2018 Honda Fit review:Hero in a hatch shell

Starting at $16,190
  • Engine 4 Cylinder Engine
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • MPG 31 MPG
  • Passenger Capacity 5
  • Body Type Hatchbacks

Roadshow Editors' Rating

7.7 Overall
  • Performance 8
  • Features 8
  • Design 8
  • Media 6.5
May 2018

The Good It's capacious, fuel economy is outstanding and it's pretty fun to drive.

The Bad The engine could sound better, and the infotainment system could use an upgrade.

The Bottom Line If your new car needs to be cheap and effective, good luck topping the Fit.

The 2018 model year redesign of Honda's subcompact Fit hatchback doesn't mess with success. There's a nip here and a tuck there, and some more safety equipment to keep the family secure, but on the whole, the Fit remains as good as it's ever been.

It's hard to find fault with the Fit for what it is. It'll fit just about anything you can shove into the huge cargo hold. It's not going to turn your wallet upside down at the pump. It's even a delight to toss around corners. Not bad for a car that starts around $17,000, including destination.

Small outside, big inside

The Honda Fit is Doctor Who's Tardis, but slightly less boxy. It's small enough to get lost in a Target parking lot full of SUVs and crossovers, but once I slide inside, there's a surprising amount of room. Its upright stance means my 6-foot frame can sit upright without my hair scraping the roof.

Many subcompact cars have cramped backseats, but not the Fit. The doors are large enough for easy ingress and egress, and once I'm in, there's a surprising amount of legroom -- 39.3 inches, to be exact, which is the best in its segment by more than a full inch.

You might think that having ample space for humans would result in subpar accommodations for cargo, but you'd be wrong. The bottom cushion of Fit's rear "Magic Seat" can fold up for tall, wide items, or the seatbacks can fold flat for a more traditional load floor. At 53 cubic feet with the seats folded flat, it out-swallows the competition by 20 cubic feet. I can shove a new-in-box lawnmower, a trimmer and a wide variety of gardening tools and accessories back there with room to spare.

An unnamed PR professional from a different automaker once referred to the Fit as the "Sistine Chapel of packaging." That's how you know it's good.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Slow and steady wins the race

Every subcompact in the segment has the same sort of hurry-up-and-wait performance characteristics, and the Fit is no different. But my tester has three little letters of help: HFP.

The Fit can be optioned with a $2,700 Honda Factory Performance package that adds a number of aesthetic upgrades, some of which are already included on my tester's Sport trim. But it also includes a sport suspension upgrade that stiffens up the ride a smidge and brings the body 0.4 inch closer to the ground. It reduces but doesn't eliminate body roll, making the Fit more exciting to toss into corners than it would be otherwise. It definitely outhandles the other two subcompacts I've driven recently, the Hyundai Accent and the Kia Rio.

The Fit's engine is a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter I4 putting out 130 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque, paired with a six-speed manual transmission (if you opt for the continuously variable transmission, output numbers are reduced to 128 horsepower and 113 pound-feet). Given the industry's push to turbocharged engines, it's sort of refreshing to have a tiny, naturally aspirated powerplant that requires me to wring the living hell out of it. Combined with my tester's predictable clutch and tight-enough shifter, it has some of the characteristics of older Civic Si models, just... a lot slower.

In more pedestrian pursuits, the Fit is fine. It's an inexpensive subcompact, so there's a not insignificant amount of wind and tire noise at highway speeds. It traverses bumps well enough, but my tester's suspension transfers a bit more movement to the cabin than other trims might. On the fuel economy front, though, it's a champ -- the EPA rates it at 29 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, but I am seeing city mileage closer to 30 or 31 and stretches of 40-plus on the freeway. And that was without much focus on economical driving.

Just a bit of tech

The Honda Fit has a solid amount of tech for its price. No matter the trim, standard onboard technology includes a backup camera (now mandatory in the US), steering-wheel audio controls and Bluetooth. The standard 5.0-inch infotainment system lacks touch capability, but every trim above the base LX gets bumped up to a 7.0-inch touchscreen with a physical volume knob.

While the system deserves credit for packing both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it's still Honda's oldest system in use, and it feels the part thanks to slow menu loading times. An upgrade to the latest kit, seen on the Odyssey and Accord, would be welcome. One USB port is standard, but my tester has two, which is helpful.

Honda's leading the charge on the safety front. The Fit LX and Sport trims can be optioned with the $1,000 Honda Sensing package, which adds adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist; it's standard on EX and EX-L trims. The only bummer is that the CVT is mandatory for this package, and that transmission requires an $800 premium over the manual. Of course, many of its competitors lack these systems entirely, so it's a good thing to see nevertheless.

If you're looking for satellite radio, you have to opt for the EX trim or higher, which is a bummer.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

How I'd spec it

My tester is exactly the spec I would choose. A Fit Sport starts at $17,500, and since there are no major options packages for Honda's trims, destination brings the price to a still-affordable $18,390.

The real question is whether or not it's worth springing for the $2,700 HFP upgrade. If you value looking and feeling a bit sportier than average, I'd say it's worth the price, but it does send the price tag to about $21,000. If your needs lean more toward the family-friendly side, it's worth skipping over, but you may want to consider paying the $800 for the CVT and the $1,000 for Honda Sensing if you're going to be hauling precious human cargo around.

Down to brass tacks

The Honda Fit isn't cheap in its segment, with its $16,190 pre-destination price tag coming in higher than a number of competitors, including the Hyundai Accent, Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio and Nissan Versa Note. The only model that's more expensive is the five-door Toyota Yaris. The Fit is near the top of the group in fuel economy, but it beats the living hell out of everyone's cargo capacity, thanks in part to that cavernous interior.

While it's more expensive, the Fit is worth it. Its interior is better sorted and way more capacious. Its complement of standard equipment across trim levels is competitive, even if the infotainment isn't the newest thing on the block. It drives nicer than any of its competitors, and its real-world fuel economy more or less seals the deal.

It's good to be the king. 

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