Four years into its third generation, the refreshed 2018 Honda Fit remains smaller on the outside and bigger on the inside than previous versions. A smoother ride and quieter cabin come at the expense of the first-gen model's sharper handling, but versatility, fuel economy, and advanced safety features either available or standard on nearly every trim level make it one of the top picks in the subcompact class.

Best Value

The 2018 Honda Fit's prices range from $17,065 for an LX with a six-speed manual to $22,230 for an EX-L model with navigation (which includes a standard continuously variable transmission). Between those trims, the reborn Fit Sport offers a body kit, fog lights, larger touchscreen and leather trim for the steering wheel and shifter. The mid-grade EX model features a moonroof, keyless entry/push-button start, and the Honda Sensing suite of active safety features, while the EX-L adds all that plus leather upholstery.

If you can live without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and since the engine, transmission choices, and suspension settings are identical across the lineup, any upgrades above the LX trim are merely cosmetic. We'd like to grab the six-speed manual, but that'd mean living without Honda Sensing's advanced safety systems, which require the CVT.

With that in mind, here's how we'd build our 2018 Honda Fit:

  • Model: 2018 Honda Fit LX
  • Engine: 1.5-liter four-cylinder
  • Output: 128 hp / 113 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Continuously variable automatic transmission
  • Fuel economy: 33 City / 40 Hwy
  • Exterior color: Milano Red
  • Interior color: Black
  • Options: Continuously variable transmission ($800), Honda Sensing ($1,000, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and road departure prevention).
  • Base price: $16,990
  • As tested: $17,990

Performance Pros

  • The Fit's suspension does a better job of absorbing bumps than some of its competitors, so this subcompact doesn't always ride like one.
  • Honda's latest 1.5-liter engine feels more refined than earlier versions.
  • The brakes are easy to modulate and offer good feedback to the driver.

Performance Cons

  • The CVT automatic, although decent, drains much of the sportiness that remains in the current model.
  • Body motion is more pronounced and the steering isn't nearly as sharp as in previous generations.
  • The latest Fit's softer suspension settings mean it has a tendency to dive under braking.

Interior Pros

  • Flexible rear Magic Seats and plenty of cargo space place the Fit at the top of its class in versatility.
  • There's plenty of rear seat room for two tall adults.
  • The rear seats recline for more pleasant long-distance trips.

Interior Cons

  • Thin front seat cushions don't offer much in the way of support.
  • The low-rent carpeting and headliner make even the top trim level look and feel cheap.
  • Front seats offer less space than those in back, while a curve in the passenger-side footwell, and the resulting leg position, could be tiring on long trips.

Our Favorite Thing

The rear Magic Seats – along with 16.6 cu ft of cargo space with the seats up and 57.2 cu ft with the seats down – make the Fit feel more like a small minivan, rather than a subcompact hatchback.

Our Least Favorite Thing

Even with a new Sport trim, the Fit's softer ride, body roll, and less responsive steering, produce a subcompact that doesn't feel as nimble or entertaining as its predecessors.

Right For

The Fit's EPA-estimated 40 miles per gallon on the highway is close to hybrid territory. On top of that, it has an amazingly versatile interior, and ride and handling characteristics that are still well above average for the class, making it perfect for drivers eager for fuel efficiency that's free of major sacrifices.

Wrong For

In a bid to attract a wider audience, Honda has softened the Fit's suspension, dulled its handling prowess and, generally, sucked most of the fun out of a vehicle that was, at one time, a real hoot to drive. Bad news for enthusiasts on a very tight budget.

The Bottom Line

Despite a softer ride and diminished handling, the 2018 Honda Fit – with its excellent fuel economy, versatile interior, and smooth ride – continues its run as a smart pick in the subcompact class.