By on December 1, 2014

2015 Honda Fit EXPerhaps as a result of having twice left our spacious two-bedroom apartments for smaller dwellings with less than 500 square feet of living space, my little family has come to love storage. Though we now have a basement and a shed in which to toss assorted detritus, we still look back fondly on the days when our only available storage space was located in the apartment building across the street or in the multiple small closets of the “bachelor pad” that we pressed into more-than-bachelor duty. But not too fondly, mind you. Space for people and stuff is a good thing.

The 2015 Honda Fit is only 160 inches long, 19.4 inches shorter bumper-to-bumper than Honda’s own Civic sedan; shorter than hatchback rivals like the Hyundai Accent and Nissan Versa Note. Yet Honda says the Fit offers more rear legroom than any of those cars. With the rear seats folded, the Fit has 38% more cargo capacity than the Versa Note and 11% more than the Civic. In other words, more of a good thing.

Though the Fit officially lags behind the similarly box-shaped Note and Accent in terms of seats-up cargo space, it’s ahead of the Civic. The Fit’s squared-off shape also makes it easy to fit (get it?) large or unwieldy items past the hatch opening. Pound for pound, or rather inch for inch, the 2015 Fit is among the most flexible new vehicles available today, rivaling minivans for space efficiency.

2015 Honda Fit EX

As a young married couple, Mrs. Cain and I were anxious not to pay for any more space than we needed. In the quest to save money, or to spend money elsewhere, we chose less spacious residences. When possible, we also chose apartments where heat, hot water, lights, and internet were provided free of charge. Although this EX-trim Fit, a CAD $22,090 car Honda Canada provided for a week, may not be the best example of a poverty-spec subcompact – sunroof, Honda LaneWatch, 16-inch alloys, leather-wrapped wheel, 6-speaker audio – it sipped fuel like a conscience-stricken teetotaler at a vintner’s after-hours tasting. 39 miles per gallon in a mix of mostly city and some highway driving is ridiculously good and remarkably close to the EPA ratings. Base LX Fits with the continuously variable transmission are supposed to return 33 mpg city and 41 highway; EX and EX-L Fits with the CVT (and paddle shifters, hot diggity) take a minor hit at a rated 33 city, 38 highway, presumably due to differing tire choices.

So the newest Fit is efficient, both space-wise and with fuel. Though the Fit, which is now assembled in Mexico, has been subject to a raft of recalls in its initial months on the market, it feels very well-built inside. There’s no pretense – this is not a luxury car. But the interior neither looks nor feels like the penalty box economy cars of yore.

2015 Honda Fit EX interior

As a consumer product, it seems like a solid bet, but is it desirable? That’s not as clear. For instance, the Fit isn’t the enthusiast’s choice in the subcompact category, certainly not with this bothersome CVT. Toss the Ford Fiesta or Chevrolet Sonic down a twisty rural road (yes, the two Detroit subcompacts) and you’ll then find the Fit’s steering to be slower and lifeless by comparison. Its buzzy engine lacks a typical Honda’s rev-happy nature. Ride quality, acceptable in most circumstances, comes up short when sharp impacts produce an inordinate amount of noise, causing the structure to shudder. There’s no expectation for special on-road dynamics in a car of this type, but Fits have been fun in the past, and much of that joy has been lost. Moreover, if a keen driver wants to enjoy a car of this type, there are now more, and more compelling, options than was the case when the original Fit arrived in North America.

Honda LaneWatch camera

Good news: a Fit with a manual shifter will likely return a measure of contentment to the 130-horsepower 1.5L four-cylinder. This is not a pairing in which a CVT can be considered a success, at least if we rule out fuel economy as a criterion. 6-speed manual base Fits have a combined rating of 32 mpg, well below a Fit LX CVT’s 36 mpg. But if you’re stuck with the self-shifter, it’s possible to close some of the pleasure gap. Deactivate the green-leaf Econ mode, push the shifter into S, and the Fit becomes far more responsive. Unfortunately, the resultant drone of the engine cruising along smack dab in the middle of its power band isn’t something you’ll want to endure in routine driving.

