The Honda Jazz nameplate is no more and it has been superseded by the Fit as it has always been publicly known in some other markets outside of Mzansi. Positioned in the hotly-contested B-segment, the Honda Fit brings with it a practical and technological approach while also offering owners some outstanding fuel economy thanks to its hybrid setup.
We spent a week with the new Honda Fit e-CVT Hybrid offering and asked if it works in this respective stable… Looking all modern and bequeathed with the latest tech, our test unit came kitted with 16” alloy wheels, a 7” full-TFT instrument cluster and a 9” touchscreen that accepts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus two USB ports.
While the Honda Fit still falls short in terms of appealing to all buyers of all ages who are looking to drive something funky and fun, there is just something about it that deserves a second look.
With its practical approach, the new Honda Fit offers good bang-for-buck compared to its main rivals in the supermini stable. It is spacious in all orbs and the boot is measured at 298 litres or 1,199 litres with the rear seats folded flat. What stands out for us is what Honda calls Rear Magic Seat Configuration. So, you can fold flat or flip the rear seats up to allow luggage of all shapes and sizes to be fitted in the back.
The interior leaves less to complain about. It is minimal and of good repute with soft-touch material on the dashboard and door panels. The levels of technology inside remain impressive with the overall built quality as well as durability of everything an experience to behold.
As the top of the range model in the Fit range, the Hybrid features heated seats, adaptive cruise control as well as a host of safety mitigation operations.
Then there is the driving part. Our tester spawns a 1.5i DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine that is coupled with an electric motor good for a combined power output of 80 kW and 253 Nm of torque.
Since the axing of the hybridised Honda CR-Z in 2016, the Fit seeks to continue with the technology. It is fitted with three driving modes; EV which propels the car solely using electric power, Hybrid Drive makes use of both powertrains for optimum power and better fuel economy and the Engine Drive mode that is available at cruising speed using the engine alone.
The overall refinement is great and while we have always had mixed feelings when it comes to CVT transmissions, the e-CVT is not something to bemoan about. Its power delivery is adequate, yet its accelerative intent gets the engine to rev a tad higher but not quite on the same level of annoyance as normal CVTs.
In my view and by far, the Honda Fit’s driving dynamics are solid and impressive whether on the highway and over poorly kept back roads. Little wind and tyre noise infiltrates the cabin at high speeds but not enough to leave us lamenting.
If practicality and great fuel economy remain at the top of the list of things you are looking for, then the Honda Fit Hybrid could be the one to go for but that’s if you are prepared to fork out R484,000.
Yes, there are cheaper superminis across the fraternity but we doubt they can even get close to the 2.8l/100 km we achieved during an excursion to Pretoria on the open road. However, during the full seven-day test period, the combined average fuel consumption clocked a 4.2l/100 km which is slightly higher than the marque’s claim of 3.7l/100 km.
While Honda continues to sell its Fit to potential buyers of all ages, we did notice that it’s still a popular driving option for retirees – a status its Jazz predecessor also enjoyed. Not that it’s a bad thing, though, since who better to take advice from on the value for money front?
The Honda Fit Hybrid is a remarkable vehicle that is spacious, drives well, is economical and honed with superb levels of safety and tech to appeal to any age demographic and like the Jazz that has come before it, we also expect this nameplate to be a popular choice. Sure, the hybrid is pricey but just add up the savings over a few years and it should be a no-brainer. In theory.
Words: Ntsako Mthethwa
Images: Honda South Africa