The Honda Fit was first introduced in 2006 as a sub-compact fuel-efficient vehicle; while it delivered on that goal it was very short on looks and features.
Through 2010-2013 the Fit’s popularity was increasing at such a rate that dealers found it hard to keep them on their lot and the car held a good value for resale. The Fit’s fuel economy and low maintenance cost and rising gas prices as well as Honda paying attention to design and features helped push the market.
Western manufacturers generally maintain a design or approach and only change it when they have something big to offer, whereas Japanese manufacturers believe in constant tweaks to improve their product lines; which is something that Honda did constantly with the Fit. Every year the vehicle’s design become sleeker looking with more features, while maintaining the same low cost maintenance and excellent fuel efficiency that made the car desirable in the first place. In the sub-compact market the top three vehicles were the Toyota Yaris, the Mini Cooper and the Honda Fit. All were more attractive, better made, more fuel efficient, bigger interiors and had a better resale rate than the failed promises delivered by the Toyota Prius and the Smart Car, (in fact Forbes Magazine even warned consumers about purchasing a Smart Car due to the rapid depreciation and poor quality of manufacture). Of the three top cars the Fit stood out above the rest by having a larger interior than the Toyota Yaris and a lower price tag then the Mini Cooper.
But the Fit had a few problems of it’s own. First, due to the roof design the interior was noisy. The high cabin and light weight of the vehicle made it feel as though it was being pushed when it encountered strong winds, and many consumers wanted a hybrid model or the vehicle to have the ‘Eco Boost’ that was available on other Honda models. Plus the vehicle was made in Japan so there was the added cost of shipping putting the Fit only a few thousand dollars in difference to a Honda Civic.
Now in 2015 Honda has shown that they have been listening to what their customers want. The new Fit is loaded with options, hybrid will be available, it has the ‘Eco-Boost’, the vehicle is slightly larger with a wider wheel base, the noise has been addressed in the design and the new model is stylish enough to go head to head with Ford’s redesign of the Focus hatchback. This car was redesigned to attract more than just sensible drivers, which previous models were seen as.
The Fit has always had a good pick-up off the line and very responsive to control, so much so that it would probably make for a good rally car. Thankfully Honda hasn’t lost any of this in their new design. The car is quick to take off, responds quickly and smoothly and with more power going up hills to matching speeds for entering the highway won’t work the engine as hard. One major charm of the Honda Fit has always been its interior design, with the entire back seat section collapsing
completely to allow for maximum cargo that took full advantage of the rear hatch, unlike the Hyundai Accent which angled quickly towards the top and seats that didn’t fully collapse. Honda improved on this feature by adding a bit more space to the interior and changing the seats slightly so they fold a little better. Another added feature to the new Fit is that the front seats now fully collapse, so if you want to park someplace and have a snooze, or collapse your passenger seat for transporting something (without a large amount of whatever you’re transporting hanging out the back hatch) you now can.
Other additions include indicator lights on the side mirrors, heated seats and a completely redesigned console which includes turning and rear view cameras, a parking grid on the screen, a rethink of the roof molding which reduces cabin noise and many styling options to tailor your vehicle to look closer to what you would like to see. The best part is that they have done all this without affecting price or gas performance.
Now this redesign hasn’t come without complaints. Some do not like the new look, others have complained about rear disc brakes not being a standard feature and others have questioned the cars quality now that Fit’s are being manufactured in North America in Mexico; personal opinion is that Honda has hit home a winner with the new 2015 Fit by offering a car that is stylish which addresses previous concerns without sacrificing anything that has made previous models a lot of fun to drive. You can decide for yourself by dropping by a Honda dealer to test drive one or go to the Honda website.