Honda made its mark with compact cars in the 70’s and has never looked back. The Honda Civic lead the charge in the compact segment until it morphed into the mid size segment. I never have figured out why cars keep getting bigger every few years, but it always happens. When the Civic grew too big, Honda came out with the Fit, and luckily, they have left it the same size, so far.

The Fit follows the usual Honda formula. Sensible, reliable, over engineered, multitalented, and always fun to drive. This formula has worked for Honda for years, but unfortunately, for Honda, other car companies are following the same formula and catching up.

Even though the compact segment is loaded with competition, the Fit has a lot of redeeming qualities. The Fit leads the segment in usefulness courtesy of its spacious (by segment standards) interior and fold flat seats that allow for a flat load floor. The interior room seems even greater because of the abundance of windows. It may be a small car, but it doesn’t feel that way.

The 2013 Honda Fit is available in two trim levels, Fit and Fit Sport. The Sport is the one I tested and I think most buyers will want the additional goodies the Sport trim gives you. Bigger wheels, better sound system, foglamps, aggressive front and rear fascias, and a nicer steering wheel for just a few of the advantages. On a trip, the seats were comfortable, but the interior noise level is a little higher than I like. One of the tradeoffs for having such a cavernous interior I suppose.

The Fit is powered by a 117 hp, 1.5-liter I-4 engine and either a five speed manual or five speed automatic transmission. The Sport package adds paddle shifters to the automatic transmission, but I kept thinking, why? This is not a fast car. Here is a thought, Mr. Honda. Instead of paddle shifters, why not use the money on better sound deadening? Or perhaps adding a sixth gear to each transmission would be a worthwhile thing too. Just adding my two cents.

The EPA estimated that the fuel economy for my Fit Sport would be 25 city/31highway and it was pretty close. Sure would have liked an extra gear though.

Safetywise, the Fit is loaded with airbags and electronic stability and traction control. Last year, the Fit received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, and I imagine 2013 will be just as good.

The Fit is a good car for a family that can appreciate the legendary Honda reliability and versatility the Fit has to offer. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars.