2011 Honda Fit Review and Prices
The 2011 Honda Fit is the best car for you if you want near-hybrid fuel economy without near-hybrid prices.
The 2011 Honda Fit is a subcompact four-door hatchback that’s a benchmark for space efficiency in an affordable, fun-to-drive package. The 2011 Fit gets a safety enhancement by including an antiskid system as standard equipment on all models, not just the most expensive version. It boosts convenience and connectivity by giving the entry-level model standard cruise control, a USB iPod interface, and remote keyless entry. And the top-line model, the 2011 Fit Sport with Navigation, is no longer available with manual transmission.
Should you buy a 2011 Honda Fit or wait for the 2012 Honda Fit? Buy a 2011 Fit if you’re smitten by this wedgy little wagon’s core values. They won’t change for model-year 2012. That’s not to say changes aren’t afoot. The 2012 Fit is likely to receive Fit’s first appearance updates since its model-year 2009 introduction. Speaking of styling, Fit does make its own sort of fashion statement. But any 2012 appearance updates would be subtle and, frankly, as a reason to buy, Fit’s looks take a backseat to its sub-$16,000 starting price, 27-mpg-plus fuel economy, and remarkably versatile interior layout.
2011 Honda Fit Changes back to top
Styling: The 2011 Honda Fit’s styling is a rerun of the 2010 Fit’s. This five-passenger hatchback belongs to the smallest class of cars sold in the U.S. The subcompact category includes even-tinier novelty acts like the stubby 2011 Scion iQ and the two-seat Smart ForTwo. But its foundation is cars like the Fit and the 2011 Ford Fiesta, 2011 Nissan Versa, and 2011 Toyota Yaris that aim to fill a need for basic, economical transportation.
The hatchback body style is clearly the best way to maximize passenger and cargo room in small cars and the 2011 Fit is one of the more unusually proportioned examples. Its styling, however, serves a greater purpose than mere aesthetics. Fit has a short snout highlighted by big, swept-back headlights. Its radically angled roof pillars frame a huge windshield. And its long-roof, wagon-like body is chopped off just behind the rear wheels.
With lots of side-glass, small wheel openings, and an overall length of just 12 ½ feet the effect is a bit toy-like. But with a tall roofline and relatively generous wheelbase -- the distance between front and rear axles – Fit devotes most of its volume to cabin space. Indeed, this subcompact surprises with room for four adults to ride in comfort and class-leading cargo versatility.
The dashboard layout is more orthodox than the exterior styling but is similarly functional, with large, unobstructed gauges and smartly designed controls arrayed within the driver’s easy reach.
The 2011 Honda Fit reprises a three-model lineup: the base Fit, the Fit Sport, and the Fit Sport with a navigation system. As before, the 2011 Fit Sport models are distinguished from the base version by standard fog lamps, rear roofline spoiler, a chrome exhaust tip, and slightly larger tires on alloy wheels.
The 2011 Fit is available in four new colors, though they’re essentially different shades of previous exterior hues with new names: Alabaster Silver Metallic, Polished Metal Metallic, Celestial Blue Metallic, and Vortex Blue Peal.
Mechanical: The 2011 Honda Fit gains a noteworthy safety enhancement as Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system expands to become standard equipment on the base and Sport models. This antiskid technology was previously exclusive to the Fit Sport with Navigation. Characteristic of antiskid systems in this class, VSA is designed to keep the Fit from skidding sideways in a turn by automatically activating individual brakes and modulating the throttle.
In a mechanical change that makes long-distance travel a bit easier, cruise control is now standard on the base 2011 Fit; it had been exclusive to the Sport models. And in a mechanical subtraction, the Fit Sport with Navigation is no longer available with manual transmission.
Otherwise, the 2011 Fit is a mechanical repeat. It comes with one engine, a 1.5-liter four-cylinder rated at 118 horsepower and 106 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices for the 2011 Fit base and basic Sport models are a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. The 2011 Fit Sport with Navigation comes only with the automatic transmission, but on both Sport versions, the automatic again includes steering-wheel paddles that allow the driver manual-type control of gear changes.
Fit’s engine specs are fully contemporary for this class and although there’s no real surplus of power, the 1.5-liter is a smooth runner and moves this lightweight along nicely so long as you’re not trying to win a drag race. Fit is best enjoyed with the easy-shifting manual transmission; the automatic softens throttle response enough to drain the sporting life out of brisk driving.
Like every subcompact, Fit is front-wheel drive, which puts the weight of the drivertrain over the wheels that propel the car. This enhances traction in the snow and concentrates the mass of the powertrain in the nose, leaving maximum space for passengers and cargo.
