2017 Honda Fit EX-L with Navi new car reviews

Everyone who owns a fit will not hesitate to tell you how great their hatchback is. Our test car came with the CVT transmission and the navigation package, boosting the sticker price up to about $22,000. However, if you opt for a Fit in its most basic form, you could be looking at a $16,000 new car.

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David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

It’s a common question: Is the Honda Fit the modern incarnation of the old Civic Si? After all, the latest Fit only makes 130 horsepower but, then again, weighs just about 2500 pounds.

Well….

Personally I’m no stranger to the Civic Si. I owned an original torsion bar Civic Si in addition to EG- and EK-chassis cars–plus a pair of second-generation CRXs. My wife currently dailies a 2014 Civic Si. So, yeah, been around these cars a bit.

Despite my longing for the past, I’m not going to call the Fit an Si replacement–at least the EX-L with Navi model that we just sampled. It just lacks the snap of the Civic Si. Yeah, the numbers might line up, but the driving experience doesn’t exactly match. I realize that our test car is damed by its CVT transmission, but the rest of the car just doesn’t remind me of my old faithful. So I’d say judge the Fit on what it is: a modern tall wagon.

A big thing I liked about our loaded Fit: a knob for the radio volume. Yes, it sounds so trivial, but that’s the one thing that bugs me about our current Civic Si–no real knob for the radio. And I don’t care if that button is a safety issue that’s likely to punch a hole into my head. I like it.

I also like the Fit’s big doors. If you’re thinking that you need an SUV because they’re easy to get enter and exit, check out the Fit. The door openings are generous. (I realize that this isn’t a huge concern for most of us here, but for the general public, it’s kind of a thing.)

Those big doors are paired with flat seats–too flat for me, to be honest. I also found the A-pillars to be too wide.

Driving experience: With the Econ button pressed, the Fit feels kind of dodgy–just no life. And the CVT makes it feel even more lifeless. The shifter offers a sport mode, but that just makes things noisier. I was happiest with the Econ button off and the transmission in D. Then it offered a solid daily-driver experience. It’s still no Civic Si.

I wonder if the Fit’s toughest competition comes from across the sales floor. Our loaded, top-of-the-line Fit stickers at $21,520. For $21,500 I can get a new Civic Sport with a six-speed manual—$22,300 for one with a CVT might make a more fair comparison but I’d still totally go for the stick. The more I think back to that Civic Sport, the more I want to revisit it. What about a Civic Si? It’s a few buck more at $24,300–and, really, that’s the true heir to the Civic Si nameplate.

Getting back to the Fit, I’m most eager to drive two other versions: the base LX with a six-speed stick (MSRP $16,190) and the six-speed stick Fit Sport (MSRP $17,500). When dressed up too much, the Fit seems to run into the Civic. Keep the price below $20,000 and I become more interested. Maybe that’s where we’ll find our old-school Civic Si.

Ed Higginbotham Ed Higginbotham
Associate Editor

The Fit EX-L Seems expensive for what it is. I fully realize this is the highest trim, and the base model starts at about $16,000. But do you know what a Fit EX-L drives like? Answer: a $16,000 Fit.

Actually, I'd wager that the less expensive trim with a manual transmission presents itself better. This engine is rather buzzy and not powerful. That means a constant, loud 3000-rpm note leaving every intersection. As David noted, it doesn't strain as hard when "econ" mode is turned off, but that doesn't make it quiet by any means.

It does deliver good fuel economy. And that is the upside to that CVT. We saw about 38 mpg on the highway—1 mpg higher than the EPA estimate.

Looking at it from the outside, I think this is one of Honda's more attractive looking cars. It is definitely the most understated.

Inside, the seats are comfortable, the Apple CarPlay feature is awesome, and the cargo space is ample.

If it wasn't as loud and buzzy all the time I seriously might be attracted to it.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
Trackmouse
Trackmouse SuperDork
11/17/17 3:11 p.m.

A great car and a great engine. And now that engine management is a thing, you can turbo all the things!

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
11/18/17 6:03 a.m.

I have never met a vehicle that has a CVT that I like. I want to like it but I will never own a CVT or a stop/start system. Can't stand either one. And it's getting harder and harder to find a vehicle that doesn't have at least one of them.

Erich
Erich UltraDork
11/18/17 7:11 a.m.

2018 brings Honda Sensing to the Fit - lane watch, lane keeping, accident mitigation braking,  adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. If that tech is important to you, I think the Fit is a pretty low price of entry for all that.  Unfortunately the tech is available on  CVT-equipped Hondas only.

I agree the engine is too droning for me as I get older, but a new Fit makes a great first new car for younger folks. Safe, dependable, and spacious. 

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