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Friday, May 18, 2018

2019 Honda Fit Review

2019 Honda Fit Review
The 2019 Honda Fit is the spiritual successor to what put Honda on the map: it's small, versatile, and fuel efficient.

The 2019 Honda Fit is a no-frills, dependable compact hatchback for first-time or budget buyers.


That doesn’t mean cheap: Honda has bestowed the Fit with flexible seating, great gas mileage, a lively ride, and an optional package of safety technology that defies its low price tag.

With this in mind, we’ve rated the 2019 Honda fit at 5.8 out of 10. Its materials are fitting for a car of its $17,085 entry price.

The Fit rides tall for such a small vehicle and looks something like a shrunken minivan. The design works though, and has aged well through the years and generations. The 2019 Fit is the same as last year offered in four trims: LX, Sport, EX, and EX-L. Budget buyers will be able to get into a Fit for just over $17,000, with the range topping out around $20,000.

All 2019 Fit models come equipped with Honda’s plucky 1.5-liter inline-4 and are paired with either a 6-speed manual or an optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with sport mode and paddle shifters. These combos are good to propel the Fit 0-60 mph in around 10 seconds. Like last year, the 2019 Fit is rated at around 33 mpg combined depending on wheel and transmission choices.

Now in its third generation, the Fit isn’t quite as nimble as previous versions but manages to offer up some fun weaving through traffic. The suspension is soft enough to soak up quite a bit of rough road.

While not particularly noteworthy, the Fit’s seats are where things get interesting. Surrounded by a deceptively vast interior with plenty of head room, the Fit’s rear seats can fold and recline, opening up a tall cargo space behind the front seats. When folded all the way down, the Fit is large enough inside to carry a couple of mountain bikes.

The Fit scored reasonably well on crash tests including mostly “Good” scores from the IIHS, although its headlights were rated “Poor.” Honda has made its active safety tech, Honda Sensing, available in all trim models, which offers forward collision warning, lane departure alerts, and other clever tech to keep passengers safe.

Styling
The 2019 Fit’s design is simple and clean but won’t be winning innovative styling awards.

The Fit’s lines and shape work well to disguise its tall profile, but the design is inoffensive at best. Noting this, we’ve rated the Fit a 5 out of 10 for styling. 

The pint-sized minivan shape works to hide some of the car’s diminutive height and length. With a sweeping shape from the front bumper to the roofline, the Fit appears longer than it is. These lines serve to increase front and side visibility, though some drivers may find that the large C-pillars block some of the rear viewing angles.

LX-trimmed models get 15-inch wheels, while Sport models get blacked-out 16-inchers that look downright muscular on such a small car. EX and EX-L models get 16-inch alloys as well.

The Fit is a simple, clean affair around back, with a single chrome accent under the rear window and large tail lights that extend up the sides.

Inside, the Fit can feel a bit busy, especially with the large touchscreen for navigation and positioning of control knobs. The benefit of this design is that Honda has managed to pack in storage spaces in clever ways that don’t intrude on the rest of the cabin, with large door bins and space under the fold-up center armrest.

Performance
Despite some changes to the Fit’s sporty feel, it remains fun to drive and composed in most conditions.

Honda’s spunky 1.5-liter inline-4 gives the Fit plenty of power, but the latest generation feels less eager than previous versions. That zip has been traded for refinement and comfort, earning the 2019 Fit a 5 out of 10 for performance.

Where many manufacturers are offering their budget hatchbacks with the increasingly popular “hot” options, Honda has chosen a different route with the Fit. Even in Sport trim, which gets bigger wheels and exterior appearance upgrades, the Fit’s powertrain remains unchanged. With 130 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque, the Fit isn’t wanting for power, but it isn’t particularly fast. Especially with the optional continuously variable automatic transmission, the gearing serves to tame that power due to a slight mismatch in the engine’s power band and the transmission’s sweet spots. A 6-speed manual is standard and is precise with light shift action.

