2018 Honda Fit: Fitter, Happier, More Productive

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Hold on, you say. That’s just the same old Honda Fit. Wrong. You’re not looking close enough.

While the mid-cycle refresh of Honda’s diminutive-yet-roomy subcompact hatch retains much of the previous Fit’s design hallmarks, the automaker has seen…fit…to make the model more noticeable.

The third-generation Fit bowed in 2014 as a 2015 model year vehicle, offering a single powerplant and two efficient transmissions for not much money less than the larger Civic. Now that Honda’s compact sedan looks gigantic in comparison to its predecessors, the Fit can more comfortably occupy the subcompact segment.

Honda promises a host of upgrades for the 2018 Fit, but has decided not to reveal everything all at once. We’re assured details on “expanded feature content” are on the way.

The most obvious change to this model — if you can call it “obvious” — relates to styling. Mind you, the car’s shape hasn’t evolved into something new, nor has the bodyside character line found a new place to roam. What is different, however, is the vehicle’s front and rear fascia. The front bumper drops the bulbous look for a more creased appearance, and the remolded lower fascia now appears sportier and ever so slightly more menacing, if such a term can be applied to this vehicle. Honda has added a full-width splitter below the face to ratchet up the perceived sportiness.

The chrome strip that used to underscore the grille has morphed into a chrome bar running along the top, from which the “H” hangs like Flavor Flav’s clock.

Out back, a redesigned bumper with newly created character line sits below mildly tweaked taillights and above a splitter-like lower section designed to telegraph the car’s sportiness to vehicles behind. If those drivers come close, they might just notice a Sport badge adorning some new Fits. Honda has placed the new trim level between the base LX and uplevel EX, bringing blacked-out 16-inch wheels, a chrome exhaust finisher and subtle aero kit (including rear diffuser) to the little hatch.

As seen in these photos, Honda has added Orange Fury to the Fit’s color palette. The “Hey! Hey! Look over here!” color joins Helios Yellow Pearl (which replaces Mystic Yellow) among the Fit’s more noticeable paint choices.

Safety-conscious buyers will no doubt applaud the addition of Honda Sensing driver’s aids to the model. The package, which includes lane-keeping and automatic braking functions, as well as adaptive cruise control, will be available to LX and Sport buyers and come standard on EX and EX-L trims.

Because Honda’s media release contains no mention whatsoever of powertrain improvements, we’re left in the dark as to the 2018 Fit’s performance prowess. Will the automaker have more information at next month’s launch? Is the turbo Fit of your dreams right around the corner? Stay tuned. Currently, the model makes do with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder making 130 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual competes with a continuously variable transmission for shifting duties.

Despite sitting at the bottom of the brand’s lineup, the Fit remains a popular buy, even as subcompact crossovers attempt to woo shoppers away. The Fit found 56,630 new U.S. owners in 2016, more than the previous year but down quite a bit from the model’s 2008 sales peak. That year, nearly 80,000 Americans brought home a Fit.

[Images: Honda North America]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Land Ark Land Ark on Jun 14, 2017

    I realize this is probably a safer car and that it will come with tires that grip in the wet. I'm sure there will be ads with a shot of a baby strapped in the back seat. Better yet, a baby smiling in the back seat. They'll tell you how comfortable it is, but this car is for someone who drives slower and more calculated. Someone who is a patient, better driver than most of us. They'll buy this car because of pragmatism, not idealism. You won't see a buyer of one of these spending their Sunday afternoon having a car wash. I consider myself an empowered and informed member of society. I'd say that I am fond, but not in love with this new version.

  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Jun 14, 2017

    I've had two current model Fits. Yes, it's noisy and 6th gear is low (considering that every gear from 4th up is overdrive, that's a bit funny). I also paid about $17K out the door for a very sophisticated little car that's fun to drive and gets very good fuel economy considering that I'm a bit of a leadfoot. I'm old enough to remember when "close ratio" transmissions were favored by enthusiasts. The gearing on the transmission makes 3-5 shifts practical in the city and 4-6 shifts when you're merging onto the freeway. VTEC kicks in (YO!) at about 4,200 RPM and there's a noticeable bump in the power curve. At 80 mph, the engine is spinning about 3,800 RPM and while that's a bit buzzy, it also makes passing on the highway very easy because the engine is cooking nicely. The people who say you have to shout to be heard or you have to turn the stereo way up because of how noisy the Fit is on the highway are exaggerating. Did Honda scrimp on the NVH side? Well, there are reasons why the Fit is at its price point. If they offered it with AWD, as is available on its platform sibling the HR-V, it would be even better.

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    • JimC2 JimC2 on Jun 18, 2017

      @HotPotato Redline MTL is also great for making old gearboxes feel young again. It's rather thin though (I think about 10w or similar to ATF Type A), so even if the gearbox is spec'ed to fill with ATF then it pays to actually check the oil level. Wise shade tree mechanics know to remove the fill plug *first* before committing to removing the drain plug ;)

  • JOHN One is for sale on an ebay car donation site.https://www.ebay.com/itm/305579991767?itmmeta=01HYHVJ49MCC6HEWQY5AX9MX85&hash=item4725fca2d7:g:k9cAAOSw5V5mThFw
  • Scott So they are losing hundreds of millions of dollars and they are promising us a “Cheaper EV”? I wonder how that will look and feel? They killed the Fiesta because they claimed that they couldn’t make a profit on them and when I bought the first one in late 2010 they couldn’t deliver the accessories I wanted for it! Then I bought a 2016 Fiesta ST and again couldn’t get the accessories for it I wanted. They claimed that the components were going to be available, eventually. So they lost on that one as well! I don’t care about what they say anymore. I’ve moved on to another brand.
  • Michael S6 CX 70 or 90 will not be on my buying list. Drove a rental base CX 90 and it was noisy and the engine noise was not pleasant. Ride was rough for a family SUV. Mazda has to understand that what is good for Miata isn't what we expect in semi luxury SUV. My wife's 2012 Buick Enclave has much better Ride and noise level albeit at worse gas millage. Had difficulty pairing my phone with Apple CarPlay
  • Michael S6 What is the metric conversion between one million barrels and the number of votes he expects to buy.
  • NJRide This could give Infiniti dealers an extra product maybe make it a sub brand