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Heels on Wheels: 2015 Honda Fit Review +VIDEO - The Auto Channel


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2015 Honda Fit

HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE FIT VEHICLE
The redesigned 2015 Honda Fit once again pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in cargo space, performance and style, and remains one of the most attractive choices in the hatchback segment. New technology and safety features are also a draw for the model year.

I drove a 2015 Honda Fit with the Earth Dreams Technology 130-horsepower 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine featuring i-VTEC technology and an improved a six-speed manual along with a newly developed automatic Continuously Variable Transmission with G-Shift Control. Available in three trim grades (LX, EX, and EX-L), my top-of-the-line Fit EX-L with Navigation came with the following standard features: leather-trimmed upholstery; heated front seats; upgraded six-speaker audio system with XM and HD Radio; seven-inch touchscreen with the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System and a rearview camera with LaneWatch; moonroof; Bluetooth connectivity; steering wheel mounted audio controls; USB and auxiliary jack fog lights; push-button start; and rear roofline spoiler. Total vehicle price as described came to $20,800.


2015 Honda Press Conference @ 2014 Detroit Auto Show

Some of the more noticeable changes for the 2015 are the all-new HondaLink Next Generation that streams media devices to the touchscreen display and a passenger volume space increase of 4.9 cubic feet. Main competitors include the Chevrolet Sonic, Volkswagen Golf, Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Fit’s body structure is more rigid and lighter, with slimmer headlights and a tapered roofline. Critics complain there isn’t a sedan version, which is true, but the crafty design of the Fit mimics the lines of the Civic compact for vehicle that just looks broader. Interior praise goes to the updated technology and the space: the reconfigurable second-row Magic Seat folds flat for 52.7 cubic feet; and the right-side seats can be pushed down to accommodate items as long as seven-feet nine-inches. Plus, these second-row seats can fold up and out of the way to accommodate tall and upright objects. The rearview camera is also capable casting a screen image as to what’s behind you before you make a right turn. Second-row space isn’t ideal for three or longer travels, but is more than what the Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper offer.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives it ratings of “Good” in all categories omitting Small Overlap Front which earned an “Acceptable.” You can view actual crash-test results of the Fit on their website. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet rated the vehicle. Safety highlights on the Honda Fit include: Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure; Standard anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD); Dual-stage multiple-threshold front airbags; Dual front-side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); and Side-curtain airbags.

Cost Issues: The base Fit starts at $15,525 and tops out at $20,800 – for what you get in terms of functional space and technology, it’s a great deal. The Fiat 500 base starts at $16,445 and the Mini Cooper Hardtop at $20,700.

Activity & Performance Ability: Now with an eleven percent increase in horsepower, the Fit possesses punchier traits and a more confident road feel – it no longer shows the strain it had during hard acceleration with the previous the five-speed automatic transmission. Handling remains a welcomed surprise for the small size and it is also quieter on the road, all thanks to new body structure.

The Green Concern: Fuel economy numbers for the Fit are 25-city and 38-highway for a combined 35 miles-per-gallon. This is quite an accomplishment from the previous powertrain figures of 27 miles-per-gallon city and 33 highway. The Fit EV is powered by a 20 kWh lithium-ion battery and a 92 kilowatt coaxial electric motor – the same high-density electric motor used in the FCX Clarity – and gets a 123 city-mile per charge.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
The bold functionality and sporty dynamics of the 2015 Honda Fit will draw you in, along with a great price and excellent fuel economy. The hatchback might not have the European appeal of its contenders, but it sure has unrivaled value.

©2014 Katrina Ramser