The Inside

The Fit's height truly pays off in headroom, which exceeds that of the Civic. The legroom isn't quite as good, but it's consistent with that of competing subcompacts. The new crop of subcompacts take to an extreme the designs that have helped increase interior roominess in larger cars. The wheels, which can encroach on the cabin space, are located as close to the bumpers as possible. The windshield is steeply raked and the dashboard is deep — so much so that the A-pillars are far forward and in the line of sight. As shown in the photos, Honda attempts to mitigate the obstruction by building a small window into each pillar's base. Finally, the backseat and cargo area share the space more effectively. The backseat is more accommodating, but it reduces the cargo volume when the split, folding seat is in the upright position.

The Fit's steering wheel tilts but doesn't telescope, and the driver's seat has no height adjustment. While the dashboard, doors and rear view are all relatively short and not obstructive, the seat height and steering-wheel adjustments are conspicuous in their absence from safety-conscious Honda. On the flip side, the side mirrors are huge. The interior design recalls the new Civic, and the materials quality is really quite good — though I was more impressed when I presumed the Fit would sell for closer to $10,000. The base list price as of its introduction is $13,850.

The backseat is roomy in ways the specifications don't reveal. Adults can sit without their knees touching the front seats' backrests and, most important, their knees aren't raised super high to allow this. The floor is low relative to the seat. The 60/40-split backrest sections can be reclined to one of two positions. A neat innovation, a lever on the top of either front seat backrest allows the whole seat to be slid forward and back to ease backseat entry and/or to fold the backseat. I've seen tilt/slide versions of this in two-doors, but never this slide-only approach in an affordable car.

The front backrests also recline all the way to allow occupants to stretch out when parked. I found this configuration profoundly uncomfortable.

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    Refueling
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