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2015 Honda Fit: Full Details From 2014 Detroit Auto Show Page 2

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2015 Honda Fit launch at 2014 Detroit Auto Show

2015 Honda Fit launch at 2014 Detroit Auto Show

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The airy cabin features more soft-touch surfaces and premium interior materials for a more refined feel than the hard plastic surfaces of earlier Fits. The all-new dashboard has a cockpit feel, with a tiered instrument cluster and blue-faced instruments.

2015 Honda Fit launch at 2014 Detroit Auto Show

2015 Honda Fit launch at 2014 Detroit Auto Show

Enlarge Photo

Large knobs on the center stack for temperature, fan speed, and vent control make the heating and ventilation system easy to understand, and a pair of cup holders sits just ahead of the shift lever--with bottle holders in each door bin too.

The single engine choice is a 130-horsepower 1.5-liter four-cylinder unit that produces 114 lb-ft of torque, a boost of 13 hp over the previous Fit. It's part of Honda's new "Earth Dreams" line of direct-injected and more efficient engines.

A new six-speed manual gearbox is standard, with a new continually variable transmission (CVT) serving as the automatic option, including available paddle shifters for more driver control.

Honda projects that the Fit equipped with the CVT will have EPA fuel-economy ratings of 36 mpg combined (33 mpg city, 41 mpg highway), the highest of any subcompact with a standard engine and automatic transmission. The company hasn't released predicted ratings for the six-speed manual version.

2015 Honda Fit launch at 2014 Detroit Auto Show

2015 Honda Fit launch at 2014 Detroit Auto Show

Enlarge Photo

Handling and roadholding is improved, Honda says, by a more rigid body shell, the longer wheelbase, and revised suspension geometry--including new rear dampers--that also reduces in-cabin noise and smooths the ride. The Fit has always been on the sportier side of the subcompact spectrum, and while we haven't yet driven the car, the 2015 model seems to have a good chance of retaining the maneuverable and fun-to-drive character of earlier Fits.

ALSO SEE: 2014 Detroit Auto Show: Audi Allroad Shooting Brake Full Details

The 2015 Honda Fit is expected to earn top safety scores from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), according to Honda. While the new body structure is 57 pounds lighter than that of the last Fit, it uses more high-strength steel than ever before. In particular, Honda says, the new Fit is expected to earn the top rating of Good in all IIHS tests including the tough new small-overlap barrier test, leading it to be designated an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2015.

2015 Honda Fit launch at 2014 Detroit Auto Show

2015 Honda Fit launch at 2014 Detroit Auto Show

Enlarge Photo

Every new Fit will be fitted with a rear-view camera and Bluetooth connectivity as standard equipment. Options include heated front seats and side mirrors, pushbutton start with smart entry, a moonroof, and Honda's well-received LaneWatch display showing any vehicles in the car's blind spot. Also offered is a 7-inch touchscreen display audio system, with smartphone connectivity via the HondaLink feature. Leather seats are offered as an option in the Fit for the first time this year as well.

The 2015 Honda Fit will be built in a new plant in Mexico; production starts in February 2015, and the first cars should reach dealers in the spring. The underpinnings of the new Fit will also be used for a new subcompact crossover utility vehicle to be built at the same plant. Honda launched that vehicle in Japan late in 2013 as the Vezel, although it's expected to get a new name for the North American market. The company is also expected to add a four-door sedan model of the Fit later within a year or two.

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