2010 Honda Fit Review and Prices
Past and Future Reviews
The 2010 Honda Fit is the best car for you if you want a smartly priced gas-sipper that’s the poster child for “small-on-the-outside, big-on-the-inside.”
The 2010 Honda Fit is unchanged from the 2009 Fit. The 2009 model kicked off the second generation of this subcompact hatchback. Today’s Fit is strategically larger, more powerful, and, less froggy-looking, than the 2007-2008 original. And at an EPA rating of 28/35 mpg city/highway), you’d pretty much have to spring for a costlier hybrid to find a subcompact that’s uses less gas.
Should you buy a 2010 Honda Fit or wait for the 2011 Honda Fit? Little reason to wait. The 2011 Fit won’t change, and Honda has apparently tabled plans to offer a hybrid version, leaving gas-electric duties to the hybrid-only Honda Insight, a four-door hatchback similar in size to the Fit but more expensive. Buying a 2010 Fit insulates you from 2011 price increases. And if Fit undergoes a midcycle freshening for model-year 2012, getting a 2010 model reduces chances your car will look old before its time.
2010 Honda Fit Changes back to top
Styling: What you saw for 2009 is what you get for 2010. This five-passenger, four-door hatchback is an unorthodox-looking little car, with a bug-eyed face, petite wheels, and a long-tall roofline. Its styling is in the vein of a Japanese “city car.” Indeed, the design originates as a model Honda sells in overseas markets as the Jazz. In Asia and Europe, the Jazz is considered a small family car. In the U.S., the Fit is in the subcompact class and among the smallest, lightest cars on the road, at just 12 ½-feet long and under 2,500 pounds. But Fit uses its interior space very efficiently. The compact four-cylinder engine and transmission are situated sideways beneath the short, low hood. And because it’s front-wheel drive, there’s no central driveshaft tunnel taking up space along the cabin floor. The chassis is relatively wide, and the wheels are pushed out to the very corners of the car, giving Fit a planted stance on the road. There’s little to visually differentiate between Fit’s three trim lines: the base Fit, the Fit Sport, and the Fit Sport with Navigation. Look carefully and you can identify Sport models by their fog lamps, rear spoiler, and alloy wheels.
Mechanical: Honda gives Fit just enough power to keep it in the thick of traffic without thinning out your fuel budget. The engine is a 117-horsepower 1.5-liter four cylinder. Transmission choices are a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic.
Fit Sport models with automatic transmission get steering-wheel paddles that facilitate manual-type shifting. All Fits come with front-disc/rear-drum brakes equipped with an anti-lock system (ABS). Suspension is independent in front and a torsion-beam axle in the rear. Base models have 15-tires with wheel covers. Sport models have a firmer suspension and 16 inch wheels and tires. Fit is front-wheel drive. Locating the engine over the tires that propel the car helps grip off the line in slippery conditions. Exclusive to the Sport model with navigation is traction control and an antiskid system. Traction control modulates engine power to enhance bite in low-speed acceleration, especially on wet surfaces. An antiskid system, also known as stability control, combats sideways slides by automatically adjusting engine power and activating individual brakes when sensors detect the car is drifting from the driver’s intended path.
Features: Fit isn’t available with leather upholstery – precious few cars in its price range are – but this Honda does trump most rivals by offering a factory-installed navigation system with voice recognition and a 6.5-inch screen. It’s available only on the top-line model, called appropriately enough, the Fit Sport with Navigation. Every Fit comes with torso-protecting front side airbags, head-protecting curtain side airbags that cover both seating rows, and active front headrests designed to spring forward and reduce whiplash injury. Fit’s rear seat is a unique bit of design. Split 70/30, its seatback sections fold to fashion a van-like load floor, and its lower cushions can be raised to create a wide channel behind the front seats. The base model’s audio system has four speakers and an auxiliary port for digital media players. Fit Sports get six speakers, a five-mode equalizer, and a USB audio interface compatible with iPods and many USB storage devices. Honda doesn’t offer factory-installed options per se, but Honda dealers stock a variety of manufacturer-authorized trinkets for the Fit, from cargo nets to splash guards. Of note is a range of accessories from Mugen Motorsports, an aftermarket tuner specializing in Honda racing and performance. Aero body addenda, special 16-inch alloy wheels, a quick-shift kit, and “sports” pedals for manual transmission models are among Mugen’s Fit offerings.
2010 Honda Fit Test Drive back to top
From behind the wheel: OK, 117 horsepower shouldering 2,500 pounds of subcompact car isn’t going win you many stop-light grands prix. It won’t bolster your confidence about merging seamlessly with fast-moving freeway traffic. And you’ll not approach overtaking on two-lane roads as routine. But the wonder of the Honda Fit is that it never feels frustratingly slow. The smooth-spinning engine incites you to run it well up the rev range. Both transmissions shift quickly to exploit torque, which admittedly is a modest 106 pound-feet but is surprisingly accessible thanks to Honda’s latest i-VTEC variable-timing technology that irons out its peaks and valleys.
