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William Maley

Quick Drive: 2015 Honda Fit EX-L Navigation

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Subcompacts tend to have that one thing, a gimmick or feature that they try to put out there as a selling point. We have models that are fun to drive, get good gas mileage, have the back seat space of a midsize, etc. The 2015 Honda Fit is no exception to this rule. As I found out at the MAMA Spring Rally, Honda is playing the versatility card with the Fit.

The back seat in the Fit is what Honda calls the 'magic seat' and there is reason why. The back seat can be folded in a number of configurations to allow tall items to stand in back; create a flat floor delivering 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space; fold the front passenger seat along with the back seat to fit an eight-foot object (surfboard, ladder, etc); or have the back seat up and fold both front seats down to provide a nice space to lay down. Describing it seems a bit funny, but actually having someone demonstrate it from Honda and then trying it out for myself, I was really impressed.

Aside from the clever seating, Honda has classed up the Fit. A new dashboard design with better materials and a cleaned up center stack make the Fit a nice place to be in. The optional infotainment system features the latest version of HondaLink which comes with a new interface. I like the interface as its easy to read and navigate. What I'm not so keen on is Honda's choice of using capactive touch controls for the volume and seek since it takes a couple of times for it to be registered.

Stepping outside and looking around the Fit, Honda has designed the Fit to be more in line with other Honda vehicles. This is apparent up front where the grille and headlights are reminiscent to the Civic. I understand what Honda is trying to do with the design, but I Iiked the alien shape of the previous model and wished Honda built upon that.

Powering the Fit is a all new 1.5L four-cylinder with Earth Dreams technology. The 1.5L makes 130 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. This was paired up to a CVT, though a six-speed manual is available. Like most subcompacts, the Fit's power lies towards the top of the rpm range. Great for driving on the backroads, but a little bit buzzy when driving in the city.

The back roads of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin also revealed another big change for the Fit. The previous Fit was known as being a fun to drive subcompact vehicle. The 2015 Fit loses some of that the suspension doesn't quite handle the way a Chevrolet Sonic does, nor is the steering as sharp. Plus side: Fit exhibits some impressive ride quality when driven over rough surfaces.

While its versatility may be its trump card, the 2015 Fit has a few other qualities that make a real contender in the subcompact class.

Disclaimer: Honda Provided the Fit for the MAMA Spring Rally

Year: 2015

Make: Honda

Model: Fit

Trim: EX-L Navi

Engine: 1.5L i-VTEC Earth Dreams Four-Cylinder

Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT

Horsepower @ RPM: 130 @ 6600

Torque @ RPM: 114 @ 4600

Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 32/38/35

Curb Weight: 2,642 lbs

Location of Manufacture: Celaya, Mexico

Base Price: $20,800

As Tested Price: $21,590 (Includes $790.00 Destination Charge)



William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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Nice write up, be interesting to see one in person.


Did they mention if they did anything to deal with the poor performance in the Crash tests?


How is the sense of where your corners are on the auto? One thing I have noticed is that many FITs tend to have bumper scuffs on the corners and in talking to even my daughters friend who has owned one for 2 years now, she says it is so hard to tell just how close you are to something as she cannot sense where the corners are on the auto.


So did you feel you had better feel of the dimensions of the auto or worse?

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How is the sense of where your corners are on the auto? One thing I have noticed is that many FITs tend to have bumper scuffs on the corners and in talking to even my daughters friend who has owned one for 2 years now, she says it is so hard to tell just how close you are to something as she cannot sense where the corners are on the auto.


So did you feel you had better feel of the dimensions of the auto or worse?


It has been awhile since I drove a Fit, so I cannot really say. I think the dimensions are ok for the subcompact class.

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The crash test safety of this, the Fiesta, the 500, etc.  keeps them out of my interest.  Offset frontal is nasty.  Honda does seem to be going more mainstream and less fun to drive with its stuff.  You can only get the Accord Sport in Silver or Grey, not very interesting choices on an already bland car IMHO.

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You can get an Accord Sport in an color, unless you want the MT. Then, you can only get it in Grey or Black.

This may also be relevant to the crash test question: 


How was the build quality, fit/finish and such?

Edited by fuel_sipping

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You can get an Accord Sport in an color, unless you want the MT. Then, you can only get it in Grey or Black.

This may also be relevant to the crash test question: 



How was the build quality, fit/finish and such?


Build quality and fit/finish was really good. I thought it was a prototype, but it was a production model.

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The new Fit EX manuals are a huge step up for the model.  I even like the looks of these.

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Last fit I drove was loud, lacked torque , and ran like 3500 rpm on the highway.

I do like the redo, but I would probably look at the cvt here. Much less rpm at 75 mph cruise.

Magic seat is amazing. In the end, Hondas usually still feel cheap and tinny to me.

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The Fit is on my short list right now if I decide to replace the Prelude.  The EX-L model goes for about $21,000, and there are no dealer discounts.  In comparison, a new 2014 Accord EX-L 4-cylinder has about a $3,500 discount, to about $26,000, which to me is the better buy.  The Civic isn't even worth considering.

