Providing comfortable seating for five and configurable cargo space that seems to defy the laws of physics, the 2016 Honda Fit is an affordable and impressive hatchback. With excellent fuel-efficiency and rear legroom rivaling many midsize sedans, Honda’s Fit is a strong contender in the highly competitive subcompact segment.
Unchanged for the 2016 model year, the Honda Fit is a subcompact, five-door hatchback that offers seating for five and a comfortable, airy cabin. The Fit also has excellent cargo space that rivals what a few compact SUVs offer. A 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission come standard; those seeking automated convenience and better fuel economy can opt for a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The front-wheel-drive 2016 Honda Fit is available in LX, EX, and top-tier EX-L and EX-L with Navi trims.
The unique styling of Honda’s subcompact makes a strong case for the old saying, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ My initial knee-jerk reaction was to dismiss the Fit as a substance over style utilitarian vehicle, an appliance of sorts. After a few days of living with the subcompact, I began to appreciate Honda’s efforts to help the Fit standout in an automotive landscape plagued with sameness.
The simple smooth line that begins at the stubby, angled grille blends subtly into the hood, continues through the windshield and terminates at the very end of the rear body-colored spoiler.
A complex design in the bodywork, Honda has taken a deep aggressive ‘scoop’ from sheet metal on either side of the Fit. The melon baller drawn line runs deep from the rear bumper and fades into the front fender at an angle that perfectly coincides with the roofline.
While a traffic stop compliment of the Fit’s exterior may be a rare occurrence, the thoughtful design and clean execution deserve some respect.
The 16-inch alloy wheels that come standard on all but the base trim are attractive, the LED brake lights are modern, and the tilting moonroof on my top-trim EX-L with Navi review car does a nice job letting in a little sunshine.
Once you sit inside and close the door, the roomy interior of 2016 Honda Fit makes you quickly forget that you are driving, or riding in, a subcompact car. How Honda can squeeze this much interior space into a vehicle as small as the Fit defies logical explanation. I have reviewed compact crossovers that feel cramped compared with Honda’s lightweight. Compare the Fit’s 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first row with the much larger 2015 Lincoln MKC’s 53.1 cubic feet or the 2016 Mazda CX-3’s 44.5 cubic feet and you start to get the picture.
The interior is a nice blend of hard and soft-touch plastics. The seating is comfortable and roomy.
Honda has done a decent job of creating an interior that betrays the Fit’s price tag, although the hard plastic surfaces on the door panels will remind you that the Fit favors savings over luxury.
Discussing the 2016 Fit’s interior without spending a disproportionate amount of time on the spacious rear seats would be remiss. The Honda engineers moved the rear seats far enough to the rear of the vehicle that legroom is on par with the midsize Honda Accord (the Fit actually has the Accord by almost an inch). By including a spacious backseat normally unheard of in this segment, the Fit could qualify as one of the only, if not the only, subcompact cars that could be used as the primary vehicle for families with teenagers or adult children who refuse to leave the nest.
Like almost everything, the massive rear seat represents a compromise. Rear legroom robs cargo space when all the seats are in use. If there is any other issue, it is that for some reason Honda decided not to install rear-seat cup holders. Those points considered, the Fit still offers rear cargo space comparable to other vehicles in the segment. More importantly, unlike uncomfortable passengers, you will never have to worry about the groceries voicing concerns over the cramped space.
Powered by a 130-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, the 2016 Honda Fit provides adequate power and excellent fuel economy. When equipped with the standard six-speed manual, which offers 29 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, and 32 mpg combined, the 2016 Honda Fit is more fun to drive than you would expect.
The efficiency-minded optional CVT piles on a bit of the blah factor, but pays dividends in fuel efficiency. The base LX provides 33 mpg city, 41 mpg highway, and 36 mpg combined when equipped with the CVT. Numbers like that mean that your heart won’t be racing at the pump either.
Steering is direct and compliant thanks to the Fit’s electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion system. Braking is adequate, but is easily the weakest point in the Fit’s repertoire. Considering the amount of cargo you can physically load into the Fit, Honda would be wise to beef up the stopping power a bit.
If I have any real gripes with driving the Fit, it would be the engine drone of the CVT. It may only be a personal preference, but mashing the throttle to the floor only to be met with a continual 4,500 rpm from the engine is completely unsatisfying and a little annoying. Of course, the manual transmission takes care of all of this. Unfortunately, the six-speed manual isn’t available on the top-trim EX-L model.
The base Fit LX is equipped with a four-speaker audio system. Standard USB and Bluetooth connectivity allow for audio streaming and hands-free telephone calls. The base model’s 5-inch LCD screen may be simplistic by today’s standards, but it is a far cry from the multi-line digital readout LCDs found in many of the competitor’s base model cars.
The EX and EX-L trim levels are loaded with tech features. A 7-inch touch screen works as the information hub, controlling the 180-watt six-speaker infotainment system and the EX-L with Navi’s satellite-linked navigation system. The system also works with smartphones using the manufacturer’s proprietary HondaLink system.
Cruise control is standard on all trim levels, as is a security system with remote entry. EX and EX-L models add HDMI connectivity, push-button start and a nifty Honda LaneWatch system that uses a camera to project the passenger-side blind spot onto the infotainment system’s screen.
I was able to spend a week with Honda’s infotainment system and was impressed with the features and ease of use. The learning curve is rather gentle and the audio quality was excellent for a subcompact vehicle.
There was one point of contention that my family had with the system though, Honda’s virtual slider solution for changing the infotainment system’s volume is clunky. While the driver can use the steering wheel-mounted volume controls, passengers are forced to deal with the awkward virtual slider that only seems to work some of the time.
A five-star overall National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rating recipient, the 2016 Honda Fit is loaded with active and passive safety features.
Standard active safety equipment includes vehicle stability assist with traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution, and an active brake assist system that detects emergency braking and helps the vehicle come to a stop. Also included on all Fit models is a rearview camera, a tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.
The Fit’s standard passive safety equipment starts by building the car with an advanced compatibility engineering body structure. Front, front-side and side curtain air bags and an automatic seatbelt tensioner system work in concert to keep the driver and passengers safe in case of an accident.
The aforementioned LaneWatch system provides an extra set of eyes on the passenger’s side.
Nicely equipped, at least for the segment, the base LX trim starts at $15,790. The CVT equipped LX costs $16,580. Both prices represent great value, even in a highly competitive subcompact market.
My feature-packed top-trim 2016 Fit EX-L with Navi weighs in at $21,885, including an $820 destination and handling charge. While there are competitors that offer similar features and value, the Fit’s bigger-than-believable cabin with segment-busting rear legroom and cargo space set Honda’s hatchback apart.
The 2016 Honda Fit is an impressive vehicle. The thoughtful exterior styling and the fighting-above-it’s-weight-class interior, make for an enticing combination; especially if you like the way the Fit looks. If you are in the market for a subcompact, compact, or even compact crossover for that matter, you owe it to yourself to schedule a trip to the Honda dealer to check the Fit out in person.
After a week with Honda’s five-door, it wouldn’t come as too much of a surprise if Honda’s subcompact hatchback happened to be the perfect ‘fit’ for your needs.