The interior is a marvel of expansive human space, yet rear seat passengers might be the first-class citizens in the Fit. Front-seaters above five-foot-eleven likely won’t be able to get the seats to slide far enough back for ankle comfort. Not to worry, though; the infotainment screen is annoying enough to distract you a little from any fit (get it?) issues.

Tasked with operating a convoluted and unresponsive touchscreen with embedded volume controls, I was frustrated for the duration of the Fit’s visit. Sleek minimalism is wonderful, but does it fix anything? Were car buyers complaining about simple volume and tuner knobs? Honda clearly thinks that big operate-them-with-gloves-on knobs are great for climate functions. Why not for radio?

Yet for hardcore Fit loyalists, I’m not certain it would matter if the touchscreen was operable only by the sixth finger of your third hand. Who cares? You can fold the front passenger seat flat to create a lounge for the right-rear passenger. The rear seats can be folded down. Or up. They can do so independently, 60/40. One up, one down? No problem. The Fit is also more of an individual’s choice, unlike the Civic, for instance, which is (honestly) parked in one-third of the driveways on our cul-de-sac. Therefore, this may be the subcompact capable of keeping a young family out of a small crossover or large sedan. Yeah, as if young families are buying big cars. Funny joke.

When you send a big box down the road and cut some costs on the insulation, you do have some problems as a result. Front seat occupants might not be able to hear rear seat occupants. Wind noise isn’t outrageous, but while road noise has been lessened compared with older Fits, the improvement isn’t sufficient.

2015 Honda Fit EXRegardless of how you or I quantify the pros and cons of the 2015 Fit, how we mete out blame and credit for its idiosyncrasies and benefits, the little Honda box is a success. In fact, more Americans registered new Fits in October of this year than at any time in the car’s history. With improved North American supply, the Fit won’t be quite as rare on dealer lots, thus not as rare in shopping mall parking lots, either. Only 11% of the subcompact cars sold in America in 2013 were Fits, when the Honda ranked fifth in its segment. The Fit was America’s second-best-selling subcompact in October 2014 with 18% market share.

The Honda Fit driving experience is not what it was, but it’s probably still what its buyers expect. Living inside a Fit, with more room for passengers and slightly less room for stuff than in the second-gen car, is a profitable exercise in downsizing. Yes, downsizing is something you should try at least twice in your life.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. If you wish to read a better Fit review, check out The Grandma Edition.

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56 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 Honda Fit EX...”


  • avatar
    Occam

    Great write-up. I have a few questions for you:

    1. How is the seat? The last Fits used padding that was too light and thin over the steel frame, and it caused some uncomfortable pressure points. I too have minimal padding over my frame, and driving a Fit for more than about an hour gives me sciatic pain (something that I’m far to young and fit to have!)

    2. Following up on the first, how is front seat legroom? The last Fit seemed to artificially limit seat travel in order to boost rear legroom numbers. It certainly wasn’t comfortable for a 35″ inseam. These new rear legroom figures are frightening if they manage it by further limiting front seat space!

    3. The CVT/Auto (as is usual these days) shows higher fuel economy figures than the manual. I’ve noticed that Hondas tend to have VERY short gearing in the manuals, to the point that top gear in the manual is often the same ratio as the highest NON-overdrive gear in the automatic. I can only assume they do this intentionally for peppiness in the automag reviews, to boost figures of the more profitable automatics, and so that customers don’t complain about lack of passing power in top gear (because customers are dumb). In some cases, it’s been bad enough that an automatic might cruise at 70 MPH at 2500 rpm and the manual at 3500! Is the Fit another one of these cases?

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      #1: I’m often tempted to delve into seat comfort, and I do cave, but there’s little that’s more subjective. The cushioning is very soft, which is probably great for the shorter journeys around town that Fits will often be used for, but perhaps not ideal for longer journeys. In my opionion.

      #2: “Front-seaters above five-foot-eleven likely won’t be able to get the seats to slide far enough back for ankle comfort.”

