2015 Honda Fit: Or why other subcompact carmakers are “Fit” to be tied

20 Nov 2014 | 1,596 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds Successful  design  and value in an automobile will "out" every single time . Lord knows Honda's been making compact cars for years. But this year's all new 2015 Fit takes the whole game to whole "nuther level".   Beautifully redone inside and out, the new Fit is miles ahead of most of its other counterparts, in terms of fit and finish, quality of materials, space, fun-to-drive qualities and styling as well.  The car looks substantial and feels substantial, and that fact and the others makes us believe that the Fit is at the top of the subcompact heap for this model year.       At first glance, you might think that the Fit looks an awful lot like the previous generation Fit, but look closer and you'll see quite a few variations.  More use of chrome--and design of the wheels make the new Fit more expensive, for instance.  And there are well-placed character lines along the car's flanks to make it look like its in motion even if its not. Inside, Honda has vastly upgraded the interior and included a few new features such as a cupholder to the left of the driver, with a handy fold-down design.  We think it makes for more convenience--no spills or need to worry about not having your eye off the road while reaching down to grab a cup in a floor console. We also love the rear and side view you get on the information screen when you make right hand turns.  It enhances safety and provides a very clear, sharp voiew as to what is gong on on your right as you make your turn. We also liked the new touch screen system in the Fit with big, legible views.  It may take you some time to get used to the slide graphics used for the audio system though.  And many others may well prefer using knobs to these sliding graphs on the screen.  We generally prefer knobs and buttons too, but Honda has designed in  slide systems that are far less slippery and hard to use by touch like what seems to be the case with other car makers. Honda says that the Fit has  best-in-class passenger and cargo space, increased power, 41 mpg fuel economy rating (LX with Continuously Variable Transmission [CVT]) and more refined, yet sporty dynamics. The company also says that the new Fit offers more "class-above" features than other car makers in the subcompact , the completely redesigned 2015 Fit is poised to lead the subcompact segment. Add to this an abundance of class-above standard features including roofline spoiler, LED taillights, Bluetooth® connectivity and a segment-exclusive rearview camera for a starting price just $100 more than the outgoing model. The 2015 Fit went on sale at Honda dealerships at Honda dealerships nationwide last spring, manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) starting at $15,525 for the LX trim with 6-speed manual transmission A really important point to not is that Honda is . All Fit models are powered by a new, higher power and highly efficient 1.5-liter engine developing 130 horsepower3 and 114 pound feet of torque4,with an EPA fuel-economy rating of 33/41/36 (city/highway/combined)5 for the LX with CVT. "I'm thrilled that we've been able to greatly enhance and add to the Fit's already excellent attributes to provide Honda customers with class-above features and refinement at such a value price point," said Jeff Conrad, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Honda. "The 2015 Fit is practical, roomy, efficient, affordable and perhaps best of all, great fun to drive." "With class-leading interior space and versatility courtesy of its center-mounted fuel tank and ingenious Magic Seat®, the Fit epitomizes smart functionality with spacious and comfortable seating for five and the ability to carry voluminous cargo, including long and tall items. The larger interior features a remarkable 4.9 cubic feet increase in passenger volume and a 4.8-inch increase in rear seat leg room compared to the previous Fit, all the more remarkable considering its even more compact exterior footprint, including a 1.6-inch decrease in overall length,"  Mr. Conrad said. A highly space-efficient new body structure pairs with an all-new chassis to create a completely new, more rigid and lighter subcompact platform. The new Fit's platform features a longer wheelbase and numerous improvements to front and rear suspension and steering systems that improve overall driving dynamics. The net effect of these upgrades is a more settled and stable, yet nimble and sporty ride, with greatly improved steering and improved ride comfort and quietness. The adoption of a new frame structure, including Honda's next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) front body structure, also benefits safety performance, with the 2015 Fit targeting the highest-available crash-safety ratings of both the U.S. government and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). A new Earth Dreams Technology™ engine used in all versions of the Fit significantly increases power, torque and throttle response with support from two newly developed transmissions – a  6-speed manual and all-new CVT with G-Shift Control. The 1.5L DOHC 4-cylinder engine with i-VTEC+VTC valve and timing control features direct fuel injection, reduced weight and friction, increased compression ratio, and other changes to deliver an 11 percent increase in peak horsepower to 1303, and a 7.5 percent increase in peak torque to 114 lb.-ft4. The 6MT is an all-new design, with closer ratios to aid performance and a wider overall ratio range to improve fuel efficiency. The newly-developed CVT enhances engine responsiveness by providing quicker and smoother acceleration while improving fuel efficiency with a wider ratio range and reduced internal friction. With the combination of the new engine and transmissions, the Fit has an EPA fuel-economy rating of 29/37/32 (city/highway/combined) for the manual transmission, 33/41/36 for the LX trim with CVT and 32/38/35 for the EX and EX-L trim with CVT. As for styling, a news release from Honda says," The new Fit sports a fresh and dynamic exterior design with slimmer headlights that integrate into a solid grille design and an aggressive lower intake. Chiseled sides emphasize the wheels and the dynamically tapered roofline that terminates in a color-matched spoiler. Eight colors, including several new and vibrant options, accentuate the fresh exterior styling." The release adds, "Inside, the increased interior room and visibility create a sense of airy spaciousness, which is complemented by upgraded, soft-touch materials that raise the feeling of quality. The rich and sophisticated black with silver accented design of the interior surfaces and controls, and blue backlit instrument dials are stylish and functional. The available Display Audio touchscreen interface and first-ever leather seating (EX-L models) further increase the premium feel of this new Fit." The 2015 Fit will keep you busy perusing the standard equipment list because there are so many items on it---and the same thing goes for optional equipment. Shopping for the Fit now is easier because it uses  the familiar Honda set of designations that the company's other models--such as  LX, EX, and EX-L trims, each providing you with a bit more equipment than the model that slots below it. New standard features on all Fit models include auto on-off headlights, LED brake lights, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® and a center storage console with armrest. Items such as Smart Entry Push Button Start, a one-touch operated moonroof, 7-inch touchscreen Display Audio with next-generation HondaLink and heated leather seats are among the upgrades available for the first time in Fit. The Fit also features an amazingly long list of standard safety features. That list includes Vehicle Stability AssistTM (VSA®) with traction control, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, and Honda's next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. The new Fit targets the highest available crash-safety ratings: a five-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and a TOP SAFETY PICK rating from the (IIHS). Standard drive-assistive features on all trims include a multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines and expanded view driver's mirror. The Honda LaneWatch™ display is standard on EX and above trims. The Automobile Journal staff thinks  that the Fit's greatest attribute, other than space and flexibility, is the sparkling performance of the engine.  It really keeps things moving quite a bit, making the car really feel far sportier and faster than any other of its competitors.  It's great fun tearing around cornering because the car steers so well, and the first rate suspension system keeps all four tires planted firmly on the pavement. Altogether, we think you would have considerable difficulty trying to find another subcompact that offers quite as much as Honda's new Fit --interior room, seating flexibility; upscale appearance inside and out.

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