The Honda Fit is the reviewer favorite among hatchback economy cars because of its commendable cargo volume, versatile interior, superior reliability and fun-to-drive nature. Given all of its strong suits, the $15,100 starting price makes it one of the best car-per-dollar values around. The new 2011 Ford Fiesta (Base MSRP: $13,320 to $17,120) is a similar offering with good ride quality and higher gas mileage, but it has interior space. The highly rated Volkswagen Golf (Base MSRP: $17,995 to $19,755) is a good choice, but it is more expensive.
The Honda Fit remains largely unchanged for the 2011 model year, but it does gain some new standard equipment in the form of stability control, an iPod/USB interface for the stereo, cruise control and keyless entry. For complete information on this model, also consult our detailed report on the 2009 Honda Fit (*Est. $14,750 to $16,260) and the brief update posted for the 2010 Honda Fit (Base MSRP: $14,900 to $16,410).
A 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine carries over from last year and delivers good fuel economy. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the Fit will achieve 27 to 31 mpg city, 33 to 37 mpg highway, and 30 to 31 mpg combined, depending on which transmission the car is equipped with. The Honda Fit can come with a Sport five-speed automatic, a normal five-speed automatic, or a five-speed manual transmission, listed in order of ascending fuel efficiency. The 2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI (Base MSRP: $23,225 to $23,885) runs on diesel fuel and is the best-reviewed nonhybrid hatchback in terms of fuel efficiency, but it is significantly more expensive.
Front airbags, side airbags, side curtain airbags, antilock brakes and stability control are all standard. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Honda Fit the highest rating of Good in front-, side- and rear-accident occupant protection. The Fit gets a lower rating of Acceptable from the IIHS for rollover-crash protection; this prevents the Fit from being named a Top Safety Pick. These ratings (as with all the IIHS ratings) are indicative of the results from crashing into a similar sized vehicle. When the Honda Fit is crashed into a Honda Accord in a simulated head-on collision, IIHS says the Fit provides disappointing crash protection because of its smaller relative size.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has only tested the 2011 Honda Fit for rollover resistance, for which it receives a 4-star rating out of a possible 5.
While the 2011 Fit is an impressive package for the money, there are decent hatchbacks for lower prices, such as the 2011 Nissan Versa (Base MSRP: $9,990 to $17,190) and 2011 Toyota Yaris (Base MSRP: $12,995 to $13,715). The base Honda Fit starts at $15,100 and peaks at $16,860 for the Fit Sport.
While in the past the editors of Edmunds.com considered the Honda Fit to be in a league of its own, they now recognize that it has some real competitors. Nonetheless, they still consider it to be the best because of its great cargo space, utility and energetic handling.
Review: 2011 Honda Fit, Editors of Edmunds.com
ConsumerReports.org, well-known for its reliability rankings, compares many new models against one another in a concise and easily digestible format.
Review: New Cars: Small Cars, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
3. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The new Honda Fit performs admirably in IIHS crash-protection tests, garnering the highest Good rating for protecting occupants in front, rear and side collisions. Roof strength though is only considered Acceptable. The new Ford Fiesta gets a Good rating in all four categories and thus is the only IIHS Top Safety Pick in the minicar classification.
Review: Minicars, Editors of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
4. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
In this article, the IIHS discusses its findings when crashing minicars into midsize cars. Even minicars with good safety ratings, such as the Honda Fit, don't fare well when crashed into larger vehicles.
Review: New Crash Tests Demonstrate the Influence of Vehicle Size and Weight on Safety in Crashes, Editors of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, April 14, 2009
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration only has test results for the 2011 Honda Fit's rollover resistance for which the Fit receives a 4-star rating out of a possible 5. It has not yet been crash tested to the new 2011 model-year NHTSA standards.
Review: 5-Star Safety Ratings, Editors of SaferCar.gov
This web portal, from the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy, provides ratings for nearly all new cars sold in the U.S. The 2011 Honda Fit is quite efficient, with the EPA estimating it will deliver 30 to 31 mpg in combined city and highway driving, depending on which of the three available transmissions is mated to the engine.
Review: 2011 Honda Fit, Editors of FuelEconomy.gov
Since the Honda Fit carries forward essentially unchanged for 2011 aside from a few extra pieces of standard equipment, this full report on the 2009 model year will give an accurate view of why reviewers are smitten with the vehicle.
Review: 2009 Honda Fit, Editors of ConsumerSearch.com, March 2009