      #3: I haven’t driven the latest Fit with a manual, but I think the enjoyment I’d get out of the car as a whole, regardless of FE, would be a real leap forward.

      • 0 avatar
        Occam

        Thank you! Sorry, I missed that line in #2. Honda simply doesn’t build small cars for tall people anymore. The Civics of the 2001-2007 generation had so much room to stretch! These seem perfect for middle-aged elementary school teachers. (Mom is a middle-aged elementary school teacher and loves hers).

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Try out the 2012+ Civics for long trip comfort, I knock down 10 hour drives in mine at 5’11” with ease. Seat bottom cushion is very long and wide at the thighs, and the seat back is wide and has pronounced lumbar support (which some people may or may not like). Conversely the 2007 Fit’s seating position is abysmal to me, my right leg cramps up after half an hour of highway travel due to constantly being in tension holding the accelerator pedal at an awkward angle. The seat cushion does nothing for thigh support for anyone above average height. People have resorted to stacking washers under the front seat mounts to tilt the cushion up. The Fit is a wonderful runabout and makes the perfect home depot mulch hauler with the seats down and a tarp in the back. My family’s 2007 stick shift base model has served faithfully in that capacity, returning fantastic fuel economy in the process and not a single repair needed.

          If I could get my Civic’s seats and engine/transmission in a slightly enlarged Fit, I’d have the perfect car, oh and better insulation, a perpetual issue for Hondas it seems. I guess the weight has to come out of something, my Civic weighs a paltry 2641lb!

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            What you are looking for is close to what Honda made in the 80’s. 3 and 5 door Civics. The Civic was for years only available in N.A. as a hatch.

            And the Accord was also originally available as a hatch. A far cry from today’s market segment.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        I wonder how much of China is lurking in the decision to emphasize back seat comfort over front seat comfort. What with their tendency for their chauffeured cars.

  • avatar
    EAF

    I wish it came “fitted” with their K24A2 engine and said 6spd gearbox. I’d buy one today.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Just can’t get over all the fawning from everyone about the Fit’s ‘magical’ seats. The seats in our ’87 Honda Civic Wagovan had all the same adjustments. The back of the rear seats were also ’tiltable’ and you could fold down all the seats to create one large interior flat service to serve as a large double bed.

    Plus it had Honda’s ‘realtime AWD’ system.

    • 0 avatar
      Occam

      Interesting… I never knew the Wagonvan had the flip-up feature on the seat-bottoms. That is the coolest of the “Magic Seat” tricks.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Yes the Magic Seats are more than just the flat folding Wagovan seats of yore, the central location of the fuel tank allows for empty space underneath the rear passengers to be utilized.

        I also miss the old Civic Wagons, my family owned a fwd/auto 1990 Civic Wagon from 1996 until 2007. It was the Cappuccino Brown Metallic to boot! Unbelievable fishbowl-like visibility and go kart handling, even relative to our 2007 Fit. But horrible NVH and a very stiff suspension with very little travel. Interior materials were definitely better on the Civic Wagon, with high quality tweed cloth, with similar tweed cloth inserts on the door panels, which which had soft touch brown vinyl on the upper parts, and chromed metal door pulls.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    They’re pretty swell.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Fit Si
    Fit Si
    Fit Si
    Fit Si

  • avatar
    EAF

    Exactly my point Steve! You think them guys will rave over the Si seats? Lol

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    The mid-1980s Honda Civic Wagon (the tall one) only had 76 horsepower, and it weighed a little over 2,000 lbs. The 2015 Fit is a muscle car by comparison.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “Fit’s steering to be slower and lifeless by comparison”

    Did they really do that? I had a first-gen, and had tested the second. The steering wasn’t particularly tactile but it was sneeze-and-you’re-in-the-next-lane quick in it’s ratio?

