By on June 13, 2017

2018 Honda Fit Sport, Image: Honda North America

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.

2018 Honda Fit Sport, Image: Honda North America

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]

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40 Comments on “2018 Honda Fit: Fitter, Happier, More Productive...”

  • avatar

    I looked at the car to buy, and liked it, but at 6-3, 200 lbs I just didn’t, uh, fit.

    • 0 avatar

      Only 5’11” and 150 here, but same deal. I would’ve jumped at a Fit, but there just was not enough front seat legroom.

    • 0 avatar

      And the irony is that there is plenty room that isn’t used. The front seat could easily go back another 3 inches if only the seat tracks were longer. Same deal in a Civic. If Honda would fix that, they would find many more buyers of a larger stature!

  • avatar

    Wondering what the final drive gearing will be with the manual transmission…

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a 6-speed, so hopefully they made 6th fairly tall. At under 2600 pounds, 130 horses should be able move this decently enough.

      • 0 avatar

        The continued short final drive gearing of the manual is one reason to choose the CVT – for (relatively) more relaxed highway cruising. There’s also the manual’s “hanging revs” annoyance, forcing slowed upshifts to save wear on the synchros.

    • 0 avatar

      Assuming it’s the same tranny from this year’s model, here you go, straight from Honda’s website:
      Gear Ratios:
      1st: 3.462
      2nd: 1.870
      3rd: 1.235
      4th: 0.949
      5th: 0.810
      6th: 0.727
      Reverse: 3.307
      Final Drive: 4.62

  • avatar

    I wish they removed the cheap looking rear pillar reflectors, or at least made them actual lights.

  • avatar

    Who cares if it’s only slighty smaller than the Civic for slightly less money? It’s a real hatchback with cargo space thanks to the Magic seats, something the Civic doesn’t offer at any price.

    • 0 avatar

      Before someone jumps in and says “but the Civic comes in a hatch again!” – the Fit *still* has more cargo capacity than the Civic hatch (and, IIRC, more than anything else in its segment).

    • 0 avatar

      And the Civic is an actual highway car, which is something the Fit doesn’t offer at any price. Seventeen hundred more for a Civic hatch with the 1.5T? Cheap.

  • avatar

    Are high levels of Noise Vibration and Harshness continuing as no extra cost features?

  • avatar

    Ah, now I see where the styling was derived from… a pig, in a cage, on antibiotics.

  • avatar

    47500 miles on my 2015 Fit so far. The biggest change they could make to improve it would be to make 6th gear much taller. 5th and 6th are so close together that I never bother using 5th. Otherwise the car is a great commuter. Easily average 40 mpg. At times as high as 43 and never less than 39.

    • 0 avatar

      23,000 on a ’17 EX manual. I don’t think a single thing changed from ’15-’17 except paint colors and slight pricing. The gas mileage is incredible. That 6th gear is ridiculously close to 5th. Another 5 mpg? and 800 rpm less drone at 70 would be great. 4000 rpm at 80 just makes me want to leave earlier and drive slower for interstate trips. At least the speakers are decent for my hearing. It’s been perfectly reliable so far, and I continue to be amazed at everything I can cram into the cargo. A gearing change is the one upgrade I am hoping to see.

  • avatar

    Wanted to like this car…I really, really did. But the highway noise is AWFUL. Unless you’re totally into back seat space, a Yaris iA or Fiesta is a far better choice.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. After owning one, the amount of engine noise (and quality of it) coupled with the road noise relegates the Fit to being a penalty box. There was either no sound insulation, or they were using old Chinese newspapers for it. Long trips in the Fit were tiresome and deafening.

      The Fiesta, having rented one for a road trip, is a much better travel companion, as is my current Sonic. After owning the Fit, the interior quietness of the Sonic feels like the Sistine Chapel in comparison

      • 0 avatar

        It was high on my list in 2013 for the practicality, fun to drive nature and remarkable cabin visibility but I crossed it of my list the second I took it on the highway. Coming from a 90s Civic and after testing that, the Mazda 3 I got doesn’t seem so bad actually.

