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2018 Honda Fit: New Car Review

If you’re looking for information on a newer Honda Fit, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Honda Fit Review

The 2018 Honda Fit is probably not the best-looking subcompact car. You also can’t get it in a sedan body style, and its base price is considerably higher than other subcompacts. There — we’ve pretty much exhausted the reasons why someone shouldn’t consider the Fit. But even then, it still deserves a chance to change your mind.

For starters, no other car out there manages to squeeze the most interior space out of the smallest possible exterior. Only Hermione Granger’s handbag challenges the Fit’s almost magical ability to swallow large items you wouldn’t think possible. Indeed, its 52.7 cu ft. of maximum cargo space is better than quite a few SUVs, and its back seat is big enough to accommodate full-size adults. Really, if you’re looking to downsize into a more efficient and less expensive car, but are worried that it won’t be able to carry as much stuff or your passengers will be crammed in, the Fit should be the answer.

Plus, its desirability goes beyond its spaciousness. Its little engine delivers strong acceleration and fuel economy for its segment, while its agile handling and comfortable ride add up to a surprisingly refined driving experience. Interior quality is also impressive for this price range, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto join the features list of most trims, and for 2018, accident avoidance tech is at least available on every trim level.

Now, there are some new competitors listed below that are definitely worth a look this year, but for its well-rounded nature and near-magical interior space, no subcompact car search would be complete without checking out the Fit.

What’s New for 2018?

For 2018, the current generation of the Honda Fit gets it first update. The styling has been tweaked and there have been adjustments made to the suspension, steering and body structure to improve ride and handling. There’s also a new Sport trim that brings with it unique styling details. New features include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and the Honda Sensing suite of accident avoidance tech. See the 2018 Honda Fit models for sale near you

What We Like

Unmatched interior space for such a small vehicle; highly versatile and practical cabin; quality cabin materials; efficient and relatively quick engine

What We Don’t

Pricier base price than other subcompacts; it’s not the most attractive design

How Much?

$16,200-$21,500

Fuel Economy

The Fit offers just one engine: a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder that produces 130 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque with the standard 6-speed manual transmission. It goes down to 128 hp and 113 lb-ft with the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). Fuel economy goes up with the CVT, however. It is an estimated 33 miles per gallon city, 40 mpg highway and 36 mpg in combined driving in the LX trim level, and 31 mpg city/36 mpg hwy/33 mpg combined in other CVT-equipped trims. The manual lowers fuel economy to 29 mpg city/36 mpg hwy/31 mpg combined.

Every powertrain combination is quite thrifty, though, as well as capable of strong acceleration for the segment.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Honda Fit is offered in four trim levels: LX, Sport, EX and EX-L.

The base-level Fit LX ($16,200) comes with all the basics, including 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, power accessories, air conditioning, a backup camera, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split back seat (folds flat and seat bottom flips up), Bluetooth phone and audio, a USB port and a 4-speaker sound system with a 5-in color display, a CD player and a media plater interface.

The Sport ($17,500) gets special styling flourishes not available on any other trim level along with 16-in wheels, fog lights, a leather-wrapped wheel, a second USB port, a 6-speaker sound system, and a 7-in touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HondaLink smartphone apps and Pandora internet radio control.

Optional on CVT-equipped LX and Sport trim levels is the Honda Sensing package, which adds forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control.

The Fit EX ($18,200) doesn’t have the leather wheel or the Sport’s styling, but it does add a sunroof, proximity entry and keyless start, cargo area tie downs, Honda’s LaneWatch blind spot camera and satellite radio. Honda Sensing is standard.

Topping the range is the Fit EX-L ($20,500), which adds heated mirrors, leather upholstery, heated front seats and the leather-wrapped steering wheel. Optional on the EX-L is a navigation system integrated into the touchscreen. It brings with it HD radio.

Safety

All Fit models come standard with front-side airbags, side-curtain airbags, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (front disc, rear drum), stability control, traction control and a backup camera. The Honda Sensing package adds forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist. It’s optional on CVT-equipped LX and Sport trims, and standard on the EX and EX-L, which also include the LaneWatch blind spot camera.

In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash-testing, the Fit earned perfect 5-star ratings for overall, frontal and side crash protection. In testing conducted by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Fit received the best possible marks in every crash test it was subjected to, as well as for its front crash prevention tech. A Poor headlight rating kept it from receiving a Top Safety Pick award.

Behind the Wheel

The Fit may not be as comfy or as upscale as its bigger Honda siblings, but interior materials are still a cut above the rest. The cabin even looks pretty cool, especially with the available touchscreen interface, which has been improved a bit for 2018 with the welcome return of a volume knob. Adding the physical menu buttons of the new Accord and Odyssey would be even better, but we’ll take what we can get.

Now, when you get behind the wheel of the 2018 Fit, you’ll find that it’s especially enjoyable to drive. Revised steering, suspension and body structure this year only improve what was already one of the most nimble, comfortable and refined subcompact cars. Just don’t get fooled by the new Sport trim level — it looks a bit cooler, but it’s not really sportier to drive. The otherwise small engine punches well above its weight class — with the continuously variable automatic transmission, it delivers better acceleration than its rivals. The standard manual, meanwhile, is one of the easiest out there to operate.

It’s great to drive, but really, the Fit’s main appeal is its interior versatility. Its so-called "magic" rear seat provides truly impressive, adult-friendly space and flips up to create a flat floor space for dogs or other bulky items. The whole seat also folds completely into the floor, creating a low and commodious cargo area that rivals some small SUVs. We managed to cram in an entire kitchen table and four chairs inside with room to spare. Folks looking to downsize into a smaller car should really appreciate all the space it provides.

Other Cars to Consider

 2018 Kia Rio — The Rio is all-new for 2018, and its transformation has resulted in an impressively grown-up subcompact that should be considered right alongside the Fit. It may not have as much space, but its driving manners are shockingly sophisticated and its cabin earns big points for functionality, quality and style.

2018 Hyundai Accent — Like the Rio, the Accent is all-new and available in both hatchback and sedan body styles. The Fit is of course hatch-only. The Accent is perhaps not as impressive as the new Rio, but it shares many of the same strong attributes as its corporate cousin.

2018 Ford Fiesta — The subcompact Ford Fiesta offers a modern interior, excellent gas mileage and competitive pricing. It’s also available in a sedan body style or as a sporty 5-door version called the Fiesta ST.

Used Honda Civic — If you like the Fit’s price but want a sedan or generally more refinement, opting for a used Civic could make sense. Though not offered in a 4-door hatchback until 2017, the Civic touts great comfort, more power and a few extra features.

Autotrader’s Advice

Just like almost every Honda, we recommend the EX. It adds an abundance of equipment (including accident avoidance tech) that seems like a bargain given its $2,000 premium over the base LX. Otherwise, Honda keeps things pretty simple — with no options really, you just have to pick the color.

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