This is the new 2015 Honda Fit, the third iteration of the Fit since the model’s inception in 2001. But the new 2015 Fit is more than just a subcompact hatchback – it’s the keystone of Honda’s future global growth.
Although Honda once relied on cars like the Accord and Civic to grow outside of its native Japan, the automaker now sees the B-segment Fit (along with its spin-offs) as the cornerstone of its worldwide presence. Fit chief engineer Makoto Konishi tells Motor Trend the Fit is essentially Honda’s four-wheeled version of the Super Cub motorbike, and for good reason. Over 4 million Fit/Jazz models were sold worldwide in the past twelve years, including just shy of 420,000 models in the U.S. since 2006. That last figure is expected to grow, considering Honda is presently putting the finishing touches on a factory in Celaya, Mexico, which will build both this next-generation Fit and a crossover spin-off for North America.
For now, Honda is only talking specific details for the Japanese market Fit – not surprising, considering it goes on sale this fall while we won’t see the new Fit until early next year -- but the car’s new look and feel should be close – if not a carbon copy – to what goes on sale next year. Inspired in part by the European Civic, the Fit’s front fascia is bolder than before, boasting a bulged hood and a distinctive headlamp/ grille graphic. A side character line starts at the front wheel wells and runs the length of the car, rising ever higher as it inches towards the Volvo-esque rear tail lamps. Any sense of increased size may be an optical illusion – we hear the wheelbase has been stretched two inches, but the new 2015 Fit is roughly the same width, length, and height as the car it replaces.
Thus far, three powertrain combinations have been revealed for the Japanese-market 2015 Honda Fit. Base cars utilize a dual-overhead cam 1.3-liter I-4, while the “sporty” Fit RS utilizes a DOHC 1.5-liter I-4. A continuously variable transmission replaces the outgoing four-speed automatic, while a six-speed manual appears to replace the prior five-speed gearbox.
As we’ve previously reported, the latest iteration of the 2015 Fit Hybrid – which we're told will be offered in North America, albeit not necessarily in hatchback form – uses Honda’s new single-motor hybrid system, which mates an Atkinson Cycle 1.5-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The system produces 135 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque, and unlike Honda’s previous single-motor IMA hybrid driveline, is capable of propelling the 2015 Honda Fit on electricity alone. Honda is already boasting that it delivers 85 mpg on the Japanese test cycle, eclipsing other hybrid cars on sale in Japan.
We’ve long loved the Fit’s scrappy, tossable manner on-road, and it appears that character hasn’t been lost in the new car. Honda’s team benchmarked the Volkswagen Polo, and aimed to improve the Fit’s stability, reduce body roll, and improve steering feel. According to Motor Trend’s correspondent, who had access to early Japanese-spec prototypes, the new Fit feels far more confident and controlled, than before.
We’ll have to wait and see if the same can be said of the 2015 Honda Fit when it finally goes on sale in our market. Honda’s global rollout of the 2015 Fit starts in Japan this fall, before launching the new 2015 Fit in Europe in North America early next year.
Source: Honda, Motor Trend