        • 0 avatar

          My story is remarkably similar. I checked out a 2012 (the 2nd generation sold here). I really liked the versatility and interior room. I was willing to try to look past the wacky dashboard and give it a test drive. I thought the car was very promising until we pulled onto the highway.

          Our highway test drive mostly consisted of shouting back and forth with the salesman over the road noise, hanging on for dear life over each expansion joint, and wondering how such a car could possibly be sold by a major nameplate in 2012, let alone receive awards like C&D’s 10 Best.

          The Mazda5 I bought for an extra $1500 or so feels like a Bentley in comparison.

  • avatar

    Have they solved the less power, less fuel efficient problem versus the civic? (With the manual)

  • avatar

    If this gets more power and retains a manual option, I might just consider it. Either way I like the looks of the facelift.

  • avatar

    As a former owner of a 2015 Fit, purchased in late 2014, when this generation first came out, I’m curious to learn more about the tweaks done for 2018. The Fit is a very clever little car with innovative packaging and lots of value for the money (at least in base LX form). The amount of gear it can gobble up is mind boggling and it was extremely fuel efficient.

    That new Orange Fury looks great on this car and is similar to an orange I saw on South African Fits (Jazz) while on vacation there. It’s exciting to see it being offered here.

    But there were several shortcomings to my Fit that made it difficult to live with and I hope to see addressed on this revised rendition:

    – NVH- Sure, it’s an economy car, but the engine and road noise in the cabin were relentless. The Fiesta, Sonic, and almost any other small car we drove were much more refined with noise control

    -The six speed manual- 1st gear was way too short, and fifth and sixth were interchangeable. At freeway speeds, the engine was revving its guts out even in sixth (see above about NVH)

    -Front seat travel- To make room for the massive back seat, the front seats seem like an afterthought. There isn’t enough rearward travel and tall passengers would have their knees pressed into the dash. Allowing an extra two inches of rearward seat travel would still allow a generous back seat and give front occupants some personal space

    If those get resolved, the Fit would be a perfect little car

    • 0 avatar

      I second the front seat travel idea. Don’t know why they limit it so much. Especially on the passenger side. I’m 6’1″ and I put the drives seat as far back as it will go. It’s plenty comfortable for commuting but on the rare occasions I sit on the passengers side I wish for more travel.

    • 0 avatar

      You and a couple others here took the words right out of my mouth. The highway-speed RPM and the sound insulation are the whole question. I had a friend looking for a practical, reliable and economical car that could carry a lot of stuff. The Fit would have been perfect except it’s unfit for the highway.

      Honda knows how to fix it, but I suspect they don’t want to ding the EPA mileage rating by adding weight, so they probably won’t.

      • 0 avatar

        The funny thing is it doesn’t have to ding anything. Just change the 6th gear ratio- that’s either two or three physical gears inside the transaxle. Or the final drive ratio (first gear is, as festiboi mentioned, more than short enough), which would also be a straightforward engineering change. Both solutions would improve the EPA numbers.

        The main cause that a lot of customers don’t like to downshift to pass or go uphill. They have the notion that if you have to downshift then it is because the car is slow and the engine is weak. Of course, that notion is utter nonsense, but that’s why manufacturers build short gear ratios for top gear. During previous fuel crises, economics forced customers and car manufacturers towards, well, much more sensible top gear ratios…

        Maybe a good solution would be some “expectation management” (dumbing down) by renaming sixth gear “sooper dooper economy gear” and labeling it on the shifter pattern with a ridiculous looking graphic. This would discourage the customers of lesser mental capability from ever using it, they would never have to downshift, and then everybody would be happy!!

        Sorry I’m so cynical.

      • 0 avatar

        The irony is that with a taller sixth gear, the rpms would be lower, and with the engine being less strained, the result would be even better fuel economy. Win-win.

