All new and rebadged, Fit goes back to Honda’s highest quality Jazz roots
Let’s not beat about the bush. The last generation Honda Jazz was a disaster. For whatever reason, the local subsidiary opted to replace the previous, highly successful Japan home market version that did so well in SA, with a car made in India. Let’s just say that Honda completely underestimated the South African customer and severely hampered the Jazz’ quality reputation in this market, with that lesser quality, cheaper car.
THAT YUNOBI QUALITY IS BACK!
So much so that Honda has now killed off the Jazz nameplate in this market and adopted its alternative Fit handle in this market. And Fit thank goodness once again hails from that top notch Japanese plant. With that in mind, Honda reminds us that this all-new Japanese-built Honda Fit encapsulates in the Japanese notion of ‘yunobi’.
Which recognises the beauty in objects that perfected over time to become ergonomically more appealing and satisfying. To make them, well, ‘Fit’ for purpose!
To that end, Honda promises that this new Fit brings vast and distinct improvements over the Jazz it replaces. That it represents a new generation of Hondas far more focused on its core brand strengths of outstanding quality, durability and technology. So, while this may actually be more of a better sourced car rather than a completely new one, that’s actually of little consequence. The Jazz we originally came to know and love is back to its best. And it has a Fit new name too.
NEW FIT IS ‘COMPLETELY REIMAGINED’
Honda promises that the attractive and unique all-new Fit has been completely reimagined from the ground up to target a more diverse new customer profile while still looking after loyal existing owners. Fit is a cool city car that best combines efficiency and usability, ready to meet the needs of modern consumers. It certainly is unique. As Jazz always was. But clever as it is, that styling is also divisive as our office banter confirmed. Some love it, some, well, you guessed it…
Either way, Fit’s slightly lower, more compact-looking new stance is punctuated by premium-look headlamps and a refined roof spoiler. Fit’s narrower A pillars and hidden wipers make for an unobstructed panoramic view out. Its comfortable high quality cabin is spacious, especially in the back. Uncluttered and clean, Fit’s minimalist cabin is practical, functional and ergonomically simple. It boasts durable soft-touch finishes to highlight its inherent quality. And best of all, it’s clever!
Neat touches include thicker padded body stabilising front pews to bring greater lumbar support and minimise fatigue, and class-leading rear legroom. The wide central armrest is height-aligned with the door rest,. A broader tailgate accesses a most versatile flat-floored 309 litre boot. That increases to an impressive 1210 litres with the rear seats folded flat. Fit’s Magic Seat configuration also adds flip-up rear seat flexibility
CLEVER HIGH QUALITY CABIN
Fit’s clear and simple driver centric dash has a slim and easy to read 7-inch full TFT instrument cluster and a 9-inch HMI central touchscreen. Fully configurable, the HMI infotainment system is also quicker, seamless and more intuitive. It minimises driver distraction via more ergonomic smartphone-style control. Although its connectivity does still have some quirky habits.
An interesting infotainment advantage is that the system can be wirelessly configured to your personal needs with shortcuts to frequently used functions and audio sources. So Fit’s comprehensive suite of in-built apps can be supplemented by the likes of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay easily downloadable via wireless connection dependent on your own needs.
Best of all is that the Fit also very happily returns to tactile buttons and key controls and conventional dials for heating and ventilation settings. In place of that horrid previous touchscreen solution.
LATEST ENGINE SHARED WITH BALLADE
Fire it up and there’s a familiar feel. Fit adopts Honda’s latest tech 89 kW 145 Nm 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine out of the Ballade. It turns the front wheels via a CVT transmission. Honda claims 5.5 l/100km and 132 g/km CO2, which figures our tests proved more than reasonable. It doesn’t feel VTEC rapid, but our test figures below prove Fit to have adequate performance, albeit off its Ballade sister. We dislike the feel of a CVT, but this one is unobtrusive unless really asked.
Honda tells us that a new higher tensile strength steel helps increase Fit’s ACE chassis rigidity by 80% while at the same time reducing weight and improving safety. That along with increased insulation and sound deadening conspire to a surprisingly quiet driving environment and a fine ride too. Fit benefits a low roll centre front suspension and sharper ratio electric power steering. Handling is precise and natural, and agile enough when cornering.
262 mm ventilated front and 239 mm rear discs with ABS, BAS, EBC and Automatic Hold brakes and Vehicle Stability and Hill Start Assist are backed by six front, side and curtain airbags. Add latest spec Honda SENSING technology including Collision Mitigation Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping and Road Departure Mitigation and Auto High-Beam. All configurable and controllable via the infotainment display. So the new Fit really is packed to satisfy.
FIT IS BACK TO HONDA’S BEST
Easy to drive, the new Honda Fit 1.5 Executive may not be the fastest car on the block. But it certainly runs with the pack. It is however economical and superbly versatile, technologically advanced and clever inside. It is unique in class with its single box shape and forward control A pillars versus the conventional likes of a Corolla or Golf hatchback.
Competitively priced, the new Honda Fit range starts with thie R319K Comfort CVT. This combustion flagship Executive comes in at a most attractive R389K. We will test the top model Hybrid soon. Most importantly however, this Fit goes back to Honda’s roots of building good, practical cars. Once again to the highest quality standards in Japan. And that really is good news. – Michele Lupini
Data & Images: Giordano Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Honda Fit 1.5 DOHC i-VTEC ECVT Executive Engine: 89 kW 145 Nm 1.5-litre petrol I4 Drive: CVT FWD TESTED: 0-60km/h: 4.91 sec 0-100km/h: 10.09 sec 0-120 km/h 13.89 sec 0-160km/h: 27.20 sec 400m: 17.3 sec @ 134 km/h 80-120km/h: 6.64 sec 120-160km/h: 13.31 sec CLAIMED: VMax: 185 km/h Fuel: 5.5 l/100km CO2: 132 g/km Warranty/Service: 5y 200K/3y 90K km LIST PRICE: R389K RATED: 8