    I don’t understand why Honda screws with the steering magic-seat adjusters, but won’t touch that stupid final-drive ratio. Especially now that it’s a six-speed; there’s no reason for a 1.5L four that can pull away in third gear and does 3000rpm at highway speeds.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Agreed on all points, the 1st gen had something crazy like 2.5 turns lock to lock. It felt like a video game controller after the awesome feeling hydraulic setup in my old Civic Wagon, but was still pretty fun in its own way.

      Our 2007 Fit sat at about 3500rpm at 70mph with the 5spd stick, the threshold for the 2nd intake valve to open up on the 1st gen iVTEC motor. Staying under that limit would consistently yield 40-41 mpg, cross over and you’re in the upper 30s. If they went through the trouble of adding a 6th ratio, a taller overdrive would be a no-brainer.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      Test drove one myself a few weeks ago EX-L. I walked away shaking my head. It was loud, very course engine feel through the steering and seat. The steering did feel like a poor attempt to electric power steering. I was lucky to test it
      in the rain with a little wind. That does feel better then the old version. The wind did not make me white knuckle it like the past two. Honestly the Hyundai Accent hatchback felt like a more substantial car. Handled better, quieter, just felt more solid all around. The salesman kinda agreed with me on my points and wanted to show me a few used Honda’s.

      • 0 avatar
        Occam

        I haven’t driven the hatchback, but the Accent sedan I had as a rental was far nicer than the Fit. It was cheap inside like every car in this bracket, but it had so much room in there! Leg room, head room, elbow room, a better engine… it was less fun than a Fit, but better as a car in every way.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    A question: did they push the dash back toward the firewall versus the second-generation version? I had a first-gen, and the second-gen spoiled a lot of that TARDIS feel by pulling the dashboard forward and right into where my knees go—and for no good reason that I could tell.

    Also, did they put the magic-seat adjusters back that they decontented from the second-gen?

    Last: is there a decent dead-pedal now?

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Sad…it doesn’t appear to me that any of the car’s remarkable space efficiency and functionality would be compromised if the shortcomings I’ve read about were addressed.

    Accurate steering with feel, better-chosen ratios in the gearbox, better ergonomics, sound insulation…none of these take up valuable space.

  • avatar
    AFX

    My biggest concern would be the long term durability of the transmission of any car with a CVT. I’d take a regular automtic or a manual gearbox over any CVT, regardless of a CVT’s supposed better fuel economy.

    The transmission final drive ratios are a joke on some of the smaller cars, maybe the Japanese are hoping the US will return to the 55mph speed limit of the past ?. Maybe the Japanese don’t realise that the speed limit here is 65mph, and most people drive 70-75mph, and if you’re in some areas the average speed is more like 75-80mph. The 3-speed autos in the old Corollas and Prizms were happy doing 55-60mph, but get up above 70mph and it sonded like the engine was going to blow up, and the noise was horrible cruising at those speeds. A big part of long distance driving comfort is the noise and vibration level inside the car. Being buzzed to death by a little engine pulling high revs might be fun around town, but it’s a killer for any long distance drives. It’s no fun getting out of the car, or having to make rest stops on long drives, because you’re worn out from the constant buzzing of the engine at highway speeds. Stuff like that makes you more fatigued as a driver, especially during long trips driving at night.

    As far as the noise in the car goes, that’s a tradeoff of making cars lighter by using thinner gauge sheet metal. The thinner gauge metal transmits more road noise up from the wheel wells and floor pan. They used to counteract that by spraying the floorpan and wheel wells with sound deadening undercoating from the factory, but modern cars don’t seem to come with undercoating any more. Now they have to make do with the asphalt based sound deadening sheets under the carpet, and thicker sound insulation material under the carpet and around the door panels. The actual build quality of the cars with the thinner sheet metal is less, but it “sounds” like a higher quality car inside sometimes because they added more sound proofing materials to keep the noise levels down. Thicker sheet metal must be more expensive than asphalt panels and recycled textile waste that they use for sound proofing these days. A little Dynamat under the carpet or on the firewall can cure some of the noise problems of these small cars, especially at highway speeds.