        Maybe there’s something that Honda engineers know that’s preventing them from doing this

      • 0 avatar

        The 2012 Fit I test drove needed so, so much more than just a taller highway gear to be a comfortable car at high speeds. The ride and handling had some serious issues, especially with 4 passengers. Perhaps the new one has improved to some extent and gotten closer to adequate.

  • avatar

    This thing would probably get the same mileage with the 1.5T and drive much better.

    Everyone is complaining about high rpms and noise on the highway.

    1.5T Fit would allow Honda to use taller gears without the car feeling like a gutless pig like a tiny naturally aspirated engine​ would with tall gears.

    1.5T Fit. Fast, efficient, relaxed on the highway. All of the Fit’s problems solved with a turbo.

  • avatar

    As others have noted, the reviews I’ve read feel that the biggest issue with the latest Fit was a six-speed transmission with ratios that weren’t significantly different from the previous edition’s five-speed. IOW, sixth gear in the new Fit was exactly the same as fifth gear in the old one. You really have to wonder what Honda was thinking on that one.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      No, I’m not exaggerating, Ronnie. I actually had this car on my radar last fall, and considered it very seriously. I drove it twice, and both times the highway noise was just not something I could live with; meanwhile, I also drove a Fiesta and a Yaris iA, and both were more than acceptable at highway speeds. The problem isn’t that no one can make a car at this price point that’s good on the road – it’s that Honda doesn’t make one, and that’s disappointing, given how good the Fit is otherwise.

      I think the problem isn’t necessarily gearing – I believe it’s insufficient sound deadening. Yes, a few extra pounds of sound deadening would probably make the car a bit slower, a bit less efficient, and a touch more expensive, but it’d also make it acceptable to a wider range of buyers. I’m surprised Honda hasn’t addressed this.

      (By the way, seventeen large comes real close to getting you into a 5-speed Civic LX, which ended up being my Honda finalist last fall, and that’s the car I’d recommend over the Fit if you do do any amount of highway driving.)

      • 0 avatar

        I do lots of highway driving in the Fit, and I don’t find the noise to be bothersome. Yes, it’s a noisy car but the stereo in the EX is pretty decent (other than an obtrusive speed/volume compensation).

        I wonder how much of the highway noise is due to the mediocre OEM Firestones. They barely have grip in dry conditions and in rain or snow the stability control kicks in regularly when it shouldn’t have to. Fortunately, they are wearing pretty quickly so they’ll be replaced with summer/winter sets.

        • 0 avatar

          Road noise has increased significantly by 20K on those Firestones.
          It doesn’t ride as smoothly either, but I’ve rotated them myself. Also looking forward to having to replace them to see how positive the difference will be. Those Firestones are within $5 each of a Michelin Premier A/S with hugely better buyer ratings.

          This morning I checked the tire pressures and replaced both the engine and cabin filters. Took out the driver’s headrest and flipped it. Finally, after 9 months of pushing my head forward, it is in the proper place. The seat looks normal. It was 93F and changing the cabin filter seemed to double the AC output. I had the fan on 1. Drove 55 miles (40 was entertaining) to work at 41.9 mpg. Realized I did love the car.

    • 0 avatar

      I recently switched my Civic Si to BG Syncro Shift II gear oil. It isn’t cheap, and it doesn’t do anything about shutting up people who wouldn’t know superior engineering and quality if it ran them down. What it does is silences the 6-speed manual in my Honda. I never realized it was a source of noise before, but the overall noise level and nature of the road noise is transformed by the change. I’ve had the car for a decade and wish I’d made the switch years ago.

      • 0 avatar

        Back in the day I routinely made tired and graunchy old manual transmissions work like new simply by replacing the shifter bushings and switching to SyncroShift. Sloppy action fixed, graunchy shifts fixed. SyncroShift is a miracle worker on old gearboxes. (Never occurred to me to put it in a new one.)

        • 0 avatar

          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 ;)

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