A refresh and new model enhances the Fit's reputation as one of the best subcompacts on the market.

AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR COMPANY - The Honda Fit has always been one of the best looking subcompacts, and the new front end, side body trim and black wheels punch up the new Sport version even more.Honda has refreshed its subcompact Fit for 2018 and introduced a new Sport model with special front and rear ends and unique interior trim.

While that may not sound like much, the fact that Honda has spent any money on the Fit is worth noting. Car sales have declined in recent years as consumers have moved over to larger crossover SUVs. The subcompact market has been the hardest hit, with at least a couple of manufacturers dropping their models.

But Honda figures it can still generate interest in the Fit, and for good reason. First introduced in 2008, it was and still is one of the best subcompacts on the market. The exterior is sharply chilsed, the interior is surprisingly roomy, and the mileage is hard to beat — up to 40 miles per gallon, depending on version.

AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR COMPANY - The clean interior of the 2018 Honda Fit Sport is accented by orange stitching.And it is incredibly affordable, just a little over $17,000 for the entry level version and not that much more for the base Sport version, which also includes black 16-inch wheels, a chrome exhaust tip and more. The top-of-the-line EX-L version starts at under $22,000.

Also worth noting is the ability to add the Honda Sensing safety system to all trim levles. It includes lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigating braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and road departure warning. That's more than some luxury brands offer.

What the Fit doesn't have is much punch, just 130 ponies from most powerful version of its stingy 1.5-liter inline four cylinder engine. So don't expect it to be bargain basement version of the hot Civic R or even the sporty Si.

AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR COMPANY - Rear seat room is surprisingly roomy in the 2018 Honda Fit Sport.Fortunately, our Sport test version came with a slick shifting six-speed manual transmission that allowed us to maximize it performance, which is helped by good handling and precise steering. The front bucket seats were also comfortable and suppotive.

One secret to the Fit's success became apparent when we happened to park next to a new Honda Civic compact. The Fit was visibly taller, which helps explain why it has so much interior room for such a small car — including in the rear seat. But it also replicated the Civic's recently redesigned sport lines, which is why it looks so good.

Despite all that, buyers are passing over the Fit and other subcompacts in favor of larger — and in many case, much larger — vehicles because of the improved economy and continuing low gas prices. That's understandable. Who doesn't want to let the good time roll, as the song says?

AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR COMPANY - The 1.5-liter inline four cylinder engine in the 2018 Honda Fit Sport gets up to 40 miles per gallon.But what does down (gas prices, interest rates) will inevitable go up, making subcompacts attractive again — especially for those who got good deals when demand was low. Then as now, the 2018 Honda Fit should be considered one of the best buys on the market.

2018 Honda Fit Sport

Base price: $17,065

Price as tested: $18,390 (including shipping)

Style: Subcompact hatchback

Engine: 1.5-liter 4 (130 hp, 114 lbs-ft)

Transmissions: 6-speed manual (as tested); Continuously Variable

EPA fuel economy: 29/36 (as tested)

Length: 161.4 inches

Weight: 2650 pounds

Final assembly: Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico

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