2015 Honda Fit EX Long-Term Update 1
Stretching Out Its Legs on California Highways
With one of the shortest commutes in the office (6.4 miles round-trip), I discovered that odometer on our long-term 2015 Honda Fit was lingering in three-digit territory for way too long. A quick jaunt to Santa Cruz, California, would change that right away.
Subcompacts and long journeys typically make for a less than ideal combination, and I had a few concerns before embarking on our Fit's maiden road trip. Would its relatively short 99.6-inch wheelbase equate to a choppy ride? Will that runty engine run out of breath on those fast and long stretches of I-5?
For the trek heading north, I opted for the 101, which is a bit more scenic and slow-paced that the 5. Here, the Fit proved to be a comfortable cruiser, despite its stiff suspension setup. Botts Dots and potholes were definitely noticeable and sometimes jarring, but overall the Fit kept things smooth.
The last-gen Fit contributed to my concerns about the powertrain. That car was far from relaxing on the highway, thanks to an engine that buzzed at over 4000 rpm. Thankfully, that's not the case with the new car. At highway speeds the new continuously variable transmission, which replaces the outgoing five-speed, spins the engine at 2200-2500 rpm. Engine noise is minimal. Relaxed engine, relaxed driver.
Overall, the CVT worked flawlessly throughout the trip, never hesitating to get the engine in its ideal powerband when it came time to overtake a big rig. Same goes for inclines, where the CVT found its sweet spot and stayed there without any signs of the "rubber band" effect that's endemic with CVTs from other carmakers. That said, acceleration in the 50-80 mph range comes slowly, but not surprising given the engine's 1.5 liters of displacement and 130 horses.
Another benefit of the CVT is improved fuel economy. The Fit sipped an average of 37 mpg on this 700-mile trip, putting it between the EPA combined and highway rating of 35 and 38 mpg. Not bad considering the record-breaking heat wave California has endured in recent weeks, which meant that the Fit's AC was on full blast for much of the trip, including at night when temps were in the high 80s in central California. Stay tuned for results from our Real MPG testing.
Seating position was surprisingly good, too. The mildly bolstered seats left plenty of room for my back and legs to relax, while the telescopic steering wheel is a definite plus. An armrest for my right arm, however, would've been nice (or a slightly higher center console). Road trips and subcompacts? If it's in the Fit, then count me in.