Lifestyle

REVIEW | Frugal 2021 Honda Fit Hybrid suits all lifestyles

REVIEW | Frugal 2021 Honda Fit Hybrid suits all lifestyles

The new Honda Fit (formerly known as the Honda Jazz) brings a no-nonsense, practical approach to the B-segment market. We drove the top-of-the-range Hybrid model to find out if the Fit lives up to expectations.

Practicality goes a long way in a small car. The Fit features Honda’s “Magic Seats” that contort in all sorts of ways to provide plenty of practical storage options in what is in essence a small car. The total load capacity outclasses many bigger cars thanks to Honda’s clever system. As a former owner of a Honda FR-V, I can attest to the fact that their engineers have long been figuring out how to squeeze the most out of a fixed space – the FR-V featured three seats in front, and three seats in the rear.

The Fit is an extremely easy, albeit conservative car to live with every day. Styling has definitely improved since the last iteration and it looks modern in a grown-up, cute sort of way. The ride quality is class leading, even on 16-inch alloy wheels. The suspension is compliant and extremely comfortable, even on bumpy dirt roads. The cabin is also very quiet, with minimal wind or tyre noise.

This Hybrid model’s electrical motor is dead silent in operation and when the 1.5i DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine takes over, one can barely hear it. The CVT gearbox coupled to the engine does mean that going up hills with your foot down is a noisy affair as it tries to use the most of the engine’s 72kW and 127Nm. The electric motor ups the power to 80kW and 253Nm, which makes it extremely nippy in town.

Hybrid cars make the most sense in urban conditions, and it is here where the fuel saving will be most apparent. Honda claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 3.7l/100km, but I managed an average of 5.7l/100km in my time with the car. A fair bit off the claimed figures, but still quite efficient.

The interior is a great place to spend time in. Everything feels solid and durable. The seats are comfortable and the feeling of space around the driver is noticeable – even to my 1.9m tall frame. The Hybrid model also features all the bells and whistles – heated seats, adaptive cruise control and safety mitigation systems. The infotainment system is a joy to use and features a great, clear touch screen that makes Apple CarPlay or Android Auto pop. A traditional knob to adjust volume and turn the infotainment system on or off is a welcome addition from purely touch operation. The rear-view camera is also very clear.

Despite all the positives to the Fit Hybrid, the high price of R469,900 puts it out of reach for most for a car in this segment. The model I’d have, the petrol-engine 1.5i DOHC i-VTEC Elegance CVT, sells for R359,900 and would do most of what the Hybrid does, with some gadget compromises. The Honda Fit is a worthy consideration for anyone looking to buy a reliable, comfortable and practical urban runaround.