The latest Fit isn’t quite as responsive as previous versions but is still one of the better handling econoboxes available. The suspension is well-tuned to soak up most road imperfections, working as well as any small car on the market today.

Comfort & Quality
The Fit punches above its weight with a large, flexible cargo area, but cheaper materials and uncomfortable front seats are notable drawbacks.

The Fit’s biggest selling point for many buyers may be a repellant for others. With the low price of the Fit, interior finishes and comfort play second fiddle to cost reductions. Honda has managed its budget finishes and small size well though, adding storage and flexibility to increase the overall utility. We’ve rated the Fit a 6 out of 10 for comfort and quality as a result. 

The Fit is a rolling compromise, with all-out comfort being sacrificed in favor of utility. The front seats are thinly padded and aren’t as comfortable as the seats in the rear. Longer trips may become uncomfortable for people in the front passenger seat, as an oddly shaped footwell forces an awkward seating position.

Head and leg room are more than acceptable in the rear, thanks to the Fit’s tall roof. With large and cleverly-shaped door openings, entry and exit are a breeze for all passengers.
Space and cargo capacity are where the Fit shines. Dubbed “Magic Seats”, rear seats that flip up or fold completely down open up the rear cargo area to a surprising 52.7 cubic feet of storage space. The Fit’s ability to carry larger items may open it up to a category of buyers that other small hatches can’t manage.

The tiny Honda will surprise economy car buyers in other ways, with a well-insulated cabin and sound deadening to offer a quieter ride.

Safety
Reasonably priced active safety features keep the Honda Fit competitive among small hatchbacks.

Federal testers gave the 2019 Honda Fit good crash-safety scores and independent testers largely agree.

A five-star overall rating from NHTSA and reasonably priced active safety features propel the Fit to a 7 out of 10 on our safety scale. 

The IIHS hasn't yet performed its entire crash-test battery on the Fit. When they do, we'll update this space.

For now, the IIHS rates the Fit as mostly "Good" in all of its tests performed, including moderate front overlap (but not small front overlap), side impact, and rollover crash protection. The IIHS rated the optional automatic emergency braking system for the Fit as "Superior," its highest rating.

Advanced safety features such as adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic emergency braking are available on automatic-equipped LX and Sport versions for $1,000 more. The safety suite is standard on EX models and higher.

Outside of active safety features, the Honda Fit features a standard complement of airbags and stability control systems. Outward vision in the hatchback is generally good, thanks to its small package.

Features
The Fit is well-equipped in any trim, but the maxed out EX-L may be overkill for a budget car.

With active safety features now available to all trim levels, the Fit offers more value across the line than it did in previous generations. With a lackluster warranty and some options locked away at higher trims, we’ve rated the 2019 Fit a 5 out of 10. 

Base LX models come standard with a 6-speed manual, power windows and door locks, rearview camera, 5.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth audio, and USB connections. Honda’s Magic Seats are standard here, and Honda Sensing active safety tech is optional.

Added to the line last year, the Sport model brings attractive exterior styling mods and blacked out wheels, also opening up the tech package to include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Topping off the Fit’s trim packages, the EX-L brings heated leather seats, standard CVT with paddle shifters, and includes standard Honda Sensing and power moonroof from the EX model.

While the feature set of the EX-L is in line with many buyers’ expectations of other vehicles, it may be over the top for the budget-minded crowd that the Fit caters to.

Fuel Economy
The Honda Fit is a very efficient car and a must-drive for buyers looking for great gas mileage.

The 2019 Honda Fit will carry the model’s torch for excellent fuel economy. Rated at 33 mpg city, 40 highway, 36 combined, the 2019 Fit is rated 7 out of 10 for its dainty fuel consumption.

While many buyers will opt to leave in the standard 6-speed manual to keep costs down and bump up the fun factor, the Fit achieves its best fuel economy when paired with the CVT option.

Higher trim levels with larger wheels are rated at a slightly less but still great 31/36/33 mpg.

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