Car review: 2011 Honda Fit
Features and options

The Fit starts at $14,900. It comes with numerous standard features, including air conditioning, power windows, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power door locks, and a trip computer with a mileage indicator. The Versa hatchback starts at $13,400, which makes the Fit seem expensive, but other hatches with similar standard equipment, like the Fiesta and xD, start at $15,120 and $15,045, respectively.

The Sport model, which starts at $16,410, adds 16-inch wheels, cruise control, paddle shifters for the automatic transmission and a security system. There aren't many individual options, just another trim level dubbed Fit Sport with Navigation that adds a navigation system with USB iPod integration for $18,260 with standard manual transmission.

Even in its highest trim level, the Fit's windshield wipers have so few intervals that driving in the rain was an annoyance. It's fine for downpours or drizzle, but anything in between left me wanting more choices.

Safety

The Fit has numerous standard safety features, but one missing piece is a standard electronic stability system. To get stability control, buyers have to choose the Fit Sport with Navigation. The Fiesta and xD make stability control standard even on their least-expensive trim levels.

Tying a safety feature to a convenience option seems unnecessary.

Fit in the market

It seems hatchbacks have grown more popular in recent years. I specifically like hatchbacks because, their looks aside, they're able to fit 10 pounds of stuff into a five-pound package. The Fit is one of the best at that.

The Fiesta is hot on its heels with climbing sales, and rightfully so. Like the Fit, it's an excellent overall package. Shoppers should consider these two small hatchbacks the cream of the crop. Choose the Fit Sport for its spacious passenger and cargo room, but look elsewhere if you need a comfortable, quiet ride.

Snapshot:

Starting MSRP $15,100--$16,860 MPG City: 27 -- 28 Highway: 33 -- 35

Available Engines 117-hp, 1.5-liter I-4 (regular gas)

Transmissions 5-speed manual w/OD 5-speed automatic w/OD 5-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual

New or Notable * Aggressive styling * 1.5-liter four-cylinder * Stability system standard on all models * Paddle shifters (automatic) * USB input for MP3 players and flash drives

What We Like * Standard stability system * Standard antilock brakes * Standard side-impact and side curtain airbags * Versatile folding backseat * Fuel economy

What We Don't * Drum rear brakes * Only offered in hatchback form

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