2015 Honda Fit EX-L

The Honda Fit EX-L has a CVT.

The Honda Fit EX-L has a CVT.

That’s “continuously variable transmission.”

Generally, transmissions aren’t that noticeable in cars. Unless, of course, it is a manual, which means that probably about 95% of the population can’t or won’t drive the car.

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The whole thing about CVTs is that instead of conventional gears, there are metal bands. The bands are on pulleys that move in and out, so that the most appropriate gearing is achieved for purposes of fuel economy.

And the Honda Fit EX-L, which has a 1.5-liter, 130-hp I4, gets good fuel economy. As in 32 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 35 mpg combined.

The CVT contributes to that.

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Well, that and the fact that it is a subcompact hatch.

Generally, I don’t pay a great deal of attention to transmissions when driving a car. Unless, of course, it is a manual and I have to be more conscious of the fundamental act of driving. Otherwise, it is, well, automatic.

But I did notice the CVT in the Fit too much. Or maybe it wasn’t the CVT in and of itself, but the entire powertrain.

And it just gave me the sense that I was hoping like mad that it would hurry up and get its job done so that I could go faster than it was moving me. The sense of “c’mon, c’mon, c’mon.”

Let me point out that I like small cars. I particularly like hatches.

Conceptually, I like the Fit.

And I even bought a Honda lawnmower this year, so know that I am invested in Honda engine technology. (I bought a human-propelled version, so I can’t attest to how well the transmission works in the mower.)

But I was not particularly taken with the powertrain in the Fit.

But perhaps I am not thinking about the car in the right context.

Were you thinking of buying a car for a student, particularly a college student who may have a bunch of stuff to schlep to the dorm/apartment and back, then bingo! This fits the bill. (Unintended pun.)

There’s the aforementioned fuel efficiency. And then there is a massive amount of cargo capacity.

The Fit offers 16.7-cu. ft. of cargo volume with the rear seats up. And an amazing 52.7-cu. ft. with the rear seats down.

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By way of comparison, know that the trunk of the Honda Accord Sedan handles 15.8-cu. ft., and I’ve not heard anyone complain that the Accord is stingy with space.

The interior materials are student-friendly as well. There are soft-touch plastics. And yet there are also some, well, “plastic” plastics. You know what I mean.

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This is a car that is nicely styled, but is engineered to be nicely priced, too, with the MSRP of the Fit EX-L being $19,800. (There is only one trim level above that, which is the EX-L with Navi, which has an MSRP of $20,800, and I suspect that people might simply opt for a Garmin and save $800.)

That whole acceleration thing is actually a benefit vis-à-vis the student transport approach.

Selected specs

Engine: 1.5-liter, DOHC, iVTEC I4

Horsepower: 130 @ 6,600 rpm

Torque: 114 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm

Materials: Aluminum block and head

Transmission: Continuously variable

Steering: Electric-power assisted rack-and-pinion

Wheelbase: 99.6 in.

Length: 160 in.

Width: 70.9 in.

Height: 60 in.

Seating capacity: 5

Passenger volume: 95.7 cu. ft.

EPA: mpg city/highway/combined: 32/38/35 mpg