Updated Fit genuinely fun to drive

by Willy Williamson . Jan 26 2018
Willy Williamson / Winnipeg Free PressThere’s more to the Honda Fit than meets the eye — it’s a comfortable, safe and relatively peppy compact car.

Willy Williamson / Winnipeg Free Press

There’s more to the Honda Fit than meets the eye — it’s a comfortable, safe and relatively peppy compact car.

Typically I post a photo of the vehicle I’m testing on my personal Facebook account. It’s a good way to gauge its overall popularity and also allows past and present owners of the same vehicle to weigh in with their experiences. The comments usually balance out and valid points are raised, both good and bad.

However, if that tester is a small car, such as this week’s 2018 Honda Fit, all bets of civility are off.

It would appear my friends, in addition to being ‘hilarious’, aren’t particularly fond of small cars.

For the most part their comments on the Honda Fit focused on their amazement I actually fit in the Honda Fit. There were several other creative attempts at humour, including this comedy classic: “what are you going to wear on your other foot?”

It really should come as no surprise my friends are so critical of small cars. Like me, most of them are 50 or older, live outside city limits and drive a pickup truck. Not the demographic Honda likely has in mind for the Fit.

My eyes, however, gazed a little deeper — and the Honda Fit is indeed an eye-opener.

2018 sees the third-generation Fit’s first update since the launch of the 2015 model back in 2014. The refresh includes thoughtful comfort, technology and safety advancements, as well as a slight facelift of the front grille and headlights. The newly designed rear bumper and LED brake lights are also a nice touch. What Honda has done here is taken a good car and made it great.

The Honda Fit comes in five trim levels: DX, LX, Sport, EX and EX-L.

The familiar 1.5-litre DOHC four-cylinder engine powers all Fits. A standard six-speed manual or optional CVT automatic is available on all but EX-L trim, which only offers an automatic. With the manual transmission, the engine delivers 130 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. The power falls slightly to 128 hp and 113 lb-ft with the CVT.

A mash of the accelerator on our CVT equipped LX model and it reached highway speeds and beyond with minimal effort and surprisingly little noise.

While it certainly isn’t a sports car, the little Fit is indeed sporty — and fun to drive. It is also quite frugal. My week behind the wheel of the Fit averaged 6.9L/100 kilometres in combined city and highway driving.

The interior fit and finish is excellent — the heated front seats were firm and comfortable. The driving position is also spot on —and thanks to all that glass, visibility is terrific. The upgraded infotainment interface now supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration.

Honda added new safety technology, including adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning. Noise insulation was also improved and the Fit’s suspension and steering were beefed up. All of these improvements really went a long way to improve ride dynamics and comfort.

On the surface there may not appear to be much to get excited about with a Honda Fit, but dig a little deeper and what you’ll find is a comfortable, safe and relatively peppy compact car with a great stereo that offers good fuel economy and is genuinely fun to drive.

All the things a compact car should be.

Pricing on the 2018 Honda Fit ranges from about $16,900 for a DX model to nearly $26,000 for a fully loaded EX-L model.

willy@freepress.mb.ca

HondaNew safety technology added to the 2018 Fit includes lane departure warning.

Honda

New safety technology added to the 2018 Fit includes lane departure warning.