Fits like a glove

Second generation

Fully loaded

1.5-liter aluminum engine

5AT with paddle shifters

Sport upgrades

Fuel economy

Visibility

Interior

Ergonomics

Electronic power steering

Cruise control

Audio and voice controls

Instrument cluster

Satellite-Linked Navigation

Destination input

Voice command

MP3 playback

The long reach

Audio quality

Terrestrial radio

Bluetooth hands-free calling

Audio streaming

Check out the full review

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.
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The second-generation Honda Fit launched back in 2008 with a more angular aesthetic and more interior space than the preceding model. The hatchback hasn't changed much at all since then.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The Fit Sport is upgraded from the standard Fit with 16-inch alloy wheels shod in wider tires for increased grip and a 17-millimeter rear stabilizer bar for more responsive handling.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The Honda Fit uses one of the better electronic power steering (EPS) systems in the business -- which is odd for an econobox -- providing good responsiveness and feedback.
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Cruise control is standard on the Honda Fit. I like that the steering-wheel-mounted controls are illuminated and integrated into the design of the spoke.
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The Fit Sport trim level adds steering-wheel controls for the audio system and voice command buttons for the navigation and phone systems, if the car is so equipped.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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At the Sport trim level, the Fit features standard USB/iPod connectivity. Artist, song, and album data are displayed on the screen and you can browse and search reasonably quickly.
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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!
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Our Fit was equipped with the optional six-speaker audio system (up two tweeters from the standard four-speaker rig), but even with 160 watts of amplification, audio quality was merely passable.
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AM/FM radio are standard, but we were unable to find a satellite radio option in the Fit's list of available features.
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Bluetooth hands-free calling is built into the navigation system and can't be had as a separate option. The system features an automatic address book and call log syncing.
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The Bluetooth connection also adds A2DP audio streaming to the list of media sources. When reported by the connected device, the Honda audio system can display metadata of the currently playing track.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Antuan Goodwin/CNET
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