2018 Honda Fit Sport Review

Looks 'sporty' but where's the performance upgrade?

Only a handful of subcompact cars available today can legitimately be considered sporty, and none of them are the Honda Fit. But that hasn’t stopped Honda from trying to make its entry-level model look a little more fun with the addition of a new Sport trim for the 2018 model year.

Also see: 2018 Honda Civic Si Coupe Review

Despite its name, the newest member of the Fit family doesn’t come with any performance upgrades: The Sport trim is purely an appearance upgrade that adds black wheels, a chrome tailpipe, a subtle body kit and a black interior with orange trim.

Also new this year is the addition of the Honda Sensing active safety system to all Fits with automatic transmissions. It’s an addition we didn’t get to enjoy, because we were too busy enjoying the six-speed manual transmission that comes standard in the Fit Sport. (The automatic and Honda Sensing are optional in LX and Sport trims, and come standard in EX and EX-L variants.)

2018 Honda Fit Sport review
Is it right for the Honda Fit to slap the ‘Sport’ badge on a car that only gets cosmetic upgrades? Pic: Honda

Honda Fit Sport’s Performance and Handling

Under the hood

The 2018 changes leave the car’s fundamentals alone, so it continues to use a 1.5L four-cylinder engine whose power (130 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque) is adequate for the car’s lightweight construction, but certainly won’t foster any illusions of sporty performance.

Drive impressions

While the subcompact class in general has added a lot of refinement over the last few years, the Fit still feels very much like a small car in the way it goes over the road.

Handling is fun, but the ride is firm, and there’s a lot of road noise and (with the manual transmission at least) engine noise in highway driving, despite Honda’s assertion that it tweaked the suspension and added sound insulation for 2018.

It’s not that time has been unkind to the Honda Fit, but the passing of years has been kinder to its competitors.

A tall profile means the Fit gets blown around a lot in the wind, another knock against this hatchback in long-distance driving.

2018 Honda Fit Sport orange rolling sideview

Transmission

The engine is well suited to the six-speed gearbox with its closely-spaced ratios and light shift action. That said, the automatic transmission helps keep engine noise down at expressway speeds and, as we mentioned up top, it comes with the adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic braking and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist features bundled under the Honda Sensing banner.

Fit Sport Interior

Inside, the Fit retains the smart design that allows it to offer passenger and cargo space to rival small crossovers: The back seats can be folded down or flipped up, and a low floor enabled by locating the gas tank under the front seats means the Fit can carry surprisingly large cargo with the back seats out of the way.

This remains the Fit’s strongest selling point, along with fuel consumption estimates of 7.6/6.5 L/100 km (city/highway), which our test car actually beat in averaging 5.5 L/100 km in highway driving.

2018 Honda Fit Sport interior cabin front
A 2018 Fit Sport sporting a 6-speed manual transmission. Pic: Honda

Takeaway

Maybe we’re just getting old, but despite many valid reasons to recommend the Fit to anyone looking for an affordable small car (the nicely-equipped LX trim starts at less than C$19,000), almost anything else in the entry-level class feels more grown-up.

How little the Fit has matured in its decade on the North American market is reinforced by the Civic’s 2016 redesign, which turned that former economy car into what feels like a luxury sedan by comparison.

It’s not that time has been unkind to the Honda Fit, but the passing of years has been kinder to its competitors.

What other’s say about the 2018 Fit Sport:

> As sporty as the Honda Fit Sport looks, it’s still a tall hatchback, which will never appeal to some—but the Orange Fury color with black wheels looks pretty cool. MotorTrend

> Even last year’s slightly dulled Fit was easy for us to recommend to family and friends looking for real utility at an entry-level price, and this year’s upgrades make doing so easier. Car and Driver

Honda Fit Sport Competitors

2018 Honda Fit Sport Specs

  • Engine: 1.5L four-cylinder
  • Power: 130 hp
  • Torque: 114 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual
  • Brakes: Front disc/rear drum
  • Steering: Electric power-assist rack-and-pinion
  • Suspension: MacPherson strut (front); Torsion beam (rear)
  • Fuel economy, ratings (l/100km, city/highway): 8.1/6.6
  • Fuel economy, observed (l/100km): 5.5

Price: $15,490/$19,890, starting MSRP/as tested

2018 Fit Sport Photos

Chris has been writing professionally about cars since 2004, in print and online. He lives in Ottawa with his wife and two feline tyrants. In rare quiet moments, he can be found travelling or playing one of his way-too-many guitars. Chris is also a journalist member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).