Tested: 2021 Honda Fit Hybrid

The new Honda Fit truly #FitForAllPurposes

In 2018 we attended the launch of the then new Honda Jazz Sport at the Dezzi Raceway in Kwazulu-Natal, and while it proved to be a nippy gymkhana time buster, the car still felt relatively underpowered on the open road…

It therefore did not take very long for the Japanese manufacturer to remove the “Sport” badge soon thereafter and we were once again left with a small vehicle, predominantly focused on the older generation due to its practicality, reliability and price. It did not seem to appeal to younger buyers as the interior technology was somewhat outdated.  

When Honda mentioned that the 2021 Honda Jazz would be rebranded as the more Internationally known “Fit” (in order to attract a younger buying market), we did not get our hopes too high. Would a name change alone bring a mind shift?

Soon thereafter I tested the new Fit 1.5 CVT Executive model and immediately decided that the hybrid model would be the ideal car for our planned 2200km Eastern Cape trip. Seen as we (both me and my partner) both recently turned 30, this would be the ideal chance to prove that the new Fit is indeed not just a marketing gimmick, but a car that is well suited to both an older and younger market.

The new Honda Fit eCVT did much more than just prove this point during our roadtrip.

Firstly, let’s get our facts straight. Nay Sayers will be quick to suggest that the hybrid system is not suited for the open road, and while I initially agreed with this statement, the hybrid system worked perfectly, even on the open road.

Yes, with the car fully packed and with an open road sometimes suggesting that we could travel at 120km/h, the overall consumption stood at 5.3l / 100km. While it is higher than the stated 3.7l / 100km, it surprised us that we could reach Kareedouw from Blouberg (653km) on only one 40l tank. It surprised us even more when we only used 15km of our fuel range, when travelling from St Francis Bay to Jeffrey’s Bay and back (75km).

The second point specifically proved that the hybrid is perfect for any town-to-town and in-town driving. While the petrol unit will initially help the wheels to start rolling, the electric unit will do most of the work when travelling steadily below 80km/h. We basically drove with only the electric unit in St Francis and Jeffreys Bay. On the open road, the engine will also switch over to the electric unit when travelling behind other traffic or when going downhill. At certain points, we only used the petrol unit when the road went uphill.

So effective is the hybrid unit, that we only needed to switch off the “eco” mode when we overtook stacks of traffic on a hill. For the majority of the time, we left the car in “eco” mode, with the system easily adjusting to your immediate need.

This is due to the fact that the 1.5-litre DOHC VTEC petrol engine is partnered with two electric motors; one acting as a generator and the other for the driving itself. The lithium-ion batteries will be recharged whilst using the petrol engine itself or through regenerative braking. The latter even helps to bring the Fit to a halt when you move your foot from the accelerator at slow speeds.

Together with the E-HEV system, the power delivery stands at 80kW and 253Nm.

While a CVT gearbox will also be a high-revving unit, the new E-ECVTgearbox in the hybrid unit, was far more quiet than in the petrol-only Executive model. Power delivery is also immediate and overtaking could be completed with ease.

The last cognitive turning point for me came when we had to traverse the rocky and crawling-speed Zuurberg pass. Initially I had my doubts as the rocky terrain seemed more suitable to medium SUV’s such as the Rav 4 or bigger, but the Fit seemed to glide over this with much more ease than many of these new so-called small SUV’s. I would much rather take the new Fit than a “pavement hopping” town SUV.

In terms of practicality, the Fit is by far one of the most practically spaced hatchbacks, currently on the market. This is due to its magic-seat configuration and with the rear seats folded down, the car can even allow a bicycle to fit in the car, whilst standing upright with both wheels on.

Furthermore, the interior styling of the Fit looks much more modern, or shall we say, youthful, than the outdated Jazz. Whilst the infotainment system in the 2018 Jazz looked like an aftermarket, sun glaring fitting, the new 9” LCD touchscreen and 7” Digital Driver display, makes the car feel much more integrated with modern times. Whilst Android Auto / Apple Carplay and dual USB connectivity is a given, the car also has wireless phone connection.

While the new Fit range starts off at R319 900, the e-CVT Hybrid will be sold at R469 900 (with a 5-year / 200 000km service plan and an 8-year / 200 000km hybrid warranty). Whilst this might seem like a steep price, compared to other ICE (internal combustion engines only) models, the new Fit is perfectly priced.

Furthermore, the Fit E-HEV wins more favour due to the fact that it has adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation steering system, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, front and rear parking sensors, duel front heated seats, leather interior, 298 litres of luggage room (can extend to 1199 litres, thanks to its magic-seat configuration), Vehicle Stability assist, ABS with EBD, hill start assist, a rear view camera, ISOFIX points, front, side and curtain SRS airbags. 

This ‘conquer all’ new Fit Hybrid surely seems to be one of our car of the year contenders for 2022. The Fit is fun, lively, spacious, safe and fuel efficient. Additionally, it not only proved that it could reclaim the “sport” badge, but also to be seen as a “cross” hatchback.

Leave a Comment