The 2012 Honda Fit Sport: King of the hatchback hill (pictures)
I was amazed by how well the fantastic Honda Fit has aged! Unfortunately, the same can't be said for its navigation system.
Fits like a glove
With the Honda Civic and its class continuing to grow with each generation, the B-segment Honda Fit is, in many ways, the true spiritual successor of the great Civic hatchbacks that elevated the brand in the '90s.
Our Blue Raspberry Metallic Honda Fit Sport with Navigation is as loaded as the Fit gets at an MSRP of $20,480. At this level, there are no more options to add aside from dealer add-ons like floor mats and cargo trays.
The Fit is powered by a minuscule 1.5-liter engine that outputs 117 horsepower and 106 pound-feet of torque -- no direct injection, no forced induction. The engine is mostly unremarkable, but really comes alive near its 6,800rpm redline.
The Fit Sport is available with either a five-speed manual gearbox or this five-speed automatic transmission. That's one cog below the current standard of six forward speeds, but the Honda gearbox features a Sport program that is surprisingly responsive and a manual shift mode with paddle shifters that is actually useful for enthusiastic driving.
Fuel economy is estimated by the EPA at 27 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined. I was unable to keep my foot off of the accelerator, so our tester averaged about 26 mpg for the week. The greenest of Fit drivers should take a look at the fully electric 2013 Honda Fit EV.
The Honda Fit isn't available with a rear camera of any sort, but it doesn't really need one. Front and rear visibility from the driver's seat are great thanks to generously sized windows and short overhangs.
The Fit's interior is plain and inexpensive-looking. However, while it screams "economy car," it doesn't feel cheap. The large frontal glass area affords very good visibility, while letting lots of light into the cabin for a less cramped feeling.
One thing that Honda gets right with the Fit is the placement of the controls. From the steering wheel buttons to the climate controls to the audio controls, everything that the driver needs is within a few inches of the steering wheel and high up on the dashboard.
Instrumentation is simple, but attractive. The three-gauge setup features a central speedometer flanked by a small tachometer and fuel gauge. A simple, monochromatic LCD trip computer sits at the center of it all.
Honda's Satellite-Linked Navigation System adds $2,630 to the Fit Sport's bottom line. I'm not totally convinced that this is money well spent. This system uses one of the oldest interfaces in the business; there's no traffic data; you don't get spoken street names; and the graphics are pixelated and hard to read.
The destination input menu is easy enough to understand, but locks the driver out of most search methods when the vehicle is in motion. Needless to say, there are no connected or Web-based search options here.
Honda has done a good job with the Fit's voice command system, giving the driver control over the phone system, the navigation system, and a selection of audio control options. There's even an extensive onscreen Help menu to get you started.
The Fit hides its USB pigtail connection in the far corner of the upper glove compartment -- possibly the least accessible spot in or on the dashboard from the driver's seat. Any further away and it'd be outside of the car!
Because its tech options are so dated and oddly packaged, I'd recommend that prospective Fit owners seriously consider skipping the expensive navigation option. From there, it's up to you whether you'll just enjoy the Fit's low-tech appeal or DIY your own tech with an aftermarket receiver.