— Amid cheap gas and the flight to SUVs, consumers have turned lukewarm on subcompact cars in recent years. Still, that hasn't kept automakers from issuing a steady stream of updates. Toyota unveiled a revised Yaris in March; Kia debuted a refreshed Rio in April. Now it's Honda's turn with the Fit, which has a roster of changes for 2018. Among them are tweaked styling, more safety features, hardware revisions and a new trim level called the Fit Sport. The Sport slots between the base LX and mid-level EX trims; a range-topping EX-L also exists.
The refreshed 2018 Fit, which goes on sale in July, looks indistinguishable from the 2015-17 car at a quick glance, but the cues are clear on closer inspection. Gone is the thick ribbon of piano-black grille trim; it's now replaced by a thinner ribbon with a chrome bar overhead. The bumper's trapezoidal center opening is an inversion of what it used to be — now it's smiling, not frowning — and the foglight portals have different shapes. In back, the bumper trades its vertical black trim near the edges for horizontal pieces that sit lower.
The changes add 1.4 inches of length to the Fit. The Fit Sport gets another 0.4 inch of length courtesy of some subtle ground effects. It also adds a strip of bright-orange garnish around the lower sections of both bumpers, plus gloss-black 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear bumper diffuser with an exposed tailpipe. Other trim levels tuck the pipe below the bumper; EX and EX-L models also have 16-inch alloys, though with a different design.
The Sport reprises a trim level from the first two generations of the Fit. It gets a few orange accents inside, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. The other big change: the Fit's available 7-inch touchscreen gains Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for 2018 — and a volume knob, which should address some frustration over the prior screen's touch-sensitive volume slider. (Still, a tuning knob remains missing.) The 7-inch screen comes on all trim levels but the LX, which gets a smaller 5-inch display. A backup camera and Bluetooth are standard across the board. Honda says it redesigned the Fit's gauges for 2018, and the cabin still packs a fold-to-the-floor backseat with flip-up rear-seat cushions for taller cargo. With the seatbacks folded down, cargo volume is an impressive 52.7 cubic feet.
Honda's collection of crash-avoidance and semi-autonomous technologies, which it dubs Honda Sensing, is new on the Fit for 2018. The package includes adaptive cruise control with lane-centering steering, lane departure warning and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Honda Sensing is optional on the LX and Sport with continuously variable automatic transmission, and standard on the EX and EX-L.
Climb the trim levels and you can get a moonroof, heated leather seats, keyless access with push-button start, a navigation system and HD radio. All trims employ Honda's 1.5-liter four-cylinder Used Engine , which pairs with a six-speed manual for 130 horsepower or CVT for 128 hp. EPA-estimated combined gas mileage ranges from 31 mpg for stick-shift models to a still-impressive 33-36 mpg with the CVT, depending on trim level.
Honda claims a host of hardware tweaks — retuned shock absorbers and steering, extra body reinforcements, adjusted transmission and steering mounts, more insulation and better windshield acoustics — to improve ride, handling and quietness. The 2015-17 car played a respectable hand in those areas, but stay tuned for our driving impressions to see how the 2018 Fit stacks up.