Right now, the United States is in the grip of crossover fever — so much so that Ford has slashed its lineup to include just two traditional cars. That said, the 2018 Honda Fit Sport presents a compelling case for the subcompact. Since it came to North America back in 2006, the Fit has been a favorite of consumers and critics alike, which is testament to both its practicality and fun factor.
We recently spent a week with the third generation of Honda’s plucky little urban explorer, and found it to be a great example of why bigger isn’t always better.
2018 Honda Fit Sport Exterior
We’d describe the aesthetics of the Fit as a pointy box, or any angry Dustbuster — and we loved it. Sure, it’s tiny, but like a fearless bulldog puppy, it looks primed to punch above its weight. Every element of the design, from the elongated A-pillar, to the parallel body creases, to the side underbody spoilers, is aimed aggressively forward and highlights the sharply raked windshield.
Along with headlights that flow toward the center of the honeycomb grille, the Fit’s front clip features a pair of fog lights in trapezoidal surrounds, and everything is set off nicely by the red stripe on the chin spoiler, an understated bit of kit that works perfectly with the car’s character. Out back, there’s a complementing rear underbody spoiler, a single chrome exhaust, and another subtle spoiler at the roofline. We particularly liked how the tail lights are integrated into the sharp angles of the hips.
Our example was finished in Honda’s Lunar Silver paint, which presented a nice contrast to the 16-inch alloy wheels. If we had one visual improvement to make? We’d up the wheel size. There’s just a hair too much room in the wheel well for out taste, and we think filling it out would complete Fit’s roller-skate-on-steroids vibe.
2018 Honda Fit Sport Interior
The interior of the Honda Fit Sport is a great place to be, in that it feels straightforward and driver-focused without feeling austere. Basically, anyone who has ever driven a car will be comfortable in the cockpit from the moment they’re behind the wheel. There’s plenty of contrasting red stitching — a signature of Honda’s Sport models — on the chairs, arm rest, and shifter, and the red diamond over black pattern in the center of the seats looks great against the solid black bolsters.
The 7.0-inch touchscreen is integrated seamlessly into the dash, and buyers will likely love that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with HondaLink — the company’s native connectivity suite — all come standard. Overall, virtually everything about the cabin is muscle-memory intuitive, meaning basic functions like the climate controls and radio volume are handled by knobs and dials.
While you do have to adjust the radio station via the touchscreen, we realize we’re nitpicking by even calling that out on such a well-designed system of controls. In an era where electronic nannies are increasingly touted as the solution to distracted driving, Honda’s old-school attention to detail here should be commended.
Another system Honda should be commended for is the Fit’s Magic Seat. And the name Magic Seat is no hyperbole, because like the Perkins’ tent in the Goblet of Fire installment of the Harry Potter films, it allows the Fit to appear small on the outside — while being gigantic on the inside. How gigantic, you ask? Well, with both rear seats flat, there’s a massive 57 cubic feet of storage available. Also, the rear seats fold in a 60/40 split, and while that’s not unusual, what is unusual is that the lower portion of the seat can also fold up, creating a fantastic place to haul taller items.
One great everyday use for this creative space is hauling a bicycle, because while you still have to take the front wheel off, it beats the normal chore of wrestling your other ride in through the back hatch. Ask us how we know. All told, the phenomenal cargo capacity — along with an exceptionally low 23.9-inch rear lift-over height — makes the Fit a virtuoso of practicality.
2018 Honda Fit Sport Performance
Under the hood of the Fit, you’ll find Honda’s 1.5-liter inline-four with i-VTECH variable valve timing, which is good for 130 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. And while those numbers don’t sound earth shattering, it’s important to remember that at roughly 2,600 pounds, this little Honda is a lightweight, so it’s not like it takes a Demon’s worth of power to get it to hustle.
Fortunately, our test vehicle was fitted with a six-speed manual transmission, which made it an absolute hoot to drive around Seattle’s streets. Since peak ponies arrive at just 200 shy of the engine’s 6800 rpm redline, we felt it responsible to wind out the gears at every opportunity — and the little mill never missed a beat. The steering is also nicely weighted, and we found the suspension confidence-inspiring when we flung it into a corner hard. While nobody is going to argue that the Fit performs with the dexterity of sports car like the Mazda MX-5, the little hatch beautifully illustrates the adage about how it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.
While a CVT automatic is available, if you’ve got even a hint of enthusiast blood running through your veins, you’ll opt for the one with a third pedal. As far as fuel economy goes, our Fit was rated at a respectable 29 city, 36 highway, and 31 combined.*
2018 Honda Fit Sport Safety
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given the 2018 Honda Fit a five-star overall safety rating, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given it a safety score of “Good,” which is its highest.
Along with all the mandatory safety equipment — airbags, traction control, anti-lock brakes — we’d also note the Fit offers exceptional visibility, thanks in part to the small, strategically placed windows at all four corners. Because after all, the best accident is the one you see and avoid.
2018 Honda Fit Sport Overall
The total price for our Fit came in at $18,390,** and buyers will get a lot of car for the money. Or, as one of our colleagues more accurately put it, “a lot of Honda for the money.” It’s an important distinction, as Honda has built its reputation on selling practical, fun-to-drive vehicles that score somewhere between a hammer and the sunrise on the reliability scale.
It’s a recipe that’s made Honda one of the world’s most popular and esteemed carmakers, and it’s on fantastic display with the Fit Sport. Whether you’re a student headed off to college, an empty nester looking for a zippy city car, or somewhere in between, you’ll likely find the Fit fits you.
*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.
**Vehicle MSRP of $18,390 excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.