Review: 2014 Honda Fit Sport AT Long in the tooth, high on utility
Outgoing tiny hatchback holds up surprisingly well against newer competitors
Honda’s next-generation Fit arrives soon, but the second-gen still trumps all competitors when it comes to utility, thanks to its marvelously capacious hatch and clever rear Magic Seat.
The 60/40 split seat flips forward in an easy fluid motion, creating a 1,622-litre, flat load space, enabled by the centrally mounted fuel tank and specially shaped torsion beam rear suspension. You could fit a washing machine in there.
The other trick is the ability to flip up the rear seat cushion, providing space behind the front seats for tall objects, such as plants or bikes.
For a car that was first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, the Fit still looks surprisingly fresh and modern, with its big headlights and radically raked hood and windscreen.
The 2014 Fit starts at $14,635 for the DX model (add $1,410 for a/c), followed by the LX ($17,155) and the Sport ($19,055). My Sport tester with optional 5-speed automatic transmission checked in at $20,255.
The interior is holding up well, too. Granted, the plactics are a bit plasticky when compared to newer offerings, but I like the trio of large central gauges with their cool illuminated blue markers and the funky centre stack featuring an asymmetrical array of large and functional controls. Outward visibility is excellent.
The steering wheel tilts and telescopes, and is leather-wrapped in the Sport model. There are two glove boxes (the upper has an iPod/USB port in the Sport), lots of cubbies and a hidden storage compartment in the bottom of the left rear seat cushion.
However, the dreaded touchscreen interface is not to be found in this older Honda, nor could I find heated seats on the menu.
Another aspect reminiscent of Hondas gone by is the way it drives.
With only 117 hp and 106 lb.-ft. of torque on tap, the little 1.5-L i-VTEC four is no powerhouse, but it?s a willing spinner. Good thing, too, because any kind of meaningful acceleration requires plenty of revs.
Factor in quick steering, perky handling, choppy ride and a decided lack of sound insulation and this Fit delivers the kind of scrappy performance that harks back to the days when kids bought Civics because they were a hoot to drive.
That?s not to say the Fit is uncivilized. It?s just not overly sanitized.
The choice of transmission factors large here. Go for the five-speed manual and the Fit really begs to be thrashed. However, it has the engine spinning at a busy 3,000 r.p.m. at only 100 km/h.
The five-speed auto may not be as engaging but it delivers better fuel economy and makes for a much more relaxed highway experience. The tachometer shows 2,800 r.p.m. at 120 km/h.
City/highway fuel consumption ratings for the 2014 Fit with 5-speed auto are 7.1 and 5.4 L/100 km. I averaged 6.8 on my watch.
The Sport rides on 16-inch alloys (up from 15-inch steelies with hub caps), gets a rear stabilizer bar, fog lights and an upgraded six-speaker audio system that sounds pretty good.
Now that most small cars are trying to act like big cars, the 2014 Fit is a charming little throwback. There is a fairly long list of competitors that are smoother operators.
The all-new 2015 Fit arrives in showrooms this summer. It offers more power, better fuel economy, more interior space, ramped-up refinement and is safer.
The Magic Seat remains, a CVT replaces the five-speed auto, the manual transmission get six gears, and horsepower jumps to 130.
All of which suggests there could be some heavy discounts on the still-desirable 2014 model.
The vehicle tested by freelance writer Peter Bleakney was provided by the manufacturer. Email: email@example.com.
2014 Honda Fit Sport
Price: $19,055 base, $20,255 as tested
Engine: 1.5-L i-VTEC four
Power/torque: 117 hp/106 lb.-ft.
Fuel consumption L/100 km: 7.1 city, 5.4 hwy.
Competition: Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa Note, Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic, Mazda2, Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent.
What?s best: frisky, frugal and functional.
What?s worst: refinement trails the competition.
What?s interesting: a centrally mounted fuel tank and specially shaped torsion beam rear suspension allow for deep load space.