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2018 Honda Fit Review & HPD Tour

Small and fun at the home of Honda's racing ops center

Aug 31, 2017
Photographer: Honda

It may be hard to believe, but of all the cars in Honda's current USDM lineup, it's the subcompact Fit that stays true to the automaker's essence. It checks all the boxes - it's affordable, efficient, and fun(-ish) to drive. This is why, when Honda invited us to Honda Performance Development (HPD) - its American motorsports programs' technical operations center in Santa Clarita, Calif. - for a little test drive of its latest rendition of the hatchback, we of course said yes. Changes for the '18 Fit include new styling, more tech, a ton of refinement, and just like its big brother the Civic, it gets a new Sport trim.

2018 honda fit front bumper Photo 2/31   |   2018 Honda Fit Front Bumper

Right off the bat we noticed this version of the Fit has sportier styling than its predecessor. It's lower, wider and has a new front and rear fascia. It's even expanded its color palette with two new options: Helios Yellow and Orange Fury.

The all-new Fit Sport has even more aggressive styling, with aero form features all around and a "splitter" highlighted in bright orange. Along with exclusive gloss-black finished 16-inch alloy wheels, the rear is fitted with a three-strake "diffuser" that's also been highlighted by an orange trim line and accompanied by a chrome exhaust to complete the Sport's distinct styling.

Inside the cabin, the Sport distinguishes itself from other Fits with unique cross-hatched fabric integrated into a striking black interior. The orange accent theme continues inside with bright orange stitching on the seats, armrest, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. However, if you need something a a little more luxurious, the top of the line EX-L might be the one for you. On top of all of the really cool standard features it includes Honda Sensing, leather-trimmed seats, 2-level heating for the front, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, and available navigation with HD Traffic and HD Radio.

2018 honda fit iVTEC engine Photo 3/31   |   2018 Honda Fit Ivtec Engine

Regardless which trim you decide on, the '18 Fit comes with a 1.5-liter direct-injected iVTEC 4-banger mated to either a 6-speed manual or Continuously Variable Transmission with G-Shift Control. The motor is good for up to 130hp and l14 lb-ft of torque at the flywheel. The Fit also retains impressive fuel-economy, but all models are relatively close to 30mpg.

2018 honda fit rear view Photo 4/31   |   2018 Honda Fit Rear View

On the road we felt noticeable refinement compared to its predecessors and overall, it's a whole lot more comfortable. It gets even better when you add HFP accessories. It was the most fun Fit to drive out of the group, especially when have to dance with a mountain road. Even at only 130hp, you'll never feel like it's a terribly slow car, like when you're driving, say, a Scion iM. At the end of the day Honda did the Fit justice and this version is just as fun to drive as the old hatchbacks we love.

Honda performance development tour race car Photo 5/31   |   Honda Performance Development Tour Race Car
Honda performance development tour engines Photo 6/31   |   Honda Performance Development Tour Engines

While testing out the new Honda Fit, we also got an exclusive look at HPD's HQ. Many of the rooms didn't allow cameras because they had top-secret motors that were being built. They even covered the engines while we were passing by! Our favorite room housed the engine dyno cells that simulates different types of race environments with varying temperature.

2018 honda fit driver side front view Photo 7/31   |   2018 Honda Fit Driver Side Front View

If you're in the market for one, do yourself a solid and get the Fit Sport equipped with the HFP kit which includes red floor mats, a chrome shift knob that any '90s Honda enthusiast will recognize, and special HFP springs that make a huge difference in connecting the driver to the road.

Jofel Tolosa
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