2017 Honda Fit – Road Test Review – By Ben Lewis



We’re often asked for buying recommendations, and certain models are our go-to cars.

We know they’re good, fun, reliable, and the odds of getting a bad one are slim. (We hate angry emails.)

And for many years, the city car of choice has been the Honda Fit.

These days, so many buyers are clamoring for mini-crossovers, we forget that for a lot of folks, a small hatch is equally capable to do the job.

So, is today’s Fit still a good fit for buyers?

Well, it’s certainly a good looking little guy. Okay, we should probably caveat that. The bright Mystic Yellow color of our tester – some loved it – some didn’t feel the same amount of affection for it. It will help you stand out in a crowd – not a bad thing in city traffic, but like they say…you got choices.

Other than the retina-burning hue, the Fit stands out with sharp modern lines, a pointed front end, and a swoosh character line that flows into the LED taillights. While it’s not big, there’s no denying that it looks like a quality piece. And with the wheels stretched out to the four corners, it looks like it was designed with an eye towards efficiency.

Which it is.

Like some sort of magic trick, they’ve managed to stuff a huge interior into a small exterior.

With 93 cubic feet of passenger room, and up to 52 cubic feet of cargo space, it compares nicely with its larger HR-V crossover sibling, at 101 and 58 cubic feet respectively. Impressive.

And they didn’t do it by skimping on the material either. The seats are covered in a rich fabric (leather is available on EX-L) and clever packaging means there’s plenty of leg and headroom, front and rear.

The rear seat is another clever bit of packaging with the aptly-named “Magic Seats” that include seat bottoms that fold up, giving you nearly four feet of vertical space (great for tall skinny items like a plant), or just fold flat to the floor to give you a ginormous (relatively speaking) cargo hold.

Honda even has a fun configuration where you can fold the front seat all the way back, and sit in the reclining rear seat with your legs stretched ahead.

An automotive Barcalounger. Fantastic.

Back to cargo, the rear hatch has a nice large opening for easy access, and since the Fit isn’t overly tall like small crossovers, you could even mount an accessory rack and have an easy time of getting to your stuff.

For the driver, the packaging is well done. The instruments are clear, there’s a nice, fat three-spoke wheel to hang on to, and the center stack has a large, easy-to-use 7-inch screen on our EX tester.

Being middle child, trim-wise, we didn’t have navigation (we use our phones for this anyway) and some of the fancy apps, but we did have Bluetooth streaming audio, USB and HDMI ports and a fine sounding 6-speaker 180-watt sound system.

But the Fit has other tricks up its sleeve.

To our minds, the best part of that nice-sized center display is Honda’s Lane Watch – when you hit the right turn signal, a small camera on the passenger side mirror displays live video (color too!) on the screen, giving you an excellent view.

And with a view nearly four times larger than your average passenger side mirror, you only have yourself to blame if you bump into something.

Also included on our EX were keyless entry and pushbutton start, so we were riding high on the affordably-priced hog.

All this would be plenty to make most buyers happy, but Mr. Honda always liked to make his vehicles fun, and the little Fit continues the tradition. Under the sloping hood is a 130 hp, 1.5-liter 4-cylinder, and it loves to rev.

While the last Fit we tested was the CVT transmission – and quite a decent one at that – our Screaming Yellow Zonker this time had a 6-speed manual, that really upped the fun factor.

It’s a bit buzzy, a bit throaty, but it suits the car’s nature, and around town it’s fun to get it up on pipe, and snap through the gears.  All this, and we still averaged well above 30 mpg.

If you’re going to spend more time on the freeway, the CVT automatic runs at lower rpm, and is more relaxed.

And frankly, the Fit wouldn’t be our first choice if we were spending more than the occasional jaunt on the super slab. That lightness you enjoy in the city ends up requiring lots of little corrections as the wind tends to push you around.

Stay to the urban metropolis and twisty roads and you’ll have lots more fun. The tight dimensions, compliant but not spongey suspension, and excellent visibility make the Fit loads of fun – and you don’t have to go super-fast and attract unwanted attention.

All this and it won’t flatten the wallet either. The Fit lineup starts with the LX at $16,090, and is nicely equipped with goodies like that 2nd row Magic Seat, power windows, locks, air conditioning and cruise control.

Step up to our EX, and you get some added luxury and style, with a power moonroof, 16-inch alloys, that nice 7-inch display with the cool Honda Lane Watch, and pushbutton ignition. Yours for just $18,000 even.

If you’re feeling flush, pop for the EX-L, and add leather, heated front seats, and standard CVT transmission with paddle shifters for $20,365. It’s the only Fit with an available navi system, which adds $1,000 to the price.

In this segment, the Fit is at the premium end of things – but you do have to take into account it is typically Honda, with loads of standards that Yaris, Fiesta and Sonic will charge more for. And we feel that even after the numerous years it’s been available, the Fit remains the class of its class.

Hot-off-the-presses news has it that the 2018 Fit will get some notable updates, with a cosmetic facelift, advanced added safety equipment like the Honda Sensing package, and the return of the Fit Sport model, slotting between LX and EX. If you have time, it might be worth waiting.

But we don’t have to wait to render our judgement. The Fit is still a great fit for many small car, crossover, and SUV buyers.

Recommend it? Heck, yeah.

About The Author

Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round -- whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, or learning to surf.