Fit’s suspension is also subcompact-typical, with a rear torsion beam and drum brakes. That’s prosaic compared with the fully independent suspension and four-wheel-disc brakes of the top cars just one class size up. Same goes for the modestly sized wheels and tires, 15-inchers on the base model, 16s on the Sport versions.
But get Fit on a twisty road, and Honda’s smart engineering trumps the humble blueprint. Fit responds alertly to inputs from its sharp electric power steering and bites into corners eagerly, succumbing to noseplow only on high-speed bends that expose the limited grip of the tires.
The news isn’t so good for ride quality, which can be raw over bumpy or cratered pavement. And marginal buffering against wind and road noise means you’re unlikely to relish the prospect of long hours behind the wheel. On that score, at least cruise control is now standard on all 2011 Fits.
Features: We’ve urged Honda to make the antiskid system standard on all Fit models – every 2011 Toyota Yaris comes with one -- so it’s gratifying that the carmaker takes that step for model-year 2011. Similarly, supplying the base model with a USB iPod interface as well as remote keyless entry, instead of reserving these features for the Sport versions, is another move in the right competitive direction. All Fit Sport models now also come with fitted floormats, which previously were an extra-cost accessory. Beyond these changes, the 2011 Fit features list mirrors the 2010 version’s.
Fit doesn’t offer a sunroof or leather upholstery – few cars in its price range do – but it is available with a good factory-installed navigation system. The setup includes voice recognition, a 6.5-inch dashboard screen, and a digital audio-card reader. The navigation system continues to be limited to the Fit Sport, where its addition creates a separate model.
Standard features on all 2011 Fits include air conditioning, power windows with automatic up/down driver’s window, power locks, and tilt and telescope steering column. Exclusive to Fit Sport models are a security system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and cabin map lights. Sport models also get a rear stabilizer bar for steadier handling.
Fit’s audio system is a 160-watt single-CD unit with four speakers on base models and six on Sports. In addition to the USB interface, all Fits come with an auxiliary plug for digital players. The 2011 Fit remains unavailable with Bluetooth hands-free mobile-phone connectivity, however. Bluetooth is a safety and convenience enhancement that’s increasingly available on subcompact competitors.
Fit’s defining feature remains an innovation Honda calls the Magic Seat. This triumph of levers and hinges allows the 60/40 split rear seatback and cushions to fold down nearly to floor level. Fit’s floor is usually low because the fuel tank is beneath the front seat and folding the Magic Seat forms a deep, van-like load platform. The Magic Seat design also enables Fit’s rear seat cushions to flip up, creating a side-to-side chasm behind the front seats big enough to swallow objects as tall as a bicycle. The front passenger seatback also folds so Fit can carry long items such as skis.
In all, the 2011 Fit is the pacesetter for subcompact-class cargo volume, with an impressive 20.6 cubic feet behind the rear bench and a compact-crossover-SUV-like 57.3 cubic feet with the Magic Seat fully folded.
2011 Honda Fit Prices back to top
The 2011 Honda Fit price range is $15,850-$19,990. Depending on model, that represents an increase of $130-$450 over 2010 Fit prices but still represents fine value. Note that Honda doesn’t offer factory options, creating instead a set of features for each model at each price level. (Fit prices, and base prices for other cars mentioned in this review, include the manufacturers’ destination fee. Honda’s fee for the 2011 Fit continues unchanged at $750.)
Price for the 2011 Honda Fit base model $15,850 with manual transmission and $16,650 with automatic. That’s a $200 increase over the comparable 2012 Fit models, an entirely reasonable hike given the addition of an antiskid system, cruise control, remote keyless entry, and a USB audio interface as standard equipment.
The 2011 Honda Fit Sport is priced at $17,610 with manual transmission and $18,460 with automatic transmission. That’s an increase of $450 over the 2010 Fit Sport, rather steep considering this model gains only the antiskid system and carpeted floor mats.
The 2011 Fit Sport with Navigation is priced at $19,990 and comes only with automatic transmission. That’s a $130 kick over the comparable 2010 model and essentially accounts for the addition of carpeted floor mats.
Note that the Fit lends some of its structural design to the Honda Insight hybrid, a four-door hatchback launched for model-year 2010 as a rival to the world’s best-selling hybrid, the Toyota Prius. Insight has less interior and cargo volume than the Fit, is slower, and handles with less verve. The 2011 Insight also costs more, with a base price range of $18,950-$24,015.
2011 Honda Fit Fuel Economy back to top
With the all-new 2011 Ford Fiesta rated at 40 mpg on the highway setting a new subcompact-class standard, the 2011 Honda Fit’s fuel-economy ratings no longer look so dramatic. They’re still quite friendly, however, and the 2011 Fit continues among America’s most fuel-efficient gas-powered cars.