    Maybe we could have Ronnie do a story on the history and disappearance of undercoating on cars ?.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Americans don’t want to downshift while pulling a grade on the interstate. We’d rather deal with 3000RPM all the time than do something barbaric like downshift to pull the grade or make a pass. We don’t want to slow down once we’ve hit our cruising speed and we don’t want to have to push the clutch in and downshift at 60+ mph. Another reason that automatics are winning the war. They can run long gearing and make an effortless, smooth downshift.

      What is interesting to me is that my FR-S has pretty aggressive gearing but I still downshift all the time in situations where I’d just let it roll on my older stickshifts. The pedal placement is awesome for heel toe downshifting and the throttle responds just right for a rev matching blip when making a pass. It is a car that makes shifting fun. And my 2 year old daughter likes when I make “racecar sounds”. That is also a source for my nonsensical, unnecessary downshifting. haha

      Back to the Fit, I really enjoyed the first gen that I test drove back in 2006. IIRC, it was an automatic, though. It was a very neat car at the time. A Fit Si would have had my money, especially if it had a high revving VTEC motor.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “Americans don’t want to downshift while pulling a grade on the interstate. We’d rather deal with 3000RPM all the time than do something barbaric like downshift to pull the grade or make a pass”

        Yes, but people who feel that way buy automatics anyways, so why handicap the MT?

        That said, this is Honda: the same company that greenlit the Acura ZDX.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          Laziness isn’t binary. I’ve talked to people that say the S2000 is slow because it isn’t great at passing in 6th gear on the highway. I respond, “Downshift!” These are the people that would hate a tall 6th gear in something like a Fit. If Honda’s market research showed that more potential buyers wanted their Fit to feel faster, then the short gears were a good call.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      What makes you think that the CVT will be less reliable than would be a geared AT? Do you have some data indicating this generation of Honda CVTs will wear more quickly?

      With any new design, long term reliability is an unknown.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Of course he doesn’t have data to show that. A CVT ultimately relies on the friction between the chain/belt and the sheaves. That friction is a function of the surface of the belt and sheaves and the pressure applied to the master piston. The belt is always sliding, so to speak. A planetary transmission ultimately relies on the friction in the clutches/brakes to engage and disengage the carriers, planet gears, and sun gears to transfer the power through the gearsets. That friction is a function of your multidisk clutchpacks and operate in an on/off manner. Both can be designed poorly and result in a junk transmission. From a mechanical perspective, a CVT usually requires a much higher pressure oil pump than a planetary gearbox, so I’d say it has a little more risk and I’d say that wear of your friction components over the long term is in the planetary gearbox’s favor. Basically, once it is in gear, the friction surfaces are no longer moving relative to one another. That isn’t the case in a CVT.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      At 75mpg the little course engine is at 3600 rpm. For a 2015 new model it just a shame and it shows the cost cutting at Honda. It makes the Fit feel like poorly engineered car. And that course sounding little engine buzzing at 3600rpm does not give a feeling of longevity like in other Honda products.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Our ’87 Wagovan had a 6 speed manual. 5 regular gears and 1 that locked in the ‘real time AWD system’. Quite sophisticated for that era.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I don’t think it locked the RT4WD system, it was simply a very numerically high ratio, a crawler gear for sticky offroad situations.

        My family had but a deposit down on an 87 Wagovan RT4WD but the unscrupulous seller sold it to someone else. We ended up with a 1990 fwd Civic Wagon with an automatic. A more powerful, better handling car, but I would have enjoyed the older Wagovan more I think!

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    This has been one of the less complementary reviews of the car I’ve read, and that is somewhat refreshing after slogging through the overly-effusive praise of Motortrend and Car & Driver. Curiously, the former wrote that this Fit was more fun than its predecessors, while C&D acknowledged the dialing back on steering feel and chassis sharpness.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who has found the Fit’s 1.5 to be buzzy and loud. I just don’t see the magic in that powertrain, though the power and fuel economy of the 2015 deserves praise.

    From what I can tell, though, this is certainly the standard of the class as an all-rounder.

