Written by: Adil Arif
Photography by: Adil Arif
Being on this side of the globe we tend to always miss out on many of the exciting hot hatches available to our European and Japanese brethrens. In fact the term hot hatch doesn’t even exist in North America, rather smaller hatchbacks are being classified as sub-compact vehicles. Boring right? And it’s been this way for decades. In the more recent years however, with gas prices surging to record level highs, many North American’s are looking for smaller, more economical fuel-efficient vehicles. 2011 marked the fastest growing year for sub-compact sales out of any other category, with every major manufacturer conceiving one of their own. Does that mean we will finally see more hot hatches being offered and actually get to call them hot hatches? With automakers now ditching their big V8s, lowering displacement and adding forced induction to their engines, I think it’s safe to say that the answer is yes.
The new 2015 Honda Fit is just that. Classify it in whatever category you want, this little gem is the very definition of a hot hatch. It has so much character and a soul of a sports car. Sure it has shortcomings but the total package is there and is brilliant to drive. The Fit is truly a fantastic car, combining pretty much every aspect you would want in a vehicle - compact and aggressive, yet playfully styled and incredibly functional. Compared to the last generation Fit, it has a much sportier front end and bolder 16-inch chrome spoke wheels (on our tester). Park it next to the outgoing model and it will look like the little Fit has been hitting the gym.
The improvements continue on the inside. The wheelbase has been stretched 30mm and thanks to clever cabin wizardry, Honda was able to boost rear legroom by a whopping 127mm. Remarkable considering the car itself is 40mm shorter than its predecessor. A completely new dash, steering wheel and center console get a welcome upgrade, taking inspiration from the Honda Civic Si. A large 7-inch screen sits in the middle, which is command central for audio, phone and tech. Controls are also accessible via steering mounted controls with a dedicated voice control button. Using it wasn’t too intuitive and voice recognition wasn’t crisp, but when a female voice suddenly read out my text messages through the speakers, now that was a pleasant surprise. The Fit has the ability to read aloud texts and emails, which I thoroughly enjoyed and for someone on the go, it’s incredibly convenient. However one tech feature I wasn’t particularly fond of was the inability to access the phone book while the car was in motion. It's understandably a safety issue and Honda is promoting "keeping your eyes on the road", which I’m all for. But it’s frustrating when a passenger can’t control it either. Overall though the Fit has enough tech here to keep you connected with Bluetooth, USB and HDMI inputs.
The dash is clean, simple and changes hues from green to blue depending on how hard you press the gas, green being at optimal efficiency. Unfortunately there was no climate control on our tester - dials and buttons are very easy to access while driving. Now let’s talk about what the Fit is known for, the Magic seats. Ah... what an intuitive setup that we absolutely love. Headrests go down into the seats and all seats flip down, including the front passenger in case you need to transport lumber or elongated items. Flip the front passenger seat all the way back and the rear passenger can now stretch their legs out limo-style. With the seats up the Honda Fit has 470 litres of cargo space. With the rear seats down 1492 litres is available, giving it one of the largest cargo holds in its class. In addition to folding flat, the rear seats can be positioned in multiple directions allowing for various cargo and passenger configurations – or as Honda calls them “Tall, Utility, Long and Refresh Modes.”
Performance-wise, this has to be the most fun Fit yet. The most noticeable improvement is the engine. Honda took last generation’s 1.5-liter 4-cylinder, added direct injection and managed to squeeze output to a healthy 130 horsepower, up from 117. The torque curve has also been broadened and peak torque is up from 106 to 114 lb-ft. Our particular tester channeled said power with the all new CVT transmission, which does a superb job. In regular drive mode revs are kept low to maintain fuel efficiency. Switch to sport mode and revs are kept in its optimal power range and “artificial” shifts become very precise and quick. We love this Honda CVT but as with any CVT, the main drawback is the thrashy engine note (especially past 5000 RPM). To assist in alleviating the unpleasant noise, there are steering-mounted paddle shifters which let you manually choose the electronic shift points. Find yourself on a twisty road and you’ll begin to forget you’re in a car that can haul the entire family and then some. It’s turnkey fun with excellent engine response and good brake pedal feel. Accelerating up to highway speeds is effortless and the car really has no problem holding composure in the left lane. Steering feel is precise and offers enough feedback to make it feel like piloting a go-kart. Surprisingly, the Fit feels so balanced and nimble. It can change direction quickly with ease with the transmission holding gears all the way to its 6,800 RPM redline. It just feels so much more than what it is. The suspension is untypically firm and it feels like you’re in a Civic Si, the larger 16-inch wheels give for wider tires and greater stability at high speeds. All of this means that after spending an hour or two at the grocery store, you can take that on ramp with a confident slam on the pedal.
Added power, aggressive styling, a massive interior and go-kart like handling make this car a no-brainer for everyday commutes. Not to mention the huge savings at the pump, a full tank cost us only $30 and still managed to get us 450km to the tank. Very impressive considering that the majority of our driving was with a heavy foot. Our tester came up to $20,948 with all the bells and whistles. For another $3,000 you can have a proximity key, push start, navigation, leather interior and steering wheel and satellite radio. The base model starts at $16,148 and all trims come with only 1 engine option, the 1.5L 4 cylinder. As a Honda lover, the new Fit is a touch nostalgic, bringing back those old high-revving low-power memories that Hondas were known for in the 80’s, and being an 80’s baby, that’s just fine with me.
型号 Model: 2015 Honda Fit EX
顏色 Paint Type: Milano Red
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $16,148
試車售價 Price as Tested: $20,948
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2530
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,064 / 1,702 / 1,524
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,196
引擎 Engine: 1.5L, 16-Valve, Direct Injection, DOHC, i-VTEC, 4-cylinder
最大馬力 Horsepower: 130 hp @ 6,600 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 114 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm
波箱 Transmission: CVT
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, FWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: MacPherson strut
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Torsion beam
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: Vented disc
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: Drum brakes
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 7.3 / 6.1 / 6.8
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P185/55R16