Honda still hasn’t unveiled a North American-spec version of the all-new 2015 Honda Fit subcompact, but the new Honda City sedan, which recently debuted for the Indian market, does closely preview one of three variants of the new Fit due to launch soon in North America.
Honda’s North American plans for the latest Fit subcompact call for more than just manufacturing the vehicle in a new plant in Mexico for North American markets: it also calls for multiple Fit bodystyles. In addition to the familiar upright, four-door hatchback we’re most familiar with, Honda has also said the factory will produce a crossover based on the Honda Fit, and a new four-door Fit sedan. Seeing as the crossover, dubbed Vezel in Japan, debuted last week at the 2013 Tokyo auto show, the only piece missing from the promised three-tier Fit family was the sedan. That changed yesterday, when the new Fit-based Honda City was unveiled by Honda's Indian sales subsidiary. The venue isn’t too surprising: although Honda has sold four-door Fit models under the City name in select Asian markets since 2002, the City has been one Honda’s best-selling models in the country.
Although the new Honda Fit sedan/ City shares its front clip and sheetmetal with the Honda Fit hatchback, everything aft of the A-pillars is new, and Despite sharing a common platform, the Fit sedan/ City rides on a wheelbase that’s 2.8 inches longer than the hatchback. Overall length also grows from 157 to 174.8 inches in the transition from hatch to sedan. The Honda Fit sedan/ City’s width remains unchanged, though its notchback roofline is 1.2 inches lower than the upright form of the new Fit hatchback.
Although specifications of a North American Honda Fit have yet to be disclosed, if a U.S.-market Honda Fit sedan closely adhered to those dimensions, it’d have no trouble fitting into the North American B-segment sedan market. With the exception of the 2014 Nissan Versa, the Fit sedan is nearly 1-2 inches longer than its competitors, while its wheelbase – which matches that of the Versa – leads the pack. At 66.7 inches wide, the City/ Fit sedan would also match the Versa, meaning it would fall midpack, trailing the 2014 Ford Fiesta, 2014 Chevrolet Sonic, and 2014 Kia Rio by roughly a half-inch to an inch
Indian market Honda City sedans will be offered with either a 1.5-liter DOHC diesel four-cylinder, or a 1.5-liter SOHC four-cylinder with VTEC variable valve timing. Honda has yet to disclose any specifications for the North American Fit family, but of those engines, only the latter is likely to be offered in North America. A CVT is also likely for our market, seeing as the automaker recently opened an assembly plant for such transmissions in Celaya, Mexico, located adjacent to the new factory tasked with building Fit variants sold on our continent.
Although Honda has all but confirmed the Fit-based crossover for our market, it’s only hinted at the possibility of the Fit sedan coming stateside. Still, we’d say it’s a safe bet it joins the Fit hatchback in U.S. showrooms next year, given the prevalence of B-segment notchbacks in our market, and Honda’s desire to see the Fit become its most important global nameplate.