If you need a small car but don't want to pay a bit extra to go hybrid or fully electric (like with the Prius C, Nissan LEAF, etc), the Honda Fit is worth a closer look, especially now that for the 2015 model year it has been fully redesigned and made significantly more fuel-efficient.
The 2015 Fit was just introduced at the Detroit Auto Show, and the first thing to notice is the exterior. No dramatic changes, but it didn't need it. The size is similar to the current model, but the new Fit is slightly shorter (-1.6 inch) and wider (+0.3 inch) with a longer wheelbase (+1.2 inch).The interior, already kind of clown-car versatile, got a boost: "The new Fit also delivers a significant increase in passenger volume (+4.9 cu ft) and rear legroom (+4.8 in.) compared to the previous model. With the Honda-exclusive Magic Seat® offering multiple configurable seating positions, the Fit provides an unrivaled 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space when the second row seats are folded flat. With an overall height of 60 inches, the Fit allows for easy loading of items into the rear cargo and ingress/egress for passengers."
On the fuel economy front, things get really interesting. The previous Fit generation was already very fuel-efficient (you can see the MPG figures above), but the new one should get an EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 33 MPG city/41 MPG highway/36 MPG combined4 (CVT-equipped models -- if you don't know what a CVT is, check out this primer). That's about 20% more than a comparable automatic Fit of the previous generation.
Many factors contribute to the extra fuel sipping, including weight reductions of 57 pounds. Not quite in the same league as the 700 lbs reduction in the new Ford F150, but every pound matters.
The 2015 Fit marks the U.S. debut of an all-new direct-injected 1.5-liter DOHC i-VTEC engine. Generating 130 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 114 lb.-ft. of torque at 4600 rpm, engine output is increased by 13 horsepower and 8 lb.-ft. compared to the outgoing engine, while reducing weight and improving efficiency.
Based on Honda's testing, the Fit is "anticipated to earn top safety scores from NHTSA and IIHS, including a NCAP 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score and a TOP SAFETY PICK rating with a GOOD rating in all IIHS test modes, including the rigorous small overlap barrier test."
While that's all good, the hybrid version of the 2015 Fit should be quite a bit more interesting. Come on Honda, give us the juicy details!