  • avatar
    bikephil

    You sound like a smart guy to live in a small space, but you really should buy instead of rent. Unless you like the idea of paying rent forever.

    • 0 avatar
      KindaFondaHonda

      I have always owned, but let’s get real… we’re all really just renting.

      Why? Property taxes.

      Don’t pay your property taxes (a sort of property rent)? Your house is taken away no matter if you own it or not… mortgage or not. The land is never really yours free and clear.

      Gov’t really owns it all.

      Your lifetime Landlord!

      • 0 avatar
        Occam

        Sure it is. You can claim whatever you want as your property. Good luck defending it. Perhaps if you could round up a group of property owners, and share the cost of defining and defending your property among you. Maybe even a really big group. Just don’t call your share of that “property tax,” or you’re just renting again!

        Snark aside, if you own property, you pay taxes on it. If you rent, you pay for the taxes plus whatever the owner thinks they can wring out of you, or someone else if you’re not willing. If it’s not profitable for them to rent to anyone, they sell and the tennant gets booted.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Really? How is it that I got a check after I sold my townhouse?

        I hear there are no property taxes in Somalia. You may have to pay off a warlord or two, though.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          Depending what you spend on interest, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, etc, it could very well cost more to own than rent… Like most things, it depends on the boundary conditions. General property values could tank for a myriad of reasons, the house could develop expensive problems, etc. It could get mighty expensive if your job gets relocated and you are stuck with a house that you are underwater on where a lease buyout is pretty simple/cheap. It depends.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            Landlords face all those same expenses. If you’re going to be staying the the same place for a number of years, it’s almost always better to own.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You act like your property taxes aren’t paying for anything – like schools or local government, roads, infrastructure, fire/EMS, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      We bought. Doubtful that, after property taxes and upgrades and assorted associated costs are taken into account that we’ll make money. But it’s even far less likely that we’ll lose money. We just wanted a yard for a dog. Speaking of which, the Fit is a great small car for dogs. With seats flipped up but not folded down, you could have even separate a pair of pooches when their behaviour deteriorates.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        When you buy, you freeze the capital cost of your house at the current levels. Assuming you didn’t buy at the top of a bubble, you can expect the house to appreciate at whatever the non-inflation adjusted increase is in household income in your ares. Also, the portion of your mortgage payment that goes to principal is essentially savings. When you rent, you can expect the rents to go up at approximately the same rate as house prices.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          At the end of your mortgage term, you’re left with an asset, as well. Not a list of receipts from paying your landlord.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            Yep, and it’s an asset you can live in. Your housing costs go down to where it’s taxes, maintenance, and utilities.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            I don’t see anyone recommending that you rent the same place for 15~30 years…

            I know multiple people that have been in 3 different parts of the country over the past decade. One family is still trying to keep their first house in Texas filled with renters while they live in VA because they were way under water on it. The second family made the moves with ease. It depends on the individual and where they see themselves in 5~10 years. I’m a home owner, but that is only because the conditions made sense for me to buy. Again, it depends on the person, the market, etc, etc.

  • avatar
    KindaFondaHonda

    I don’t understand the incessant griping about not having “big giant radio knobs”. Granted, I’m not sure I’d like the capacitive volume control, but I would just do what I do in all our current cars: use the steering wheel controls!

    I use the remote controls 99% of the time now and I have knobs on all our current cars. The only thing I wish all remote wheel controls had was a mute button, so as to not have to hold the (vol dn) button to silence the blaring music.

    But don’t worry… the knobs will return at some point.

    What’s old is new again.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      My old GS had a “memory” sound feature with the radio controls. You picked what volume you wanted, and it would remember it forever after a long press. I used it as a mute/unmute. Very handy.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “I’m not sure I’d like the capacitive volume control, but I would just do what I do in all our current cars: use the steering wheel controls!”

      Came in to say this. So much whining about dashboard controls, but no one with a good set of steering wheel controls ever touches the dash controls, guaranteed. So quit complainin’!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Rear 3/4 shot brought to you by Volvo.

