The 2015 Honda Fit received a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety today, but the rating only applies to models made after June 9, 2014 when Honda implemented key safety changes. To remedy early production cars, Honda is issuing a product update that will require owners to take their vehicle to dealerships.
When the IIHS conducted its first tests, the 2015 Honda Fit received good scores in every category except the difficult small front overlap test, in which it received a score of “Marginal.” Honda then made changes to its car, improving the strength of the bumper beam welds for better frontal crash protection. The automaker then asked IIHS to re-test the car, and during this second test, the Fit achieved an “Acceptable” rating on the small overlap test, qualifying the car for Top Safety Pick status.
Honda will contact owners of early 2015 Fit models in late-September to take their cars to dealerships to replace the bumper beams. According to Chuck Thomas, chief safety engineer at Honda R&D Americas, the simple process can likely be done in as little as 30 minutes. Approximately 12,000 early Fits are covered under this product update, which will be done free of charge to owners.
Honda stresses that this is not a product recall, and that it volunteered this update to so that all Fits can achieve the Top Safety Pick rating. According to Thomas, Honda had originally set its sights on an “Acceptable” small overlap rating for the Fit.
But the bigger question is: Was this safety concern the reason for the mysterious delay in introducing the Fit to the market? According to Honda, this was not the reason.
The 2015 Honda Fit sits at the top of its segment in terms of safety ratings by IIHS. But it is matched by the Chevrolet Spark, which also earns “Good” scores in all moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests as well as an “Acceptable” rating in the small overlap test.