Honda Fit the agile and comfy hatch has low MSRPs, high MPGs

2017, Honda, Fit

The 2017 Honda Fit, a 5-door subcompact hatchback with surprisingly excellent road manners and a surprisingly spacious passenger compartment stuffed with comfortable seats and favored standard features, comes with low price points and high fuel economy scores.

Fit for 2017 splits into three trims (LX, EX, EX-L) with MSRP figures stretching from $16,090 to $21,365.

Fit's front-wheel-drive powertrain consists of a thrifty 4-cylinder engine linked to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a fuel-saving CVT (continuously variable transmission) with G-Shift Control sports mode.

The dual-cam 1.5-liter inline-4 plant is composed of aluminum and carries a drive-by-wire throttle, direct fuel injection and Honda's i-VTEC (variable valve timing and lift electronic control) valvetrain technology. It makes 130 hp at 6600 rpm plus torque of 114 lb-ft at 4600 rpm.

Fit's small stature and a curb weight below 2600 pounds factor into the car's high fuel economy scores. Fit rigged with a manual transmission earns fuel burn scores of 29 mpg for city driving and 36 mpg on a highway. With the CVT aboard, Fit hits 33/40 mpg city/highway.

With a roof topping out at only five feet high and the pint-size body only 13 feet long, little Fit resembles a sleek bullet dominated by a quick-sloped windshield and the Honda signature narrow grille with flanking slim headlamp clusters mounted on front corners.

On each side, the vertical lines tip slightly inward as sharp corners fade into rounded edges to disguise an otherwise boxy form. Flanks carry undulating ripples coursing front to rear with flares around wheel wells filled by tire rubber.

The roofline ends abruptly at a color-matched spoiler, then the aft liftgate drops down to the back bumper, its bottom edge aligning with the floor of a rear cargo bay. And there are LED taillamps mounted midway up on rear corners and connected by a flashy chrome bar streaking along the bottom edge of the liftgate window.

Fit's passenger compartment seems roomy inside despite overall dimensions which tie Fit to the smallest category of all cars. The seating plan shows twin bolstered sports buckets in front of a bench with 60/40 seatback split.

Honda calls the bench a "Magic Seat" as seatbacks dive down and bottom sections flip up to varying configurations for passengers and cargo. The rear seatbacks can fold away to form a virtually flat cargo floor, or the front seats will recline flush with rear seat bottoms to make a long and flat cushioned area like a bed.

The cabin scores class-leading passenger volume of 95.7 cubic feet with cargo room comprising 16.6 cubic feet with rear seatbacks raised or 52.7 cubic feet with seatbacks down. Legroom is generous -- 39.5 inches in front and 37.5 inches in back.

A clean and efficient layout for the cockpit sets the instrument panel below an arched bonnet. Circular analog devices in white-on-black backlit fields include a large speedometer and tachometer.

For Fit's 2017 editions, Honda increases the standard features on all trim grades to include auto on-off headlights, LED brake lights, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and a front seat center console with armrest and storage bin.

Standard electronic safety equipment ranges from side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor to vehicle stability assist with traction control, electronic brake distribution and brake assist.

The price-leader Fit LX edition -- priced at $16,090 with a manual transmission -- rolls on 15-inch steel wheels and comes with air conditioning. Power tabs for windows and door locks, a keyless entry device, rearview camera, USB port, a tilting/telescoping steering wheel with audio/phone/cruise controls tabs, height-adjustable driver's seat plus a 4-speaker audio kit with AM/FM/CD and 5-inch color LCD.

Add a CVT shifter, and the bottom line bumps to $16,890.

Fit EX edition with a manual transmission or CVT lists for $18,000. This version gains 16-inch alloy wheels along with a moonroof, right-side LaneWatch camera system, upgraded infotainment gear with a 7-inch LCD and paddle shifters for the CVT.

Fit EX-L edition at $20,365 comes with leather upholstery, heated front seats, and the CVT. Then add a navigation system to cap the series at $21,365.

By Bob Plunkett

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Images of the 2017, Honda Fit

2017 Honda Fit side view
2017 Honda Fit side view
2017 Honda Fit front row dash view
2017 Honda Fit front row dash view
2017 Honda Fit cargo view
2017 Honda Fit cargo view
2017 Honda Fit instrument cluster
2017 Honda Fit instrument cluster