Highlight: The higher end trims are equipped with Honda’s signature LaneWatch lane changing system.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $21,745 (base model $16,470)
Seating Capacity: 4
Standard Safety Features: air bags; ABS; vehicle stability control; a traction control system; and a tire pressure monitoring system
Standard Equipment: 15-inch tires; a 6-speed manual transmission; air condition; cruise control; power windows; power door locks; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a 5-inch infortainment screen; and cloth seats
Upgraded Features on EX-L: 16-inch wheels; a 180 watt, 6-speaker system with HD and satellite radio; a 7-inch infotainment screen; Pandora compatibility; Honda LaneWatch departure system; a leather wrapped steering wheels and knobs; a rearview camera; pushbutton keyless starter system; an eco-assist fuel saving system switch; fog lights; leather trimmed seats; front heated seats; a power sunroof; center console with an armrest and storage department
LX, EX and EXL
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 160-watt, 4-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 mile warranty
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 mile warranty
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder/130-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage: 32-city/38-hwy
Suspension: MacPherson Strut (front); Torsion-Beam (rear)
What’s New: The third-generation was restyled for the 2015 model year.
Pros: The well-equipped Honda Fit is available in a variety of trims. While the Fit is classified as subcompact, the four door hatchback is quite roomy. In fact, it is spacious enough to carry around adults in the rear, with legroom to spare.
The Fit is available with either a manual or an automatic transmission.
Our well-equipped EX-L model with the navigation system was outfitted with Honda’s signature LaneWatch system that alerts the driver of objects to the right of it through the use of the rearview camera screen when the right turn signal is activated. This is a segment exclusive feature; In fact, we prefer this safety feature over the electronic blindspot system, which isn’t available on the Fit. Ironically, the Acura brand, owned by Honda, does not offer this technology in their vehicles.
Another segment exclusives in this versatile hatchback was the front passenger seat, which folds flat, allowing more cargo carrying possibilities, if required. Yes, Honda’s engineers really took every possible measure to make the fuel-efficient Fit a standout in the segment.
Honda improved the horsepower for the third-generation Fit. Although it’s not the most powerful engine in the segment, it’s more than adequate.
Cons: Though Ford learned a major lesson after forcing buyers to be totally reliant on a touch screen audio system with no knobs and buttons a few years ago, Honda has now chosen to go that route as well. We hope Honda ultimately decides to add knobs again to the audio system so that buyers aren’t totally reliant on the complicated touch screen.
We found the front center armrest to be virtually useless because of its design and its inability to serve its intended purpose and like with some of its competitors, Honda should consider adding a four door model to the mix.
The Honda Fit entry level model has a starting base price slightly higher than the competition but true Honda buyers won’t bat an eye over it.
Verdict: Just like what Honda buyers have come to expect from the brand, the Fit doesn’t disappoint, offering a well-built vehicle. This spacious subcompact is easy to navigate America’s crowed cities. And even with the Fit being classified as a subcompact, as is not always the case with some small vehicles, we found the vehicle to be both safe and suitable to drive on Georgia’s dangerous highways. The Fit gives buyers have a variety of available trim levels and they can opt for a power sunroof or leather-trimmed seats all at a price tag that lands below a comparably equipped Chevy Sonic and Ford Fiesta.
Competition: Chevy Sonic; Hyundai Accent; Mazda2; Ford Fiesta; Mitsubishi Mirage; Nissan Versa; and Toyota Yaris
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. Tune in on Saturday July 25 to his month-end automotive show, Auto Trends with JeffCars.com at 7:30 am EST on Atlanta’s 91.9-FM, www.wclk.com. For more details, visit http://www.JeffCars.com.