A fresh Fit for 2018 — Still king of the subcompacts

By Jim Prueter

(April 12, 2018) For 2018, Honda’s excellent subcompact hatchback, the third-generation five-door subcompact Fit, undergoes a substantial mid-cycle freshening, including the addition of a new Sport trim tested here.

It slots between the existing base LX trim and up-market EX trim level. Regardless of trim level, all Fit models get an updated infotainment system, and greater availability of Honda’s Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver assistive technologies.

The 2018 Fit also features updated and sportier styling, with a new front and rear fascia, a new two-piece chrome and piano black grille, and new wheel finishes. In addition to the existing exterior color palette there are two new options: Helios Yellow and Orange Fury.

The new Sport model takes on an even more aggressive and sporty look with what Honda calls “aero form” body kit at the front, sides, and rear, and gloss black 16-inch wheels, a chrome exhaust tip and Sport badging.

The Sport trim level is in name only, with cosmetic touches, but no special suspension setup or engine/transmission modifications. However, the Honda Factory Performance division does offer, for purchase, a revised suspension setup and additional aerodynamic body part add ons.

The Sport interior distinguishes itself with a black fabric with a cross hatch pattern and red/orange stitching on the seats, armrest, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. And for the first time, you can get leather seating in a Fit.

The Sport model also steps up with a seven-inch touchscreen featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto infotainment. But we wish Honda would include an audio volume knob with the new infotainment system.

Large windows surround the Fit for excellent driver visibility. The instrument panel sits far forward for considerable depth and there’s no shortage of hard plastic trim. Still, the execution is simple, functional and reasonably attractive for a relatively inexpensive subcompact car.

But the most surprising and amazing thing about the Honda Fit is the incredible amount of room inside for both front and rear seat passengers as well as cargo. That’s thanks to its flexible four-mode seating configuration that allows the second-row 60/40 split seats to fold flat to yield an ample 53 cubic feet of cargo space. There’s 17 cubic feet behind the seats when in the upright position.

Second-row seat bottom cushions flip up and lock in place, and the front passenger seatback reclines fully, so longer items like a ladder or surfboard can be carried.

Regardless of trim level, power originates from a 1.5-liter 130-horsepower four-cylinder engine. A smooth shifting six-speed manual transmission is standard. When the optional CVT automatic transmission is selected, engine horsepower drops to 128.

On the road, the engine feels lively without the usual strain upon acceleration or passing that we noticed on other subcompact vehicles. Still, we would appreciate a bit more horsepower; it takes about 10 seconds to reach 60 mph from a standstill.

The Fit is easy to drive, light, precise with smooth shifts and quick steering. But the cabin gets quite noisy as the engine revs and we reach highway speeds. The ride and handling has been improved for 2018, due to retuned suspension dampening, a more rigid steering system and additional body reinforcements.  The results are a mostly smooth ride with some noticeable body roll on curves and corners.

For 2018, Honda’s suite of advanced safety and driver assist features known as Honda Sensing is now available on the base LX and Sport trim levels but only with the optional CVT transmission. It’s standard on all EX and EX-L trims. The Honda Sensing suite includes: Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking System incorporating Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System and Road Departure Mitigation incorporating Lane Departure Warning.

While we applaud Honda for the addition of Honda Sensing we think it should be made standard across all trim and transmission levels.

The 2018 Honda Fit Sport is indeed a fresher fit and will comfortably and affordably “fit” many lifestyles. It delivers excellent versatility and practicality, and with the addition of the Sport trim level, added fun behind the wheel.

Vital Stats
Base Price: $17,080 - $21,410
Price as Tested: $18,390
Powertrain: 1.5-Liter 130 hp 4-cylinder with 6-speed manual transmission
Fuel Economy: 29-Mpg City – 36 MPG-Highway
Seating: 5

Crash Test Results: Overall 5-Star – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and highest possible “Good” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in four out of the six measured areas with the two others not yet rated.

Competes With:
Ford fiesta
Hyundai Accent
Kia Rio
Nissan Versa
Toyota Yaris

Fab Features
Spacious, versatile interior and cargo area
Impressive amount tech and available safety features
Excellent resale value and extremely reliability