Honda Fit, 2012: More competition but still tops among sub-compacts

James Raia

The Honda Fit debuted in the United States in 2006 as a 2007 model and quickly found its front-of-the-pack position among the country's top sub-compacts. Nearly 30,000 units sold in the Fit's first year and by the end of 2008, sales had increased to nearly 80,000.

A new edition arrived a couple of years ago and featured an improved four-way backseat configuration and an increase to 10 cupholders. More importantly, vision-improving triangular front side windows, increases in length and width and a nifty van-like windshield position were also introduced.

Honda Fit, 2012: More competition but still tops among sub-compacts 1

Not much has changed for the Fit for 2012, except the addition of steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and an upgraded Bluetooth system with streaming audio capabilities and additional sound insulation.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

The Fit’s sport model, one of five available trims (and my test model for a week) features a 1.5-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine with 117 horsepower and a five-speed automatic transmission. The sport model also includes an increase to 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler keenly integrated into the hatchback and an optional navigation system.

The Fit’s interior is space efficiency defined. There's 20.6 cubic feet of cargo space, as much as some compact SUVs. With all seats down, cargo space expands to 57.3 cubic feet.

Small items on the Fit all add to its stellar reputation It has blue illuminated gauges. The five-speed manual shifter is ideally positioned, and there are small, manual-shift steering wheel paddles. The controls and dials are handsome, if simple, logically configured and have easy-to-use innocence.

The best part of the Fit is its surprisingly steady drive. The car won't establish any speed records. And there’s a noticeable decrease in acceleration when the air conditioning is engaged. Cornering and maneuvering is confident at all speeds. And with the addition of new insulation, the 2012 Fit is appreciably quieter than its three-year-old sibling — the last model year I tested.


Near panoramic view and no blind spots.

Cargo area and front and rear seating belie the Fit's status as a sub-compact.

Ten cupholders? Really?


The Sport model with its optional navigation system approaches $20,000.

Gas mileage averages should be higher.

All images/text © James Raia

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Facts & Figures: 2012 Honda Fit

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 8.9 seconds
Airbags: 10
Antilock brakes: Standard.
First aid kit: No.
Fuel economy: 27 mpg (city), 33 mpg (highway).
Government Safety Ratings: (NHTSA), four out of five stars, front and side crash and overall; (IIHS), top safety pick.
Horsepower: 117
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $19,690.00
Manufacturer's Web site:
Price As tested: Unavailable.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited mileage.

What Others Say:

"While prices seem steep for the class, Fit comes very well equipped. This is a subcompact in name and exterior size only; it's really a small wagon that challenges some compact SUVs for room while getting significantly better fuel economy. –Consumer Guide.

"Although the Fit is priced a bit higher than most of its competitors, Honda offers a substantial number of standard features, plus one attribute you won't find on any option list: Outstanding resale value." — Kelley Blue Book.

"Should you need it to actually carry people, the Fit's rear quarters provide more space and comfort than its subcompact rivals and even larger cars." — Edmunds.

What The Wife Says:

"It's fun to drive and has more space than looks like it would for a sub-compact."

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

"The Fit isn't the fastest, most economical or most technologically advanced vehicle in the sub-compact class. But it has the best interior design, a vast cargo area and plenty to offer in every category. It all adds up to an overall best-in-class rating."

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