual transmission sport model. I have never had a mechanical issue with the car. Other than tires, brakes, a battery, routine maintenance and regular oil changes I have spent very little money on it in the last 7 years. The gas mileage is adequate but not as good as it could be, averaging around 32 mpg.
The car handles as described in the article, the seats and ride are firm, the cabin is noisy, but roomier and more comfortable than one would think by looking at the small outside. A lot of passengers are surprised by the room when they sit inside. The cargo area is especially large with the fold down rear seats which made hauling all the kids stuff off to college a breeze accomplished in one trip with room to spare. It will seat 5 and all the gear for a weeks vacation at the beach if packed with care.
It is great for running around town in traffic and parking in tight spots. The car performs well on the highway, but I do notice that it struggles to get up to speed if slowed down to merge and then given the gas in a short merge situation, even with a downshift option available. I never feel unsafe driving it even though it is quite small compared to an 18 wheeler, it makes up for that by being quick, nimble, and maneuverable. It performs well in the snow and this is one of the benefits I enjoy most about this little gem. There are many trips where it was little bitty me in my Honda Fit and nothing else but the big 4 wheeler tough trucks and rigs on the snow covered highways and back-roads.
The newer versions have added some upgrades to creature comforts and performance. I would buy another one if and when this one wears out and if I still have the need for an economical no frills work and commuter type vehicle.