REVIEW | Smooth-riding 2021 Honda Fit is a champion of practicality
With its new-generation car launched in SA, Honda broke with the Jazz name and adopted the global Fit nameplate.
Aside from the new guppy-eyed frontal styling which is quite attractive if you gaze longer, I’ve not come across a more clever way of using 2,530mm of wheelbase to create a smart loading system at this end of the market.
The rear seats are foldable in many ways. First up is the normal boot space with all seats in place. It can swallow medium-sized luggage. Then there’s utility mode where the rear bench can be individually flattened to fit a rear passenger plus long items. Tall mode allows the seat squabs to be lifted to accommodate taller items behind the front seats.
Thanks to its door sills which are quite low to the ground you won't need to lift your leg too high on entry or exit. Once seated on the comfy driver’s pew, which adjusts in all directions, you are struck by the capacious interior and great visibility to spot what’s coming at you. The glasshouse is designed for an airy ambience through slim A and B pillars that also help when parking.
The interior is finished with typical Honda quality materials with a standard of assembly that is in the top echelon of its class. You also get lots of storage spaces for your oddments and USB ports for streaming and charging front and back.
Amenities are also plentiful in the Honda Fit 1.5 Executive and it comes with dual-side climate control, multifunction steering wheel, heated leather seats, a rear parking camera, cruise control and more.
The ride quality is also a revelation. If most of your travels are city-side then you’ll love how easily it drives and steers. Longer highway journeys can also be completed without fuss in a relaxed ambience supplemented by superior damping, chassis solidity and marked noise cancellation efforts.
The 1.5l four cylinder petrol engine has an adequate 89kW and 145Nm on tap, putting it on par with most segment peers, while it consumed 7.4l/100km during its stay. The CVT transmission it’s hooked up to is impressively refined. You’ll barely be aware of the gearbox step changes except only when you slot in Sport mode where the head-bobbing starts to register.
Ultimately the Fit is not engineered as a fun hatch but there’s no denying the modicum of dynamism in its steering and handling composure when you are in a hurry.
Its Honda Jazz predecessor hardly cracked the list of top sellers in this market and the new Honda Fit range starts R100,000 dearer than SA’s best-selling hatchback, the VW Polo Vivo.
Though this top-tier 1.5 Executive model is more expensive than many of its segment peers with the toys to make ownership experience enjoyable through keyless entry, auto on/off LED lights, and more, perhaps closer attention should be paid to the entry-level Honda Fit 1.5 Comfort.
The Comfort hasn't some of mentioned amenities but it's equipped with similar mechanicals, safety and the fabulous seating system, while undercutting the entry model VW Polo hatch on price.
In either guise, the new Honda Fit’s winning practicality and robust build quality makes it one of the most sensible ranges to buy in 2021.
Type: Four-cylinder petrol
Type: Continuously variable transmission (CVT)
Type: Front-wheel drive
Top speed: 190km/h
Fuel Consumption: 5.5l/100km (claimed), 7.4l (as tested)
Bluetooth, auto on/off and adaptive headlamps, cruise control, HD instrument display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless entry, rear park distance control, USB ports, fast charger, multifunction steering wheel controls, leather upholstery, ABS, six airbags
Warranty: Five years/200,000km
Maintenance plan: Four years/60,000km
Lease*: R8,627 per month
* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit
Honda Fit 1.5 Executive
Space, refinement, styling
The design may be polarising
A hatch with amazing practicality for its size
****Value For Money
Citroën C3 1.2 Shine, 81kW/205Nm — R334,900
Hyundai i20 1.0T Fluid auto, 90kW/172Nm — R358,900
Kia Rio 1.4 Tec auto, 73kW/135Nm — R364,995
Mazda2 1.5 Hazumi, 85kW/148Nm — R368,900
Volkswagen Polo hatch 1.0TSI Highline auto, 85kW/200Nm — R376,700
Opel Corsa 1.2T Elegance, 96kW/230Nm — R386,900
Ford Fiesta 1.0T Titanium auto, 92kW/170Nm — R391,200
Peugeot 208 1.2 GT, 96kW/230Nm — R424,900