The 2011 Honda Fit fuel economy ratings remain 27/33 mpg city/highway with manual transmission. With automatic transmission, the base 2011 Fit rates 28/35 mpg and the 2011 Fit Sport models 27/33 mpg. By comparison, the Honda Insight hybrid is rated at 40/43 mpg. It’s has 98 horsepower, versus Fit’s 117, and also is some 230 pounds heavier than the base Fit.
2011 Honda Fit Release Date back to top
The 2011 Honda Fit went on sale in November 2010.
What's next for the 2011 Honda Fit back to top
With its next full redesign due for model-year 2014, any changes in the 2012 Fit’s styling would constitute a mid-cycle freshening and be confined to minor alterations to the grille and front fascia, perhaps new taillamp lenses, and maybe some new interior fabrics and graphics. Honda could conceivably make the 2012 Fit available with the super-fuel-efficient continuously variable automatic transmission it offers in the Jazz, the Japanese-market version of this car.
But the bigger story is the approach of an all-electric Fit, likely for model-year 2013. Sources say Honda has shelved plans for a U.S. version of a gas-electric hybrid Fit using the Insight powertrain in favor of one that runs solely on battery power.
Unlike a plug-in hybrid, which charges batteries from the power-grid at large to extend electric-only range but still relies on a gas engine, an electric vehicle (EV) has no gas engine. The first mass-production pure EV to market in the U.S. is the 2011 Nissan Leaf, though the 2011 Chevrolet Volt is an EV that uses an on-board gas engine as a generator to extend range after the battery charge is depleted.
Honda says its prototype Fit EV powers its electric motor with a lithium-ion battery and has a range of 70-100 miles per charge. It says battery recharging takes under 12 hours with a 120-volt outlet and under six hours with a 240-volt outlet. Honda says a Fit EV model will go on sale in the U.S. during calendar 2012.
2011 Honda Fit Competition back to top
2011 Ford Fiesta: Ford aims for a subcompact game-changer with the Fiesta. The automaker taps its global design resources to bring to America the high-fashion, sharp-handling small-car standards Europeans have enjoyed for years. Introduced as a 2011 model, Fiesta does take corners and hold the road like a car with real sporting blood. And its ride quality and overall refinement are the new class benchmarks. With 120 horsepower Fiesta isn’t fast, though fuel economy is a highly impressive 29/38 mpg with manual transmission, 30/40 with the dual-clutch automatic. Heated front seats, leather upholstery, and a Gen-Y-tempting array of infotainment tech is on tap, though a conventional navigation system isn’t. Fiesta comes as a four-door hatchback and four-door sedan, both boldly styled inside and out. Both fall short of Fit for passenger or cargo room, however, and can’t touch the Honda for ergonomic simplicity. Base prices start around $14,000 for the sedan and $15,800 for the hatchback. Fully optioned top-line Fiestas easily breach $21,000.
2011 Nissan Cube or Versa: Take your pick: they share the same chassis and use the same mechanical bits, but the Cube is a shipping crate on wheels while the Versa comes as a more conventional sedan or four-door hatchback. None of these Nissans is going to win a beauty contest, but each has its appeal. Our favorite is the roomy, well-mannered Versa hatchback. Low-speed handling and cargo volume aren’t quite to Fit’s levels, but passenger room and comfort are a match and ride and overall refinement beat the Honda’s. Versa is priced below the urban-hipster Cube. The 107-horsepower versions start around $10,800 for a stripper you don’t really want and around $13,000 for a model you do. Versas with the 122-horsepower engine perform much better and start in the mid-$14,000s. Fuel economy ratings range from 21/31 mpg to 28/34 depending on engine and transmission. The Cube debuted for model-year 2009 and won’t change much until 2016 or so. Versa is next due a major overhaul for model-year 2013.
2011 Toyota Yaris: Go for the four-door hatchback body style over the two-door hatch and four-door sedan and you’ll come away with a spry little hauler priced too low for the budget-conscious to ignore. With just 106 horsepower, Yaris’s acceleration is tepid, and road, wind, and engine noise intrude on the highway. But handling is wholly competent within modest expectations. Fuel economy is a happy 29/36 mpg with manual transmission, 29/35 with automatic. Arched rooflines and chair-like seating make for roomy-feeling cabins, though maximum cargo volume is a puny 25.7 cubic feet even with the rear seat folded. Yaris prices start around $13,600 for the two-door hatchback, $13,900 for the four-door hatch, and $14,400 for the sedan; add about $800 for automatic transmission. As a bonus, every 2011 Yaris comes with an impressive array of standard safety features, including brake-override and antiskid systems. Yaris is likely to remain largely unchanged until an all-new version appears for model-year 2014.