More than a decade after its introduction, the Honda Fit remains one of the most innovative subcompact cars you can get, not because it boasts an advanced drivetrain or avant-garde safety features, but because of a smartly designed interior that lends it the kind of space some larger vehicles only dream about.
Following a mid-cycle refresh last year, the third-generation Fit carries over for 2019 with one addition: the Honda Sensing active safety package (standard in all models with the automatic transmission) gains automatic high beam headlights.
Honda's decision to make that package available from about $20,000 is a nice nod to the democratization of safety, proving that even drivers on a budget deserve to feel safe. By the same token, the standard six-speed manual can't be had with the Honda Sensing suite suggests people who like driving stick don't get to feel secure.
Hyundai, Kia and Toyota all offer their smallest models with some active safety features, but Honda's package is among the most comprehensive in the subcompact class.
All Fit trims share a 1.5L four-cylinder engine making 130 hp and 118 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed stick is standard everywhere save the top EX-L Navi trim; it gets a continuously variable automatic optional in all but the entry-level DX. In Sport, EX and EX-L models, the automatic comes with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles that activate a seven-speed manual shift mode.
The six-speed is a good choice for its slick shifter and lightweight clutch, but the automatic is better for highway driving as it keeps engine speeds -- and, hence, engine noise -- down for added refinement.
Starting with the DX, standard kit includes a backup camera, 15-inch steel wheels with covers, power windows, locks and heated side mirrors and Bluetooth.
Move up to the LX for heated front seats, cruise control, multi-angle backup camera and an upgraded infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.
Sport trim adds leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter, six-speaker stereo, 16-inch alloy wheels and the aforementioned exterior trim enhancements.
EX models get passive keyless entry, silver alloy wheels, sunroof, variable intermittent wipers, auto on/off headlights and the LaneWatch blind spot display.
Finally, EX-L Navi gets automatic climate control, navigation and display audio, leather-trimmed seats, HD and satellite radio and mirror-mounted turn signal repeaters.
Fuel consumption estimates are 7.0/5.9 L/100 km (city/highway) with the automatic transmission (7.6/6.5 when using the shift paddles in the Sport, EX and EX-L trims) and 8.1/6.6 with the six-speed.