Cars.com just bought a 2015 Honda Fit, and we’ll spend the next year charting gas mileage, reliability, driving impressions and everything else that emerges in the life of our redesigned Honda hatchback.
The launch of the 2015 Fit suffered some unfortunate timing. It’s one of the most efficient non-hybrid cars you can buy, with EPA combined mileage as high as 36 mpg. But it went on sale in spring 2014, just before gas prices started a six-month plunge. Sales have been steady, but Automotive News reports that Fit inventory has ballooned past industry averages since November, and there’s no sign the glut will shrink.
That gave us a lot of cars to choose from. As of May 18, Cars.com had more than 11,500 Fit hatchbacks in its new-car inventory, including 413 within 40 miles of our Chicago offices. Despite the oversupply and the then-nearing Memorial Day weekend, which is a popular time for sale events, Honda hadn’t issued any factory or dealer incentives on the 2015 Fit.
Choosing a Trim
Of the 2015 Fit’s three trims (LX, EX and EX-L), more than two-thirds of local inventory were the midlevel EX model, which adds keyless access and push-button start, Honda’s LaneWatch blind-spot camera, 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights and a 7-inch touch-screen stereo with an HDMI port, Pandora compatibility and a HondaLink multimedia system. That would give us plenty of technology to evaluate. Most local EX examples had continuously variable automatic transmissions, a configuration that boosted EPA combined mileage to an impressive 35 mpg. We wanted to report how easy (or hard) it would be to get that, so we settled on an EX with the CVT.
Our prospective model came to $19,180, including a destination fee. Add 9.5 percent sales tax to register the Fit at Cars.com’s downtown Chicago offices, plus Illinois’ state-capped doc fee ($168) and the electronic filing and license transfer fees, and the out-the-door price on a Fit EX with a CVT should be about $21,330.
We wanted something that wasn’t black, white or silver. And we thought, given the deals we’d negotiated so far (8.6 percent off a 2014 Jeep Cherokee and nearly 14 percent off a 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300) we’d try to land a Fit EX for less than $20,000 out the door.
We got to work.
Dark blue, or Aegean Blue Metallic paint as Honda calls it, was our favorite and readily available, so we started there. We found three such Fit EX cars at suburban Honda dealerships around Chicago and contacted the dealers. Within hours, each dealership emailed us an Internet offer. One salesman quoted us $20,349 out the door. Another said he could do $20,294. A third wanted $21,686 because his Fit EX had $599 in accessories.
We still wanted to make our budget. We told each dealer we were looking for something closer to $19,000 and asked if they could come closer.
They all balked.
Back to the Drawing Board
We went back to look at the inventory. What about a red or yellow Fit? There were plenty in stock. We reached out with the same questions.
After talking to several dealerships, $19,720 was the new price to beat. We sent that number over to a west-side saleswoman who thought she could beat an earlier offer by $500. Could she do that here? Finally, her sales manager came back with an answer: He couldn’t do $19,220, but he could do $19,400. That was 9 percent off the full price. We decided it wasn’t bad for a fresh redesign with no factory incentives, so we agreed to it.
The rest of the process played out with no big surprises. We test-drove a red Fit the next day, put down a deposit by week’s end and took delivery on Friday, May 29.
We plan to own our Fit for about a year. How will the multimedia system hold up? Is Honda’s LaneWatch camera useful or just a gimmick? What sort of gas mileage will we get? Are there any reliability concerns?
We’ll report on all of that and more, so stay tuned. Check out the gallery below.