If you're looking for a small hatchback that delivers high gas mileage and almost unparalleled flexibility, the all-new 2015 Honda Fit should probably be at the top of your list.
The new Fit has become a more important car for Honda now that it's built in Mexico, and that's reflected in many of the changes Honda has made to the third generation of its subcompact hatchback.
Not only does an all-new powertrain deliver much higher EPA-rated gas mileage, but trim levels have been aligned to those in other Honda models and the company proudly touts $1,000 to $1,800 worth of new standard equipment even as prices have risen only $100 to $225.
DON'T MISS: 2015 Honda Fit - full review
2015 Honda Fit, test drive around Ann Arbor, Michigan, Apr 2014Enlarge Photo
The new 2015 Fit hatchback isn't perfect, but it remains among the best subcompacts on the market--and we suspect it'll do quite well against the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Nissan Versa, and Toyota Yaris.
Disguising the box
For what is essentially a tall, stubby, one-box vehicle with a windshield and hood raked at almost the same angle, Honda has done a very good job at minimizing the new Fit's slab-sided shape.
A deep crease moving rearward from the front door breaks up the height and leads into stylish taillights with LED lamps, and overall, we found the Fit's exterior design to be attractive and distinctive.
Dimensionally, the new Fit has a wheelbase that's 1.2 inches longer even though its overall length has shrunk by 1.6 inches. A reorganized cabin offers almost 5 inches more rear legroom, and about 5 cubic feet more volume overall.
2015 Honda Fit - First DriveEnlarge Photo
The result is a rear seat with oodles of legroom, approaching that of the large Nissan Versa Note. We noted that the front passenger seat should have had 1 to 2 inches more rearward travel, though, with a rider's left knee just an inch and a half from the dash even with that seat pushed back as far as it would go.
Interior styling is a little busy, though recognizably Honda in style. Reflecting its attention to cost, the surfaces are mostly hard plastic, though good-looking nonetheless, and the "black" color (offset by matte silver accents) is actually a dark charcoal grey, which cuts the grimness factor.
The new Fit is admirably quiet until you floor the accelerator. In fact, it's so quiet at idle that we had to ask whether it was fitted with a start-stop system that had switched off the engine (it's not).
New engine, CVT
The powertrain of the test car we drove for 80 miles yesterday is a 130-horsepower direct-injected 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an all-new continuously variable transmission (CVT) that replaces the five-speed automatic used in the previous 2013 Fit (there was no 2014 model year).
There's also a six-speed manual gearbox in the base model, replacing the previous five-speed manual, but we weren't able to get our hands on one of those to test it out.