Why are you reading about an economy car on VVUZZ? Because this one is actually fun.
Despite the governments’ collective mandate to make our lives as miserable as possible through mind-numbing, weight-gaining legislation (pedestrian safety, zillions of airbags, backup cameras, electronics, et al), somehow Honda squeezed out an inexpensive, mass-market car under 2600lbs that actually delights.
The 2018 Fit may be classed smaller than a VW Golf, but it certainly doesn’t feel so when stuffing things into it. Where it feels smaller, is in the driver’s seat.
I’m going to assume that you know about this vehicle’s ability to Tetris things in and out of the cabin – the fold-down front passenger seat, the incredible utility. Cue my favourite version of Kalinka (Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Nikolai Korniev & St. Petersburg Kammerchor) (you can find it here).
..but those details are tedious, so I’ll leave them to the end.
Firstly, it’s not powerful. Secondly, that’s actually a good thing.
The 1.5L, 16V power plant feels a decent match for the chassis. Firstly, it’s not powerful. Secondly, that’s actually a good thing. Yes, we always want more power, but when the output of an engine is limited, it forces the driver to get the most out of what’s available. This is something you generally can’t do on the streets of Toronto with, say, a Mustang GT. At least, not without attracting the wrong kind of attention.
With engine output measured at 130hp, with a peak twist of 114lb-ft, it’s the absolute opposite of a torque-monster v8 or small-displacement turbo engine. You have to rev hard for acceleration, and due to that, what momentum is gained – you’ll be reluctant to let go.
This behaviour can carry through the turns, too. I experienced very little body roll and no complaints from the tires at some significant cornering speed while merging on to the highway. Being under 2600lbs, the deficit of torque isn’t nearly as detrimental as it looks on paper.
The six-speed manual is tidy to shift, but it lacks the rifle-bolt action of some other Honda products. Clutch action is extremely light, however by the end of the week I was completely at home. Hill-start assist was a great peace-of-mind feature on the first day.
Ride quality is astonishingly good. In fact, I’d say it’s the highlight of this short-wheelbase econo-hatch. In a world where clown-shoe wheels seem to be the norm, a 65-aspect tire soaks up bumps with the grace of a cat jumping to and fro. It is also surprisingly quiet on the highway. That it rides and handles this well – and with a trailing-arm rear suspension – is near magic.
So, what’s wrong with it? I found my head bobbing left and right to make sure nothing was hiding in my A-pillar blind spot – a common problem with newer cars. Rearward visibility is superb. The driver seat is six-way adjustable, however, with my freaky-long legs I was pining for an adjustment to the seat-base angle. On the highway, the tall profile is apt to catch crosswinds, but it’s not so bad that it’s a deal killer.
The Fit’s party trick? Space utilization. With the rear seats down, the cavity looked as large and usable as a VW Golf’s. With the passenger seat down, the car swallows long objects with ease – just be sure to use a moving blanket so the seat fabric or the dashboard isn’t marred during a brake/turn maneuver.
If I was in the market for a second car that had to be useful, this would be it. Thinking out loud – if Honda threw another 50hp into it, I think it would be too good – and could potentially cannibalize Civic Si sales.
2018 Honda Fit Sport 6MT
Base Price: $19,590
As Tested: $24,422.12 (includes $1,722.50 freight and PDI, + taxes, et al).
Notable Options: Not on this tester, but the active safety (Honda Sensing) should be something buyers opt for
Drivetrain: 1.5 Litre, 130 horsepower, 114 pounds of torque, 6-speed manual transmission, front wheel drive
Performance: 8.3 litres per 100 km in city driving (This car can do much better, but I was rather enjoying myself)
VVUZZ Recommended: A versatile, fun hatch in the spirit of the 80’s – power you have to work for, a communicative chassis, just light enough to be fun.
Images courtesy of the author and Honda.