Honda Grace

Honda Grace Review: “Hats off to the exclusive packaging and rear seat comfort” by Naoki Aoyama

The long-awaited compact sedan from Honda has finally been revived. The Grace, as it has been named, will only be offered with a hybrid drivetrain.

However, don’t just look back to the past by thinking, “So the Grace is only a successor to the Fit Aria?”, a sedan which was built in a rush by basically fitting a trunk onto the first generation Fit.

Similarly, the Grace is based on the latest Fit Hybrid. However, not a single panel on the body is the same as the Fit. Comparing with the Fit Hybrid, the total length is slightly longer and the total height is lower. To allow sufficient space for the trunk, the rear overhang has been extended.

What’s interesting here is that the wheelbase is 70mm longer, coming in at 2600mm, which is notably close to the Vezel’s 2610mm.

With such an exclusive design, it has to offer greater comfort and a stylish proportion as a group 5 body size compact sedan unlike before. Unlike the short and stout Aria, the Grace gives off a cool and obedient impression.

The interior is also mostly exclusively designed. The front seat frame, gear stick circumference, and information display of the left and right meters were about the same as the Fit Hybrid’s.

The packaging is an exception, because the seating position in the front seat is set 10mm lower and 25mm towards the back. Whereas, the seating position in the rear seat was greatly moved forward but was set 20mm lower also. It’s been designed to offer more comfort for the rear passengers and the packaging does just that.

By the way, when I sat in the rear seat with my 172cm height in the driving position, although not as high as the 140mm headroom of the Fit Hybrid, the Grace’s 95mm feels rather spacious even with the lower body height. The leg room is set at 275mm exceeding the Fit Hybrid’s 265mm. Its size is its highlight since the Mercedes-Benz E-class and the BMW 5 Series sedan both have leg rooms set between 210 to 240mm. You can easily sit comfortably with your legs crossed.

Moreover, I’m impressed that the rear cabin is equipped with air conditioning outlets. Something that has never been built into the Fit, or any domestic compact sedan for that matter.

The trunk capacity is 430-liters (including the 4-liter underfloor), which is actually better than the Fit Hybrid. The rear seats can also be folded down, connecting the cargo space with the rear cabin. In doing so, it exposes the triangular component on either sides, which hold the rigidity of the chassis. Once I saw this, I was sure the car offers greater rigidity and an overall better ride feel.

Power comes from a combination of a DTC and dual clutch semi-AT with the 1.5-liter engine+1 motor the same as the Fit Hybrid. As for the fuel consumption, it is rated at 34.4km/liter, close to the Fit Hybrid’s 36.4km/liter. Besides, a 4WD model will be offered with a fuel consumption of 29.4km/liter, which is higher than the Fit Hybrid’s 4WD model, which gets 29.0km/liter. For those looking for a 4WD model in this class, that is very good news.

By the way, although you would only be able to let a dog board from the rear seat, the Grace’s ground clearance, at 590mm with its thicker cushions, is higher than the Fit Hybrid’s rear seat, which is 510mm with the dive down function; moreover, these seats lack arrangement as it emphasizes its seat texture like how the rear seat of a sedan should. However, it is still lower (at 620mm from the front and back) than the ground clearance of the luggage aperture in many other wagons. Lastly, it has a height that a dog can easily get on and off of easily by itself with a strong jump.

â–  5 Star Rating
Packaging: ★★★★★
Interior/Comfort: ★★★★★
Power Source: ★★★★
Footwork: ★★★★
Recommendation: ★★★★★
Pet-Friendliness: ★★

Naoki Aoyama | Automotive Journalist/Dog Life Journalist

He became a freelance motor journalist after working as an editor for an automotive magazine. He started as a writer to specialist on automotive magazines, then general news magazines and websites. He also worked on publication of pet (dog) and overseas travel, pet and drive-related television program as well as events. He is currently, expanding his career as a dog life producer.

(Translated by Natassia Jeronne D. Martinez)