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The Fit is on my short list right now if I decide to replace the Prelude.  The EX-L model goes for about $21,000, and there are no dealer discounts.  In comparison, a new 2014 Accord EX-L 4-cylinder has about a $3,500 discount, to about $26,000, which to me is the better buy.  The Civic isn't even worth considering.


Quality of Life and Life in general, I would rather you stay with your Prelude or get the accord so you have more steel around you. The Fit is a coffin on wheels. I have seen them in accidents and while I understand people wanting a subcompact for inner city driving and parking, on the freeways and in the suburbs, they are not safe IMHO.


I value your life more and would wish you drive something with better protection around you than drive this.

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      Hyundai’s designers took a page out of the Golf’s playbook when it comes to the exterior. It may not have the excitement or sharp design traits of other compacts, but the Elantra GT’s shape is very classy. The front end features Hyundai’s new hexagonal grille shape and deep cuts in the bumper for the fog lights. The side profile features a large area of glass to help the interior feel airier and a set of 18-inch wheels with black center caps. The rear has a crease running along the rear tailgate and a dual exhaust system.
      My first impression of the Elantra GT’s interior was, “this is more interesting to look at than the Elantra sedan”. The dash design is clean with sculpting along the passenger side to provide some visual differentiation. Sport models feature red accent trim around the vents and stitching on the seats to give off the impression of sportiness. Material quality is average for the class with an equal mix of hard and soft-touch materials. Passengers sitting up front will find controls to be in easy reach and the seats offering adequate comfort. Taller passengers sitting in the back will be complaining about the minuscule amount of legroom. With the driver’s seat set in my position, I found my knees were almost touching the back of it. The Elantra GT’s cargo space is towards the top of the class with 24.9 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 55.1 cubic feet when folded.
      All Elantra GT’s get Hyundai’s BlueLink infotainment system housed either in a 7- or 8-inch touchscreen mounted on top of the dash. Our tester came with the larger 8-inch screen with navigation. Hyundai’s BlueLink system is one our favorite infotainment system with an easy-to-understand user interface, physical shortcut buttons around the screen, and snappy performance. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are standard and bring more capability to BlueLink.
      Under the hood of the Elantra GT Sport is a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder producing 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. This is the same engine you’ll find in the Elantra Sport and Kia Soul !. A six-speed manual is standard, but the model seen here had the optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The first couple of days driving the Elantra GT Sport was somewhat of a disappointment. The throttle felt very sluggish, not letting the turbo engine provide a rush of power. Not helping was the transmission which was focused more on upshifting quickly, along with stumbling with gear changes at low speeds. But I soon figured out that putting the vehicle into Sport mode makes the vehicle much more lively. The throttle loosens up and allows the engine to exploit its full potential. The transmission seems to hold on to gears slightly longer to allow for improved performance. My hunch is that the standard drive mode is actually an eco mode to maximize fuel economy. I would like to see Hyundai add a separate eco mode and have the standard driving mode be a balance of eco and sport.
      In terms of fuel economy, the Elantra GT Sport is rated at 26 City/32 Highway/28 Combined with the DCT. My average for the week landed around 27 mpg with a 60/40 mix of city and highway driving.
      The Elantra GT Sport’s handling is Hyundai’s best effort to date. Sport models swap the torsion beam rear suspension found on the standard GT for a sport-tuned multilink setup. This swap makes the Elantra GT quite nimble in the corners with little body roll and feels poised. Steering provides decent weight when turning. The sporty setup does mean the Elantra GT Sport has a compliant ride with more road imperfections being transmitted. Not much wind noise comes inside, but a fair amount of road noise does.
      The Elantra GT Sport is so close to being a viable alternative to the Volkswagen Golf. It offers a clean exterior look, well-equipped interior, spacious cargo area, and impressive handling characteristics. But the programming of the standard drive mode dents the appeal of the Sport, making it feel less ‘sporty’. Hopefully, Hyundai has some plans to tweak the drive mode programming and dual-clutch transmission. 
      Hyundai has an agreeable compact hatchback in the form of the Elantra GT Sport. But we think given a little bit more time and work, it could be one of the best.
      Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Elantra GT, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Elantra GT
      Trim: Sport A/T
      Engine: 1.6L Turbocharged DOHC D-CVVT GDI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Seven-Speed dual-Clutch
      Horsepower @ RPM: 201 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500 ~ 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/32/28
      Curb Weight: 3,155 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $24,350
      As Tested Price: $29,210 (Includes $885.00 Destination Charge)
      Sport Tech Package - $3,850.00
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $125.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      "We had no intention of turning it into a production car. But your positive reaction, as well as the reaction of our customers, changed our minds. We listened, and we made it real.”
