Between the Honda Fit and the Toyota Yaris exists a difference of about seven inches in total length, a significant amount, especially when it comes to sub-compacts. So in a comparison of the two it raises the question, does the Yaris make up for its lack of length with other attributes, or does the Fit’s size render it a more useful small car?
|1. The Honda Fit is powered by a 1.5-liter Four-cylinder engine that makes 117 hp and 106 lb-ft of torque.
2. Fuel economy is rated at 28/35/31 city/highway/combined.
3. 2013 Honda Fits start at $15,425 before delivery.
Well, the storyline that exists between these two starts with the powertrains. Both cars run small four-cylinder engines, with the Fit’s plant making 117 hp at 6600 RPM and 106 lb-ft of torque at 4800 RPM, while the Yaris just lags behind with 106 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque, made at 6000 RPM and 4200 RPM. With automatic transmissions, the Fit has a one-cog advantage over the Yaris, with an old four-speed – though both are rather outdated in a world of six-speed autos. Around town the two engines feel about the same at take off, though on the highway cruising speeds the Fit has more get up and go than the Yaris.
At its base level the Yaris is offered with a five-speed manual, just like the Fit. With that five-speed box, the little Toyota would likely feel much more suited to the Fit power wise, especially considering it weighs in about 200 lbs. less than the Honda. The five-speed manual in the Yaris is definitely the transmission to get, as having only four speeds leads to unnatural driving feel and poor fuel economy.
|1. The Toyota Yaris is powered by a 1.5-liter Four-cylinder engine that makes 106 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque.
2. Fuel economy is rated at 30/35/31 city/highway/combined.
3. 2013 Toyota Yaris starts at $14,115 before delivery.
With a manual transmission, the Fit gets an EPA rating of 27/33/29 city/highway/combined, while with the automatic it improves slightly to 28/35/31. The Yaris tells a different story with better numbers all around. The manual transmission is rated at 30/38/33, while the automatic edges out the Honda with 30/35/32.
In real world testing, the automatic Fit proved the EPA right, with an overall rating of 32 mpg after a week of mixed driving, while the automatic Yaris disappointed with an average 29 mpg. Again, that five-speed manual in the Yaris seems to be the ticket to better fuel economy as well, as the four-speed auto is simply dated, and in bad need of an update.
So the Honda Fit manages better fuel economy, a more engaging engine, and an extra seven inches that feels like a lot more, especially when you have whiny back seat passengers. Honda offers 34.5 inches of rear-seat legroom, while the Yaris stays close behind offering 33.3 inches for rear-seat passengers. While passenger room is almost equal, total storage space falls in favor of the Fit, with an expansive 57.3 cubic feet of total cargo volume available with the seats folded down.
In the Fit, you can quickly forget about the size of the vehicle, because of the clever use of space. There is flat surfaces on the dash for holding things, two center cup holders, along with small cubbies fitted for both the passenger and driver on the outside of the dash mounted vents. In the rear, the seat bottoms fold up for easy access to a flat floor, which also reveals yet another glovebox-like storage spot in the bottom of the seats.
As for interior quality, both of these subcompacts keep it simple and affordable, as both are laden with black and grey plastics, cloth seats and hard-touch surfaces, though neither one nor the other seems more lavish. Intelligent use of space in the Fit helps to make a small car feel bigger, whereas the simplicity of the Yaris keeps a small car feeling small.
As a straight no frills kind of car, the Yaris has nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to storing your items. There’s a glove box, cupholders, a small cargo spot between the front two seats, and there are door pockets; just the necessities and nothing more.
So with the Fit pulling ahead in fuel economy, engine responsiveness and storage, does its plus size hinder its driving feel?
In short, no. With a much tighter steering feel which helps the car cut in hard on turn-in, the Fit can be decent amount of fun to thrash around, where as the Yaris always feels like plain white toast bread no matter how much acceleration and driving skill you spread on it.
Of note, the Yaris (at least in base trim with the manual transmission) does offer a tighter turning circle than the Fit. Unfortunately, when fitted with larger wheels and tires in a higher-trim version that’s no longer the case.
It would seem that the Fit is the clear winner in every category, though it will hit you a little harder at the bank. Based on the fuel economy, better turning radius and more responsive engine, the base-model manual transmission equipped Yaris is the car to get, and it comes in at $14,115, more than $1,000 cheaper than the Fit’s base price of $15,425. A top spec Yaris still saves you money, pricing out at $17,100 compared to the Fit’s top trim price of $19,790.
While the Yaris remains the budget option, the Fit is both more useful and more fun. Both vehicles have something going for them, and both come from automakers with great reputations for reliability, but at the end of the day, the Honda Fit comes out on top as the better choice despite the small premium you will pay for it.