Since its introduction to the U.S. market in 2007, the Honda Fit has endeared itself to small car lovers with its economical engine and flexible interior. The car received an update for 2009, gaining size and an optional navigation system. Those updates came just in time, as the 2010 Honda Fit has more competition to deal with. The Scion xB has always been an option in the sub-$20,000 market, but upstarts such as the Kia Soul and Nissan Cube are dividing up the pie further. The Kia Soul in particular has the advantage of being a completely new car, yet the 2010 Fit still holds its own, offering a few compelling arguments in its favor.
Not quite funky
The 2010 Honda Fit's appearance is a good approximation of its overall character--it's different without being idiosyncratic, accurately preparing you for what's inside. With only minor tweaks, such as a rounder snout and some side body crease lines, the styling has become aggressive where the previous generation was awkward, and the longer wheelbase wears the updated skin well.
The Sport trim level adds rocker moldings, front and rear lower body bits, fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, and a roof spoiler that accentuates the Fit's squat, forward-leaning stance. The result is much less polarizing than the quirky-or-die Scion xB or the aforementioned Cube and Soul, and Honda's reputation for no-nonsense quality is well conveyed.
Inside, austerity is the watchword. Seat cushions are firm and feel as though they'll last. Plastics are generally hard but don't look cheap. As in the interiors of other Hondas we've seen, useful, simple touches speak to thoughtful design.
Honda's Magic Seat in the back is quite appreciated, although we witnessed no actual sorcery while effortlessly folding it into its various configurations: split 60/40, full and truly flat, or with the seat bottoms folded up to accommodate the odd floor lamp or Ficus. With the rear seats in people-holding mode, there's still over 20 cubic feet of space accessible through the rear hatch.
There's a narrow plastic cubby under the left rear seat for stashing a small laptop or other flattish valuables out of sight and an excessive 10 cup holders scattered throughout the cabin, two per possible passenger. A driver's seat fold-down armrest, part of the Sport trim, is very welcome given the lack of any center console. Covered storage consists of a split upper and lower glovebox.
Cabin tech in the Fit consists of a combined audio-navigation system, a welcome option as not many cars in this price range offer navigation. However, this system is very dated, still DVD-based and with blocky fonts and shapes on its input screens and maps. Saving graces are the extensive POI entries, and a useful voice control system, but we look forward to an update based on a hard drive system that can pull in traffic data.