Honda Finds the Right Fit
Honda’s 2018 sub-compact Fit (LX model shown) is now in its third generation with one of the most commodious passenger seating in the segment.
THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Commodious interior, frugal at the pump and solid Honda built quality.
- What’s Worst: Doesn’t like being pushed around by side winds.
- What’s Interesting: The Magic Seat that can be used four ways to create everything from room for a mountain bike or surfboard to a lounge chair.
Honda likes to call the 2018 Fit a subcompact hatchback “without compromises”.
And Fit is an apt name, not just because of the commodious interior, but also for the many ways it can be used.
How they do this is with Honda’s Magic Seat, which is like a Swiss Army knife in the way it can be configured.
First, Honda located the gas tank under the front seats, opening the room between the rear wheels.
Second, the rear Magic Seat itself has four “modes” starting with the Utility Mode, where the seat is folded flat creating 1,492 litres of cargo volume and a cargo floor length of 1.7 m, big enough to swallow a mountain bike.
In Long Mode, the driver can fold down the right side of the rear seat and fold back the front passenger seat to create a tunnel more than two metres long that can take a surfboard.
In Tall Mode, the seat cushion can be folded backwards and up, creating 1,200 mm top to bottom.
Refresh Mode is when the driver takes off the front head restraint of either front seat and folds either seat flat to create a very nice lounge chair for reading, snoozing or just relaxing with legs extended.
All versions of the 2018 Fit are produced with a 1.5-litre direct injection twincam four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the DX, LX and Sport models with a CVT available on the latter two. The CVT is standard on the top trim EX and EX-L Navi.
Fuel consumption is rated at 8.1/6.6/7.4L/100 km city/highway/combined for the manual and 7.0/5.9/6.5 with the CVT.
Note the CVT outshines the manual at the pump and the CVT also boasts an “Econ” button that you feel when it is engaged.
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Rolling on the highway in normal mode, the revs drop dramatically and it feels like you popped a drag chute the way it slows for more economical travel.
Tested here is the LX CVT, which brings with it the Honda Sensing suite of safety features that includes Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Collision Mitigation Brake Braking System (CMBS) incorporating Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) and Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW).
Besides the multi-use interior, new for 2018 is a larger, seven-inch touchscreen for the infotainment that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on all but the DX model.
One of the little things I like is the cupholder set up high on the left side of the instrument panel that is great because you don’t have to look down to find your coffee.
Now in its third generation, the Fit started life as the Honda Jazz and is now produced around the world in 10 plants and eight countries.
For 2018 it retains a MacPherson strut suspension system and the front and a twist beam at the rear. Unchanged are disc brakes up front and drums at the back.
With the CVT, especially in Econ, it can be sluggish off the line, but perks up nicely after the first few metres or so.
Power with the manual transmission is 130 hp and 114 lb/ft of torque that falls slightly to 128 hp and 113 lb/ft with the CVT because it takes a few horses to run, but the increase in mileage is more than worth it.
The LX rides on smallish 15-inch steel wheels with plastic covers and is rather tall for a sub-compact hatch and thus is susceptible to strong side winds.
The best part, besides the stowage, is how nimble it is, especially in its turning circle of 5.3 meters, which is pretty good for a front-driver.
Thanks to the high roofline, the windows are also big, which makes for great outward visibility.
The Fit is nevertheless just over four meters long, thus pushing the boundary between what is a compact and what is a sub-compact car.
Thanks to the wedge styling, you don’t sense that length, but the resulting passenger volume of 2,710 litres is huge for a car in this class and you notice it immediately, especially if you are seated in the back.
For this year a fifth trim level called the Sport has been added, because Honda has set pricing to be attractive to the widest range of not just Gen-Y, but Boomers too.
If you fancy a sub-compact hatchback with the room of a compact, why not book a test drive and see if it’s the right Fit for you?
2018 Honda Fit LX CVT
BODY STYLE: Sub-compact five-door hatchback.
DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, front-wheel drive, six-speed manual or CVT transmission
ENGINE: 1.5-litre direct injection, 16-valve DOHC four-cylinder (manual, 130 hp, 114 lb/ft; CVT, 128 hp, 113 lb/ft)
FUEL ECONOMY: (Regular) CVT, 7.0/5.9/6.5L/100 km city/highway/combined; manual, 8.1/6.6/7.4L/100 km
CARGO CAPACITY: Behind back seat, 470 litres; total, 1,492 litres
TOW RATING: Not recommended
WEB SITE: Honda.ca