Still, the real secret to Fit’s zippy nature is its terrifically direct steering and nimble handling. This is most apparent at low to moderate speeds. Fit dives into corners, carves them precisely, and exits with little bobbing or lean. The Fit Sport models’ tauter suspension and wider tires are enough of an added advantage over the base model that sensitive drivers will be convinced of extra money well spent.
If we’re untroubled about Fit’s acceleration, we’re less inclined to overlook its mediocre stopping performance. Standard ABS does its job, automatically “pumping” the brakes to prevent lock-up and sustain steering control in emergencies. But Fit just doesn’t come to a halt in as short a distance as many competitors; it certainly doesn’t stop on par with the way it handles. Perhaps Honda ought to equip Fit with four-wheel disc brakes instead of a front-disc/rear-drum setup.
Dashboard and controls: Ergonomics and imagination are rarely in such harmony. Fit’s dashboard groups main gauges in a sporty pod directly in front of the driver. Honda backlights the numerals in white, the hashmarks in cobalt-blue, and the needles in lipstick red -- and somehow makes it look stimulating rather than garish. All models have a little screen within their speedometer that displays current- and average fuel economy data.
Climate control is by a trio of large, easily differentiated dials arrayed in a graceful arc just right of the steering wheel. The wheel itself is just too cool for econocar school. Its rim is thick. Its spokes cradle your thumbs and enclose beautifully detailed mesh inserts. On Fit Sport models, the side spokes contain buttons and rockers for audio and cruise, each identifiable to the touch by a subtly different shape.
Fits without the navigation system organize prime audio functions into a single controller as graceful as a flower and its petals. On Fits with navigation, a dashboard screen is framed by well-considered manual controls; there’s a separate one just to change map scale. Speak clearly and slowly if you want your voice commands recognized. The audio system thankfully retains much of its independence from the navigation system. The aux jack is buried near the shift lever, but the USB connector is an accessible cable in the upper tier of Fit’s two gloveboxes. Absence of satellite radio capability is a dubious omission in a car like this.
Some plastics in Fit’s cabin feel thin. A few ring hollow to the touch. But virtually every surface has a matte finish, pebbled graining, or both. And the switchgear engages with pleasing exactness. The base-model Fit’s cloth upholstery doesn’t feel as rich as the Sports,. but the overall ambience is in these small Hondas is smart and upmarket.
Room, comfort, and utility: Only the lankiest 6-footers among us will desire more front-seat travel. The big-boned, though, may be justified in asking for beefier front cushions. No one will demand more head room. And rear-seaters are likely to marvel at the leg space, even with the front buckets rolled nearly all the way back. Still, like virtually all subcompacts, Fit isn’t wide enough for three adults in back unless they’re fashion-model thin.
Honda gave Fit softer suspension settings as part of the 2009 redesign. But the taut tuning that gives this car such great road manners continues to translate to a nervous ride on patched surfaces. Bad ruts and rude expansion joints pound through. And Fit is not a quiet car above 60 mph or so. Poor isolation from road roar is the main culprit, though an hour at highway speeds will have you wishing for more insulation from engine and exhaust noise, too.
Redemption for all that ruckus comes when you begin to exploit Fit’s cargo-carrying possibilities. One lever drops the split rear seat sections forward without removing the headrests or repositioning the front seats. That creates a long, flat load floor worthy of a cargo van. Leave the rear seatback in place, flip the rear cushions back, and you open a car-wide chasm behind the front seats. Go ahead, open a rear door and slide in that carton containing your new 42-inch flatscreen. At the same time, open the big hatch and fill the aft cargo area with that big box of surround-sound kit you’re convinced you need. Just remember Fit isn’t really a van; 300 pounds of cargo is about the limit before the tail sags. Small-items storage is impressive, including 10 -- yes, 10 -- cubpholders.
2010 Honda Fit Prices back to top
The 2010 Honda Fit pricing starts at $15,610 for the base model with manual transmission and $16,410 for the base with automatic transmission. (All prices listed in this report include the manufacturer’s mandatory destination fee; Honda’s is $710 for 2010.)
The base 2010 Fit comes with air conditioning, tilt/telescope steering wheel, rear wiper/washer, and power windows, mirrors and locks. By forgoing options, Honda in effect compels you to move to a higher-priced model for more equipment.