      That was Toyota President Akio Toyoda speaking at the Lexus LC 500 debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Four years before, Lexus unveiled the LF-LC concept to the world. It was striking to say in the least with a design that empathized curves and deep cuts. There was no chance that this sleek concept would make it into production. It was too daring for a brand that liked to play it safe. But the LF-LC did make it into production and retained most of the design. But what is the rest of the car like?
      When an automaker takes a car from concept to production, something is usually lost in the translation due to regulations or costs. But Lexus was somehow able to carry over the design of the LF-LC concept to the LC 500. The front end is set very low and features the brand’s spindle grille and aggressive cuts in the bumper for the LED fog lights. Channels along the hood flow gently into either side of the grille. For the side, the door handles are flush with the doors and will pop out to allow entry into the vehicle. The rear fenders are quite wide to make room for larger tires and brake vents. The back stands out with narrow taillights that extend into the fenders and chrome exhaust surrounds. Wearing a dark grey finish, the LC 500 looks very sinister.
      The interior is a treat for the eyes. It’s a minimalist design with few buttons and knobs on the dash and door panels. There are some special design touches such as handles that float on the door panels and a grab handle that extends from the center stack to the console for the front seat passenger. Material quality is very impressive with leather, Alcantara, carbon fiber, and metal used throughout. My tester came with a set of sport seats with eight-way power seats. The seats feature increased bolstering to hold driver and passenger during a bout of exuberant driving. However, some people will not be able to fully fit into the seats because of the added bolstering. I would like to see Lexus offer some sort of adjustable bolstering down the road. The back seat is best used for storage. There is barely enough head and legroom for a small kid.
      A 10.3-inch screen sitting in the center stack features the latest version of Lexus Enform. The system features an updated interface with revised graphics and new color palate that makes it very easy to read at a glance. Controlling this is Lexus’ Remote Touchpad controller. Compared to other vehicles with the Touchpad, the LC brings a couple of key improvements. There are a set of shortcut buttons to common functions such as the radio and navigation. Lexus has also implemented a pause over each icon to prevent you from selecting another one because your finger slipped. Despite the improvements, Remote Touchpad is still very distracting to use when driving. You need to give your full attention to the system and not the road to make sure you’re turning on the heated seat for example. At least the LC 500 collision mitigation system with automatic braking to give you a bit of a safety net when using this system.
      Pop up the hood to find the heart of the LC 500; a 5.0L naturally-aspirated V8 producing 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. The powertrain has a Dr.Jekyll/Mr.Hyde personality. Driven normally, the 5.0L V8 emits a low growl and delivers power in a smooth fashion. Gear changes from the 10-speed are unobtrusive. Drive it with some aggression and the LC becomes an animal. The V8 emits a roar similar to a muscle car and will throw you back into the seat as power comes on rapidly. The 10-speed automatic delivers fast shifts to keep the engine in its sweet spot of power. I found myself having a stupid grin on my face every time I would floor the accelerator just to hear the lovely sounds of the V8. 
      EPA fuel economy figures for the 2018 Lexus LC 500 are 16 City/26 Highway/19 Combined. My average for the week landed around 18.6 mpg.
      The LC 500 is quite surprising on a winding road. Despite the large size and weight, the LC seems to glide from bend to bend with little body roll. Some of this can be attributed to the rear-wheel steering system that is part of an optional performance package that makes the coupe feel smaller. This package also adds the variable gear-ratio steering system which adjusts the number of turns to reach steering lock helps the LC feel nimble. The only downside is the steering lacking the feedback some driving enthusiasts want.
      On a cruise, the LC 500 settles down and provides a somewhat relaxing ride. A small number of bumps make their way inside due to the 21-inch forged aluminum wheels. The smaller 20-inch wheels do improve ride quality somewhat. Road and wind noise are kept to minimum levels.
      Possibly the big surprise is how much the LC 500 will set you back. The base is $92,000 and our test vehicle came with an as-tested price of $101,715 with destination. Considering how much performance and luxuries you get for the price, the LC 500 is quite the steal.
      Lexus took quite the gamble with the LC 500 and their efforts paid off. The sharp exterior styling hides a very impressive chassis that somehow balances sporty handling and comfort. Plus, the V8 engine provides one of the most impressive sounds. Lexus Enform and Remote Touch spoil the LC somewhat as it is distracting to use.
      In a way, the LC is a modern incarnation of the SC coupe from the 90s. Both were a departure for Lexus as they offered a sleek design, smooth and powerful engines, and a balance between comfort and support. The two coupes also gave Lexus something it was lacking, a soul.
      Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the LC 500, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Lexus
      Model: LC
      Trim: 500
      Engine: 5.0L DOHC 32-Valve, Dual VVT-i V8
      Driveline: Ten-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 471 @ 7,100
      Torque @ RPM:  398 @ 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/26/19
      Curb Weight: 4,280 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Motomachi, Yokohama, Japan
      Base Price: $92,000
      As Tested Price: $101,715 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Performance Package with Carbon - $5,960.00
      Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound System - $1,220.00
      Color Heads-Up Display - $900.00
      Torsen Limited-Slip Rear Differential - $390.00
      All-Weather Trim Package - $250.00

      View full article
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