The new 2015 Honda Fit will have a combined EPA gas mileage rating of 36 mpg, according to Honda officials.

That's the second-highest rating for any five-door subcompact hatchback, and notably improves on the current 2013 Fit's highest rating of 31 mpg.

MORE: 2015 Honda Fit - preview

In a company media preview held two days ago at Honda's global research and development center in Togichi, Japan, the rating was announced by the company's executive in charge of product and brand strategy for automobiles, Toshihiko Nonaka.

The 36-mpg Fit model will use a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and Honda's new continuously variable transmission (CVT), which replaces the five-speed automatic transmission offered on all Fits through the 2013 model year. (There will be no 2014 Fit.)

2015 Honda Fit Hybrid (Japanese model)

2015 Honda Fit Hybrid (Japanese model)

The U.S. market will not be receiving the Honda Fit Hybrid model that is already the company's best-selling Fit version in Japan, however.

With a price that's roughly $3,000 higher than the standard Fit, Honda doesn't feel the added fuel economy would justify the extra cost in the price-sensitive U.S. subcompact market.

The U.S. 2015 Fit also won't have the start-stop feature offered on Fits in other markets, to reduce acceleration lag, it appears.

Honda is proud that its new 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid received a 47-mpg combined rating, Nonaka said at the briefing.

The new 2015 Fit will combine "dynamic performance and innovative styling," he said, with best-in-class fuel economy.

Indeed, only one 2014 subcompact does better: the 2014 Ford Fiesta SFE model, fitted with a 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost turbocharged engine.

Some observers suggest a small asterisk may need to be appended to the three-cylinder Fiesta's rating, because real-world mileage achieved by drivers of Ford vehicles with larger EcoBoost engines has often been considerably lower than their EPA combined ratings.

One model of the 2014 Nissan Versa Note is rated at 35 mpg combined, using a 1.6-liter engine and Nissan's own CVT. The best 2014 Chevrolet Sonic and Toyota Yaris models come in at 33 mpg combined.

While the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage is rated at 40 mpg combined, it's considered a minicar--and is considerably slower than the 2015 Fit will be.

The new 2015 Fit for North America will be built in Mexico, in a plant modeled heavily on the Honda's advanced new Yorii assembly plant for the Fit in Japan.

Specifications, features, and pricing for the new 2015 Honda Fit will be issued closer to its on-sale date next spring, most likely in January.

Honda provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to bring you this first-person report.


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