Honda keeps it simple with the 2016 Fit EX-L
Where it pertains to entry level cars, Honda has gone back to its roots by, in this day and age, keeping it simple. The 2016 Honda Fit, if it’s your first car, likely won’t be your last Honda product. This entry level, five-door front-wheel-drive subcompact hatch can suck you into the Honda family and keep your loyalty for as long as you continue to drive.
The Fit has been around for quite a while, since 2006 in the United States (2001 worldwide) and is now in its third generation. This little hatch’s looks have evolved throughout its history but not so much that anyone looking at it would mistake the Fit for anything but what it is; familial identity endures. The model was redrawn for 2015 and is pretty much unchanged for this sales year.
Retaining its simple mechanical demeanor, the 2016 Honda Fit continues to use a 1.5-liter direct injection inline 4-cylinder engine that makes 130 usable horsepower at 6600 rpm and 114 lb-ft of torque at 4600 rpm. As always Honda engines like to be revved and this one is no different; redline lies around 6800rpm. For the first time Honda uses a 6-speed CVT, rather than traditional automatic transmission; it has paddle shifters and Honda fits three modes for the Fit: Eco (zaps power), Normal and Sport. Even though the mileage might suffer a tad from its rating of 32/38/35mpg (using regular unleaded) from the smallish 10.6-gallon tank, the resulting pleasure from using the Sport setting is sure to cancel that out as the Fit becomes an eager, responsive and direct driving car.
There is a fly-by-wire throttle system and electric power assisted rack and pinion power steering that’s a bit less vague than most; it feels best in Sport mode. The 2016 Fit’s delectable suspension is comprised of MacPherson struts at the front and torsion beams for the rear; it has a stabilizer bar at the front and offers an excellent turning diameter of 35.1 feet with 2.51 turns lock-to-lock.
Honda continues to use ventilated front disc brakes and drum brakes at the rear for its smallest hatch offering. Even so it was an easy car to halt, thanks in part to its svelte 2642-pound curb weight (despite every option Honda could throw on this hatch). It’s a front-heavy car, with 61 percent of the weight biased to the front and 39 percent to the rear. Honda fits tiny Firestone 185/55R 16-inch tires (that beg for an upgrade) and mounts them on five-spoke polished rims for this model.
The 2016 Honda Fit we drove has an Alabaster silver exterior with nice, black leather interior. It served well on a jaunt from Oakland airport to Sonoma for the Verizon IndyCar Series in which Honda competes. This 2016 Honda Fit EX-L Navi is the top of the Fit model line and has every luxury Honda offers. List price, including freight is $21,885.
Everything is included in this price, with items such as the navigation system satellite and HD radio, sunroof, heated front seats, multi-view rear camera (all Honda vehicles have rear cameras since the 2015 models came out) and many more items. The phone is easy to pair through Honda’s interface, but it took me a while to figure out how to find satellite radio within the navigation and information screen.
The leather-wrapped steering wheel on the 2016 Honda Fit has audio source settings on the left side, along with trip info and a lower mounting for phone controls; the right side of the matte aluminum-accented steering wheel has Honda’s excellent cruise control. There are automatic lights on this model, together with fog lights; the gauge cluster changes color from blue outside accents to green when the driver is operating the Fit in an ecological fashion. The tach is on the left, speedometer in the center and fuel gauge, efficiency gauge on the right. Honda’s been using a temp light, rather than gauge, for several years.
I continue to enjoy the body lines of the Honda Fit, which have evolved over the years; always crisp and fresh, they give a feeling of well-being with a hint of aggression. Keeping it modern, Honda uses a true ingress/egress proximity key and start-stop button for ignition; still, a slider changes air intake from recirculated to fresh. The screen for Honda’s navigation system and other information is quite crisp and there’s a camera in the side mirror to assist on right turns. There is a lot of hard plastics inside this hatch, designating it as an entry level vehicle.
There is a small cubby in the central armrest with a 12-volt and USB; at the base of the central stack there’s a hard plastic container for cups and visible storage where a second 12-volt plug has accompaniment by HDMI and USB access.
I love the incredible lightness of the post-mounted hood; Honda designates its 1.6-liter as an Earthdreams engine for its attention to ecology as well as performance (and it’s got plenty of the latter).
The rear seat on this hatch has Honda’s “magic seat”, adjustable for seating and cargo space. There is no hatch cover on this car but the rear windows are sufficiently dark to hide most everything. The hatch is easily reachable and there are tools and a real space-saver spare beneath the hatch floor. Cargo volume with the rear seats up is an excellent 16.6 cubic feet and with those seats down, this increases to a big-box-store loving 52.7 cubic feet, easily the best in its class.
As ever, the 2016 Honda Fit EX-L is an easy car to live with, primarily due to its simplicity of design and functionality. For its composure over the road, its nimbleness on the back roads around Sonoma and its exceptional athletics considering the type of squared vehicle it is, this Honda is certainly an endearing choice. And one that will make most any driver a Honda fan for life.
Words and Photos by Anne Proffit