Larger Outside, Larger Inside

The Fit has grown by 4.2 inches in length and a half inch in width, but the greater change is in the cabin, which is almost 5 inches longer overall. If you're familiar with the 2008 Fit, know that headroom has increased 0.4 inch, and backseat knee clearance is about 0.7 inch greater. If you've never been in a Fit, you'd be surprised by the fit. Like many small cars these days, its interior size belies its exterior dimensions. At 6 feet tall, I had substantial headroom surplus, and legroom was good enough that I had to inch the driver's seat forward a bit to get full extension on the clutch pedal. Comfort has also improved, thanks to the addition of a dead pedal, or foot rest, on the left where the previous model had a carpeted outcropping that made for a more crowded footwell. The pedals are now slightly farther apart, as well. Where the previous Fit offered no center armrest at all, there's now one standard on the Fit Sport's driver's seat. It's not offered on the base Fit, and the passenger doesn't get one at all. This will not make people happy.

The steering wheel now telescopes as well as tilts, but I'm surprised the driver's seat doesn't have a height adjustment. Even so, the dashboard and window sills are reasonably low, and I doubt that shorter drivers will have much trouble with visibility. Quite the contrary; the greenhouse is huge and has a wide-open feel, due in part to the A-pillars sloping far forward. This puts them more in the driver's line of sight, but Honda slimmed them down and made the sail-shaped windows at their base substantially larger. No one will see the front fenders from the driver's seat, but this has become the norm; you just have to visualize where your car ends. Aerodynamics and the desire for interior room ensure that pillar-forward designs will proliferate.

The rear view is much improved, too, thanks to backseat head restraints that, when nested into the backrest, eliminate the obstruction from the previous generation's enormous ones. The backseat is comfortable, and due to a change in the roof's peak, headroom is ample. With the driver's seat all the way back, my knees were in contact with its backrest, but the floor is relatively low, so my knees weren't raised much — which is how some cars shoehorn occupants in there. The 60/40-split backrests recline a bit, but the release handles atop the seatbacks are much better located for folding the seats flat than for reclining once you're seated.

For what it's worth, Honda continues to claim that the front seats recline all the way to create something of a bed, as they do in the Honda Element. I continue to claim that even Michael Phelps isn't double-jointed enough to rest comfortably on this thing.

The versatile rear seats' cushions can be raised to provide a tall cargo space, or their backrests can be folded forward in the customary fashion. The nested head restraints allow them to drop flat in a single step regardless of the front seats' position. (The previous generation allowed the head restraints to stay mounted, so long as you slid the front seats forward and then back over their odd paddle shape — which is a lot of work.)

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