    I like the rear better, I like the front less.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    A close competitor for the Fit, but one that is rarely mentioned in tests, is the Kia Soul. All dimensions and capacities are close (Kia slightly larger), but the Soul is a “Real Car” – one that is comfortable and quiet(-ish) even on the highway. The Soul’s fuel mileage (particularly on the highway) won’t match the Fit’s, but the Fit is so loud and out of its element there that I’m not certain how much that really matters.

    Details, thanks to TrueDelta:

    http://www.truedelta.com/Honda-Fit/specs-99/vs-Soul-855

    We bought the Soul.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      Souls are really swell, too.

      Ergonomically, taller people tend to love them, shorter people, especially women, can get the kid-in-a-bathtub feeling. Personally I adore them as one of the few non-trucks in which I can actually see under the RVM.

      But I’m sure the next iteration of both the Fit and Soul will further slant the A-pillar and lower the roof because aero. So buy now!

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Good points, but when driving a rental Soul I couldn’t help but feel that it was just very ho-hum and carelessly engineered. The use of space and interior packaging makes this particularly obvious. The soul is actually substantially larger than the Fit, which gives it more cargo space. But the Fit’s trick folding seats really makes you appreciate the effort and thought that Honda’s engineers put into the cars. The Soul’s seat don’t even fold flat without using a cargo tray that eats up about 6 cu ft of the trunk’s space (18 cu ft from 24). Now that’s lazy engineering. Add to that a ride that is neither soft nor controlled, but the worst of both worlds, and highway mpg with the 1.6/6A that struggled to break 28 mpg highway during my 3 hour drive, and I came away very unimpressed with the Soul. It’s not a bad car all around, I just prefer vehicles with more thought put into their design.

      • 0 avatar
        ZCD2.7T

        “Substantially larger”? Soul is 3″ longer, 3.9″ wider and 3″ taller. I guess it depends on your definition of “substantially”. The Soul is still a very small car. Also, minimum cargo space is 24 cubic feet, not 18, much more than the Fit’s 16 cubic foot minimum. And its max cargo volume is also much greater.

        More to the point, the engine (ours has the 2.0/6A combination) turns over an (inaudible) 2400 rpm at 70 mph, making highway cruising much more comfortable.

        The Fit might be a better city-only car, but the Soul is the better all-around car (IMO, of course).

  • avatar
    rpn453

    “This is not a pairing in which a CVT can be considered a success, at least if we rule out fuel economy as a criterion.”

    You should probably qualify “fuel economy” as “EPA fuel economy”. I doubt there are too many drivers who would choose the absurd EPA shift points during moderate acceleration:

    1-2 at 3950 rpm (17 mph).
    2-3 at 3100 rpm (25 mph).
    3-4 at 3300 rpm (40 mph).
    4-5 at 2800 rpm (45 mph).
    5-6 at 2700 rpm (50 mph).

  • avatar
    rpn453

    “This is not a pairing in which a CVT can be cons*dered a success, at least if we rule out fuel economy as a criterion.”

    You should probably qualify “fuel economy” as “EPA fuel economy”. I doubt there are too many drivers who would choose the absurd EPA shift points:

    1-2 at 3950 rpm (17 mph)
    2-3 at 3100 rpm (25 mph)
    3-4 at 3300 rpm (40 mph)
    4-5 at 2800 rpm (45 mph)
    5-6 at 2700 rpm (50 mph)

  • avatar
    Fred

    Curbside classic has a nice image comparing the current smallest Honda to the largest Honda from 1975

    http://www.curbsideclassic.com/uncategorized/cc-outtake-hondas-smallest-2010-vs-hondas-largest-1975/

  • avatar
    dolorean

    I’m still awaiting delivery of my 2105 Honda Spasm. Given up on the Mercury Grand Marquis de Sade ever arriving.

  • avatar
    scott25

    I feel like it’s been years since I’ve read a review of a small hatchback that hasn’t included the phrase “the penalty box economy cars of yore”.


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