DETROIT–Honda unveiled the redesigned 2015 Fit subcompact hatchback at the Detroit Auto Show; it’s the first significant revision since the current model launched in 2009. This time around, the Fit features plenty of in-car tech that’s pretty surprising for a sub-$20K car—including a system that helps you change lanes.
The midrange Honda Fit EX comes with a 7-inch capacitive touch screen and LaneWatch, a system that debuted with the 2014 Civic. Whenever you depress the right turn signal, a camera mounted underneath the passenger side mirror will activate and display up to four lanes worth of a real-time images on the center-mounted display. The idea is to help you avoid crashing into a car, bicycle, or other moving vehicle in the car’s blind spot.
“It actually gives you long distance lines of how far away cars are,” said Jessica Fini, assistant PR manager for Honda, in an interview with PCMag. “It’s great if you’re in a city and there could be a cyclist coming up [on the right side].”
What’s significant here is that the Honda Fit is the automaker’s least expensive car; you have to really equip it to push it past $20,000. Lane assistance systems are generally reserved for luxury cars, and have only begun appearing in more mainstream vehicles from Ford and Honda relatively recently. And it shows that Ford won’t have a monopoly on driver assist technologies even at the economy car level.
Also significant: For $60 you can run the smartphone-powered, HDMI-based HondaLink, which leverages your iPhone’s iOS-based navigation capabilities via tethering and displays them on the large screen in the Honda Fit—a killer solution for anyone who doesn’t want to spend over $1,000 on a built-in navigation system (which you can still get if you want it). In addition, you can run or stream location-based services like searching for restaurants and lodging, bringing up weather information, or viewing your phone’s text messages.
“EX models and above have [these features],” Fini said. “The EX is right in the middle of the range, not the top-of-the-line, right in that bread-and-butter sweet spot, so it’s very accessible for many consumers to get.”
In addition, all 2015 Honda Fit trim levels have standard Bluetooth, a USB input, and a rear camera with three viewing modes: Wide, Normal, and Top-Down. Fini said that right now the Display Audio features only work with the iPhone 5, 5s, and 5c, but when the next-generation MirrorLink system comes out, they’re looking toward Android compatibility as per the recently announced alliance with Google.
Honda fans will notice that the company moved away from the Base and Sport trim levels, back to its more familiar LX, EX, and EX-L versions—the latter meaning the Fit will be available with leather seats for the first time as well.
Louisville Kentucky Honda Dealer, Bob Montgomery Honda, http://www.bobmontgomeryhonda.com