Unmatched cargo room and cabin versatility; spacious backseat; fun to drive; excellent visibility; simple controls.
In recent years, your search for a subcompact car would have begun and ended with the Honda Fit. It has been efficient, fun to drive, astonishingly versatile and blessed with Honda's long-standing reputation for reliability. It also helped that its scant few competitors weren't worth considering unless a dealer gave you an offer you couldn't refuse, not to mention a free gym membership. Things have changed, though, and now the 2013 Honda Fit is now just one among a slew of thoroughly impressive subcompacts.
To make it a bit easier to make a choice in this now crowded market segment, let's look at why the Fit continues to be such a desirable little car. Its four-cylinder engine may not be the most fuel-efficient in the subcompact class, but it'll still save you plenty at the gas pump. This is also an enjoyable little car to drive, harking back to Honda (http://www.edmunds.com/honda/)'s early days when tiny, nimble hatchbacks were its calling card. This ability to be both fun and frugal is something everyone should be able to support.
Yet it's functionality that truly sets the Fit apart from the pack. Thanks to clever packaging, the Fit offers a perfectly flat load floor when the rear seats are folded down. The resulting 57 cubic feet of cargo space is more than that contained within some compact crossovers. And the backseat tricks don't end there. Its seat bottom flips up, leaving a flat, unencumbered space perfect for transporting a large dog or perhaps a flat-screen TV. Should you need it for actually carrying people, the Fit provides one of the most spacious, passenger-friendly cabins in the class.
So why is your decision difficult? Well, its many new competitors outdo the Fit in a number of different ways. The Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio offer a more comfortable ride on the road, stronger brakes, more efficient and/or powerful engines, and quieter, higher-quality interiors. The Fit also doesn't offer several of the comfort, convenience and technology features offered by these competitors. As a result, we suggest taking a look at all these excellent choices, although we should also clarify that the 2013 Honda Fit remains a reliable, fuel-efficient and tremendously versatile little hatchback.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Honda Fit is a subcompact, four-door hatchback available in two trim levels: Fit and Fit Sport.
The base Fit comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split backseat (folding seatback, flip-up seat bottom) and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The Fit Sport adds 16-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, a rear spoiler, sporty styling elements, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, transmission paddle shifters (automatic transmission), a driver armrest, floor mats and a six-speaker sound system. The only option available for the Sport is a navigation system, which includes a touchscreen interface, Bluetooth phone connectivity and voice controls.
Powertrains and Performance
Every 2013 Honda Fit is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 117 horsepower and 106 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a five-speed automatic is optional. The latter includes shift paddles on the steering wheel for manual control with the Fit Sport model.
In Edmunds performance testing, the Fit Sport with the manual went from zero to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds, which is quick for this class of car. With the automatic, that time drops to 11 seconds, which is below average.
EPA-estimated fuel economy is 29 mpg combined (27 city/33 highway) with the manual. The base Fit with the automatic returns 31 mpg combined (28/35), while the Fit Sport automatic returns 30 mpg combined (27/33).
Every 2013 Honda Fit comes standard with antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum), stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active head restraints. In Edmunds brake testing, the Fit came to a stop from 60 mph in a disappointing 131 feet -- about 10 feet longer than average.
In government crash testing, the Fit received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars in all frontal crash and side crash protection categories. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Fit the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. In the small-overlap frontal offset test, however, the Honda earned the lowest score of "Poor". In fairness, many subcompacts evaluated thus far using this stringent new test have performed similarly. The Fit's seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Fit's passenger cabin gets points for stylish design, though the quality of the materials is just so-so. Cars like the Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio have a more premium feel. Seating comfort is good all around, including a rear seat that can accommodate two adults with nary a complaint. Unfortunately, the lack of driver seat height adjustment means some drivers will struggle to get comfortable.
What really sets the Fit's interior apart, though, is the cleverly designed 60/40-split "Magic" rear seat. Flipping up the seat bottom creates a tall, narrow opening that accommodates taller items that would not otherwise fit within such a small car and also reveals a handy storage compartment. The Fit is also a great choice for those with large dogs -- Fido can easily lie across the floor. Fold both rear seatbacks down and you have a flat load floor with 57.3 cubic feet of cargo room, which is just as much as in several small crossovers. If that's not enough, the Fit's front seat also folds flat to allow you to squeeze in items nearly 8 feet long.
The 2013 Honda Fit's light weight, lively four-cylinder engine and responsive steering combine to make it an enjoyable car to drive. It can zip happily through traffic and possesses that wonderful nimble quality that has characterized small Hondas for so long. Manual-transmission-equipped models are the most entertaining, as they provide much quicker acceleration than automatic Fits.
Unfortunately, the Fit lacks the ride comfort and refinement of most competitors. The acoustic insulation added for 2012 has helped reduce wind, engine and tire noise, but this is still a rather loud car. It also feels very much like a lightweight subcompact when you are behind the wheel, especially amid larger vehicles on the highway. Many newer rivals feel more substantial at highway speeds.
Standard Equipment at time of original manufacture release.
Convenience & Comfort
Adjustable Steering Wheel
Driver Vanity Mirror
Front Reading Lamps
Leather Steering Wheel
Passenger Vanity Mirror
Power Door Locks
Steering Wheel Audio Controls
Variable Speed Intermittent Wipers
Drivetrain & Engine
Front Wheel Drive
Transmission w/Dual Shift Mode
Auxiliary Audio Input
Child Safety Locks
Daytime Running Lights
Driver Air Bag
Front Disc/Rear Drum Brakes
Front Head Air Bag
Front Side Air Bag
Passenger Air Bag
Passenger Air Bag Sensor
Rear Head Air Bag
Seat & Trim
Pass-Through Rear Seat
Rear Bench Seat
Tires & Wheels
Temporary Spare Tire
Tire Pressure Monitor
Featured Equipment below have been confirmed on vehicle today. Additional equipment not listed may still be available.
(10) cup holders
(4) cargo area tie down anchors
1.5L SOHC MPFI 16-valve i-VTEC I4 engine
12V pwr outlet -inc: 12V battery charging system w/indicator
2-speed intermittent windshield wipers
3-point seat belts in all seating positions -inc: front automatic tensioning system, front adjustable seat belt anchors
4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) w/electronic brake distribution (EBD)