• Image Credit: Honda
We're accustomed to hearing the phrase "do more with less" and thinking the worst.

In the depths of the recession, it was the crutch of every middle manager who laid off employees, then attempted to motivate those who remained to up their workload. At its best, it's an uninspired rallying cry. Do more with less? A sure sign you're about to be asked to do the impossible.

Given that backdrop, some skepticism is understandable when we say Honda has taken the Fit, perhaps already its most thrifty vehicle, and done more with less. Relax that raised eyebrow. In this case, that's a very good thing.

The automaker unveiled the latest generation of this subcompact stalwart last month, and its overall length shrank by 1.6 inches compared to the previous generation. At the same time, Honda has increased the available legroom by a whopping 4.8 inches. Many subcompact cars feel like sardine cans, so this is a remarkable exception and a tremendous feat of more-with-less engineering.

Spaciousness is just one of several reasons why we really like the '15 Honda Fit. This car has a starting price of less than $16,000, offers tons of versatility in a small package and sips fuel as well as many hybrids. For car shoppers looking for a bargain, this is hands-down one of the best values on the market.

It's not without its blemishes, but read on and you'll find out why we like this car so much.

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The Basics

Sticker Price: $15,525 - $20,800.

Invoice Price: $15,120 - $19,262

Engine: 1.5 liter I-4

Performance: 115 horsepower, 114 pound-feet of torque.

Transmission: CVT in base trim level. Six-speed manual available in LX and EX trim levels.

Fuel Economy: 33 mpg city, 41 mpg highway with models equipped with the CVT; 29 mpg city, 37 mpg highway on models equipped with six-speed manual transmission.

Seating: Five people

Cargo Capacity: 52.7 cubic feet

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Interior

Honda has doubled down on what was already its strength, and made a strong interior even better, a spacious interior even larger.

For starters, the Fit offers copious amounts of rear legroom: 4.8 inches more than the previous version. Thirty-nine-point-three inches overall. To put this in perspective, this is more room than any poor soul stuck in coach would get on any airline. Believe it or not, the Fit offers more room than what's available in the Honda Accord.

On our test drive, I took some time to sit in the rear seats. Even with the driver's seat pushed to its rear limit, my 6-foot-1 frame had a terrific amount of room to spare. Rear-seated passengers would be very comfortable in the Fit on a long road trip.

Not carrying passengers? With the rear seats folded down, the Fit offers 52.7 cubic feet of storage. By comparison, the Ford Fiesta offers 25.4 cubic feet. Bottom line: No subcompact car packs more versatility than the Honda Fit.

If there's further improvement needed, it's comes in the decibel level – compared to its peers, the Fit's cabin is noisy. We'd also like to see an armrest added to the right side of the driver's seat.

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Tech And Infotainment

By and large, Honda has improved the infotainment system in the Fit from its dated predecessor. It works the way it is intended, it's generally easy to figure out and we experienced no glitches during our time behind the wheel. This is more than we can say for many of its competitors.

Yet, like many competitors, Honda has gone overboard in choosing flash over function.

All the controls for changing the volume and changing the radio station are on the dashboard touchscreen. This may seem nice in theory, but in practice, it's difficult to press the buttons with any degree of precision while driving. So a simple task like changing the volume becomes a frustrating and awkward experience, not to mention a distraction from driving.

It'd be nice to see Honda and other automakers bring back the simple, unappreciated knob.

One new technology we do enjoy in the Fit is Honda's Lane Watch. From a video camera mounted in the right-side mirror, drivers can see a real-time feed of right-lane traffic, which is helpful in steering clear of other cars, pedestrians and bicyclists. The live feed appears on a dash-mounted screen, and is activated when the right-turn blinker is activated.

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Bottom Line

In designing the latest generation of the Fit, Honda has built upon its strengths.

It was known as a subcompact car that provided large amounts of space. Engineers have made it even roomier. It was known as a car that provided good gas mileage. Honda has made it even more fuel efficient. It was known as a good value. And now it looks like one of the best bargains across the auto industry.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that the previous-generation Fit received a "poor" ranking on the small-front overlap crash test administered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The '15 has yet to be tested. Subcompact cars as a whole have not fared well on that particular crash test, so the Fit is not necessarily behind its peers, and it has performed better on other crash tests.

Overall, the Fit has clearly been at the front of the subcompact class. All of the changes have made a good car better, and if anything, put more distance between the Fit and its competitors.

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