To get a Fit with cruise control, remote keyless entry, and an anti-theft system, you must ascend to the Fit Sport. The 2010 Honda Fit Sport is priced at $17,120 with manual transmission and $17,970 with automatic. Fit Sport models have a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, plus the aforementioned spoiler, fog, lamps, and alloy wheels. To get a 2010 Fit with the navigation system and traction and antilock control, you need the Fit Sport with Navigation. The 2010 Honda Fit Sport with Navigation is priced at $18,970 with manual transmission and $19,830 with automatic.
2010 Honda Fit Fuel Economy back to top
With manual transmission, the Honda Fit is rated at 27/33 mpg (city/highway). With automatic transmission, base-model Fits are rated at 28/35 and Sport models at 27/33.
This is a good place to address the Honda Insight, the hybrid-only four-door hatchback launched for 2010 to compete with the Toyota Prius. Insight shares some engineering with the Fit, but it has less interior room, is heavier and slower, and its 98-horsepower gas-electric powertrain is annoyingly gruff. Insight is rated at 40/43 mpg, higher certainly than the Fit. But Insight is priced from around $20,500, including destination. That’s cheap for a hybrid, but more than any Fit. Unless you’re ichin’ to go deep green, the Fit – plenty thrifty in its own right -- is probably the smarter choice.
2010 Honda Fit Safety and Reliability back to top
Government crash-test ratings award a maximum of five stars for occupant protection in frontal and side collisions (safecar.gov). The Honda Fit rates among the top cars in the subcompact class in these tests. It earns the maximum five stars for driver and passenger protection in a frontal impact. It gets less than the maximum five stars in just one test—rear passenger side-impact protection – in which it gets four stars
The Honda brand gets strong ratings for quality and reliability in surveys conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, the leading automotive consumer survey firm (jdpower.com). Honda ranks above average for initial overall quality measured after the first 90 days of ownership. Honda also ranks above average for dependability in J.D. Power surveys that measure problems experienced by original owners of three-year-old vehicles.
The Honda Fit is among the highest rated cars in initial quality as measured by J.D. Power surveys. It scores top marks for overall quality in the first 90 days of ownership, falling into the “about average” category only for design of interior and accessories. The current-generation Fit has not been on sale long enough to be included in J.D. Power dependability surveys.
2010 Honda Fit Release Date back to top
The 2010 Honda Fit went on sale in summer 2009.
What's next for the 2010 Honda Fit back to top
Some reports say cost-cutting at Honda has the automaker considering lengthening its traditional design lifecycle for cars, from five years to six. With the Fit based on an internationally marketed platform, however, its chances of hewing to the five-year cycle are relatively strong.
That means the next fully redesign Fit would come for model-year 2014. Such timing would position the 2012 Fit for a “midcycle” update designed to keep it fresh until the redesigned version arrives. Cosmetically, a midcycle freshening typically involves little more than a slightly revised grille, maybe tweaked taillamps, and perhaps some new interior trim.
As for mechanical changes, the overseas version of the Fit, called the Honda Jazz, is available with a continuously variable transmission. CVTs transmit power like a rheostat rather than with set gear ratios. Insight uses a CVT, and making a CVT available in the Fit could save a mile or two per gallon.
A big change that apparently will not occur during the second-generation Fit’s lifecycle is introduction of a hybrid edition. Some industry observes speculated Honda was considering installing the Insight’s gas-electric powertrain in the Fit. That would put another arrow in Honda’s hybrid quiver and potentially create the first hybrid priced well under $20,000. Subsequent reports say Honda has decided against that plan and will instead focus its subcompact-hybrid efforts on the Insight.
2010 Honda Fit Competition back to top
2010 Scion xB: A bigger, boxier take on the Fit formula of efficient people and parcel packaging. This five-seat wagon from Toyota’s youth-oriented division gives the Fit a serious run for its money. It’s a more-refined drive, and only a trifle less nimble on the road. The xB has 158 horsepower, is rated at 22/28 mpg, and starts at around $16,500. It won’t change drastically before model-year 2013.
2010 Nissan Versa hatchback: To some eyes, it’s even uglier than the Scion xB, but the four-door hatchback version of the Versa is a beauty when it comes to people and cargo space. And it’s satisfying to drive. Horsepower is 122. Rated fuel economy is 27/33 for the most-efficient model. Prices start just under $14,000 for the hatchback. Versa’s next major redesign comes for model-year 2012. Note that the Nissan Cube is basically a Versa with a weird-looking squared-off body; it starts around $15,400.
2010 Suzuki SX4 Crossover: This small four-door wagon flies a little below radar. It’s not as roomy as xB, and rated fuel economy of 21/28 trails the others in this bunch. But the SX4 Crossover has gathered a loyal following for its designer-Italian styling, solid build, and in no small measure, because it’s the lowest-priced all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle sold in the U.S. The Crossover starts around $16,800 with front-wheel drive, around $17,300 with AWD. The current SX4 should be around in its present form until model-year 2013.