EXCITING H DESIGN!!! EXCITING H DESIGN!!!
If you were part of the Japanese media when the new Fit was first shown in September, this is the mantra given as Honda’s new design philosophy. EXCITING H DESIGN must mean squishing a Honda Civic, making it taller, and giving it a different grille, because it doesn’t look particularly exciting.
If there is one car in Honda’s lineup that the automotive press falls in love with time and time again, it’s the Fit. It’s aerodynamic nose, triangular headlamps, and clever packaging always made it a favourite in our hearts and minds. It also came from a time when Honda was a bit more enthusiast-oriented but delivered practicality by the tonne at the same time. The Honda of today is more focused on rehashing its failed Earth Dreams motto from Formula 1.
One glance at this new hatchback will tell you which direction it’s heading. The 2015 Fit is almost identical in proportion to Nissan’s newest B-segment hatchback, the Versa Note. Both cars were designed in Japan mainly for the Japanese market. In fact, both were on sale in Japan long before we could get our hands on them in North America.
Gone are the signature triangular lights for those resembling those of its big brother Civic, albeit with a slight change of shape to match the narrower body. And while some may call this new design “bolder” than the outgoing shape, it’s definitely derivative of everything else in Honda’s lineup (though not nearly as bad as Acura’s design laziness). While the current Fit is a unique gem at the bottom of the range, this newest iteration plans to join the pack through mimicry.
Fit still features a tall greenhouse but its silhouette has changed to be more aero friendly. Instead of being a sharp-angled arrow through the air, Honda has given the subcompact a more rounded shape.
Also gone are the relatively flat sides of the Fit in favour of deeply cut body creases swooshing through the metal. The top crease connects both door handles to the redesigned taillights at back while the bottom line attempts to give the Fit a sporty stance.
Around back, the Fit’s rear window has shrunk due to “beltline creep” with the rest being good news for the most part. A restyled rear bumper gives Fit an athletic appearance and new taillights have a shape than can only be described as Japanese calligraphy. Rear hatch doors also feature a bright chrome bar across the middle, splitting the rear glass and metal bodywork.
The interior has been significantly improved over the current Fit, which was more old than bad. All trims will get Bluetooth and back-up camera (in anticipation of new NHTSA rules requiring such devices). Upper trims will also receive “smart entry” with push-button start, heated mirrors, moonroof, Honda LaneWatch, and seven-inch display audio. For the first time, Fit will also be available with leather seating surfaces.
2015 Honda Fit. Click image to enlarge
Under the hood, Fit receives a brand new 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC four-cylinder engine producing 130 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque (13 hp and 8 lb-ft more than the outgoing model). Along with this new engine is a pair of new transmission options. Thankfully, Honda will retain a manual option in their subcompact, providing a new six-speed manual (the current Fit can be had with a five-speed). However, just like many other cars, the Fit loses its traditional autobox for a new continuously variable transmission such as the one in the Nissan Versa Note. The CVT’s only saving grace is it will get paddle shifters, hinting at a stepped CVT setup much like the new Corolla.
Honda anticipates the new Fit won’t just be frugal, but safe as well. With the new ACE body structure engineered for the subcompact, Honda expects to hit a home run on all IIHS tests and receive a five-Star NCAP score.
Fit will be produced for the first time in Honda’s Celaya, Mexico plant and should be available mid-2014. No pricing information has been announced but expect it to get a slight price drop, closer to the Nissan Versa.
Louisville Kentucky Honda Dealer, Bob Montgomery Honda, http://www.bobmontgomeryhonda.com