2010 Honda Fit Sport
Still, the automatic gets the identical fuel economy (27 city/ 33 highway) as the manual gearbox, and revs at interstate speed run a little lower (and quieter) in the autobox, so if you’ll be commuting on the highway the Fit Sport with an automatic and its fun paddle setup may be the way to go. The automatic non-Sport gets even better mileage, 28 city / 35 highway, but lacks a few niceties like remote entry, fog lamps, USB iPod interface and the option of stability control, and rolls on narrower, smaller 15-inch tires vs. the 16-inch tires of the Sport.
The Fit Sport isn’t a sports car, though. The steering is communicative enough without being twitchy, and you can get this car into and out of trouble in fairly straightforward fashion and push the chassis fairly hard before understeer sets in and you wait, and wait some more, for the tires to hook up and receive your inputs.
That said, in a back to back test of a Fit Sport with paddle-shift transmission vs. the 2011 Ford Fiesta (and a very overmatched Toyota Yaris) on a rain-soaked autocross course the Fit suffered most on uneven pavement. The Ford remained composed, has better steering, and a stiffer suspension. This makes the Fiesta sportier than the “sport” Honda Fit, but probably makes the Honda a more comfortable car. And, yes, that Fiesta gets superior mileage to the Fit, but its autobox double clutch transmission lacks a paddle-shift option and the interior space is cramped when compared to the Honda.
That doesn’t make the Fit better—unless what you want is a more flexible cabin and are willing to sacrifice some curve-carving agility and a little fuel economy to get it.
What it comes down to, then, is choices. Yes, at last, there are choices, even with economy cars!
And both this Fit and that Fiesta are leading that charge—and you can bet that as more smaller cars like the Fiat 500 get here, we'll see the segment heat up further, melding and merging the priorities of fun, pragmatism and sports car flavor. That, at least, is the fondest hope of this reviewer, who would prefer the steering of the Ford, the handling of the Ford, the gearbox of the Honda, the mileage of the Ford, and the flexible cabin of the Honda. Maybe the new Ford Focus (in 2011) will fit the bill? Or maybe an RS version or at least the ST.