Car buyers seeking an excellent value should strongly consider the redesigned 2015 Honda Fit, which is improved in nearly every way over the old Fit that it replaces. Aside from a slight reduction in cargo space and the cancellation of the limited-production Fit EV (an electric vehicle delivering plenty of utility in a compelling package), the new Fit is a better car than the old version.

Exterior

Most cars grow in size with each redesign. Not the 2015 Honda Fit, which still fits just about anywhere you might want to park it. A slight gain in width is offset by a slight decrease in length, while the wheelbase is stretched by more than an inch to add more interior room.

As far as styling is concerned, the new Fit still resembles a doorstop with wheels, but sharper details create a more angular look combined with better balance in terms of overall appearance. Four new colors debut for 2015, including a vibrant paint hue named Mystic Yellow Pearl.

I like the 2015 Fit's new design, which gives this entry-level 5-door hatchback a more grown-up and higher-quality look than the previous version.

Interior

Since it first went on sale, one of the best things about the Honda Fit has been its rear Magic Seat design, which provides multiple configurations for hauling people and cargo. The Magic Seat continues for the 2015 Honda Fit, installed in an interior that is roomier and more comfortable than before.

Up front, the driver's seat gets a standard height adjuster and faces a more contemporary dashboard and a more traditional control layout than the old Fit's decidedly odd setup. Soft-touch material lends a sense of quality, while improvements in terms of noise, vibration and harshness help the redesigned 2015 Fit look and feel like a more substantial vehicle.

Rear-seat occupants will be happier aboard the new Fit, too, thanks to a significant 4.8-in increase in rear legroom. Overall interior space increases by five cu ft., but maximum cargo space is slightly smaller compared to the old Fit. Nevertheless, with 52.7 cu ft. of room available when the rear seat is folded, this diminutive Honda can swallow a bunch of stuff -- nearly as much as some small crossover SUVs.

In relation to the previous Fit, the new model is more comfortable and equally talented, making it an improvement over the old car.

Mechanicals

One of the more dramatic differences between the old Fit and the redesigned 2015 Fit is found under the car's stubby hood. Honda installs a more powerful 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine in the new Fit that makes 130 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque, increases of 13 hp and 8 lb-ft compared to the previous version.

A new 6-speed manual gearbox is standard, with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) available as an option. The CVT is equipped with a Sport driving mode that provides seven pre-selected gear ratios, while an Econ driving mode encourages a fuel-saving driving style in part through the use of Eco Assist lighting. Drive the car with care and you might achieve the new Fit's fuel economy rating of 36 miles per gallon in combined driving, a number that makes the redesigned model 16 percent more fuel-efficient than the old Fit.

In addition to adding power and improving fuel economy, the 2015 Fit has a new electric steering system that dramatically improves the car's on-center feel and its straight-line stability on the freeway. Clearly, when it comes to the hardware under the sheet metal, the new Fit is a better car than the old Fit.

 

Features

Last year, the Fit was sold in base, Sport and EV trim levels. This year, the car adopts familiar Honda trim names of LX, EX and EX-L.

The Fit EX-L is equipped only with a CVT and includes new features that were previously unavailable for the Fit, such as leather, heated front seats, a smart-entry system with push-button starting and a power sunroof. These upgrades, coupled with the technology and safety features discussed in the sections that follow, make the new 2015 Fit the better-equipped vehicle.

Technology

Among the changes to the 2015 Honda Fit, Bluetooth connectivity is now standard, along with a USB port for connecting and charging a smartphone.

Upgrade to the Fit EX or EX-L, and the car comes with a Display Audio system that includes a 7-in touchscreen offering tap, pinch, spread and swipe functions, similar to a tablet computer. Siri Eyes Free mode is also included with the Display Audio system, along with text-messaging capability and access to Pandora Internet Radio.

A new version of HondaLink services technology is also standard for the Fit EX and EX-L, providing the ability to run smartphone applications through the 2015 Fit's Display Audio system. Available applications include navigation, Global Radio and social-media feeds, to name a few.

Safety

The previous version of the Fit was not as crashworthy as Honda would have liked. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Fit unimpressive ratings for front-seat side-impact protection, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the old Fit's small-overlap frontal-impact protection level as Poor.

With the redesigned Honda Fit, the automaker intends to improve the car's ability to protect occupants in a crash.* The new Fit is equipped with Honda's next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering II body structure and comes standard with new SmartVent side-impact airbags, an expanded-view driver's-side mirror that makes it easier to see in the car's left blind spot, and a reversing camera with normal, wide and top-down views.

For the EX and EX-L models, the reversing camera display includes guidelines, and these versions of the new Fit also include a LaneWatch camera system that shows what is in the car's right-side blind spot on the Display Audio screen. Additionally, the Fit EX and EX-L are equipped with HondaLink Assist service, which automatically dials out for help after the airbags deploy, thereby speeding the arrival of rescue personnel to the scene of a collision.

*The 2015 Fit had not been officially crash-tested when this article was written.

Conclusions

At a glance, the redesigned 2015 Honda Fit might not appear to be much different than the vehicle it replaces, but it certainly is. Dramatically improved in the areas that required it, while at the same time retaining what has made the Fit special, the 2015 Fit is the better car.

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Christian Wardlaw is passionate about the cars, trucks, and SUVs people actually buy, not the models about which they fantasize. An industry veteran and former editor-in-chief of Edmunds.com, this father of 4 loves to inform and entertain everyday car buyers.

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