This is a lesson in packaging. A family member needed a parcel picked up.

“No problem,” I said.

After all, I had a minivan, a medium-size car, a compact SUV and a Honda Fit at my disposal.

Knowing the parcel was more than six feet (180 cm) in length, I took out my trusty measuring tape and set about picking which vehicle to use.

Guess which one would accommodate my wife and I along with the parcel? The tiny little Honda Fit, a diminutive little subcompact that is bigger inside than out, or so it seems.

The 5,189-mm-long minivan was a hybrid and the second-row seats could not be folded down because the batteries occupied that space. The available length behind the second row was insufficient.

The 4,500-mm-long car had folding rear seats but not nearly enough room. The 4,600-mm-long SUV, even with the second-row seats down, could not accommodate the package.

The little Fit — a mere 4,000 mm of it — did the job because the front passenger seat could be folded down, freeing up space from the tailgate to the instrument panel. My wife was able to come along in the second row behind me.

A week later, that same lady asked me to transport a big potted plant that stood four feet (122 mm) tall. Fit to the rescue — flip up the bottom cushion of a rear seat and voilà — a clear, tall space from foot well to headliner.

The tiny five-door gets a refresh for the 2018 model year. The third generation Fit has a new look at both ends. Fortunately, all the clever packaging tricks and features were untouched. Instead, attention was focused on occupant protection and environment.

Honda’s suite of safety and driver assist features, under the Honda Sensing name, is standard equipment on all but the most basic manual-transmission model.

This includes adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation brake braking, forward collision warning, lane keep assist and lane departure warning as well as road departure mitigation. Most trim levels now come with a larger touchscreen for the infotainment system.

The new Fit is much quieter inside thanks to a more rigid structure, different mounts for the steering and transmission, additional acoustic insulation and thicker laminated glass.

The little devil has always been a delight to toss around — even more now because of that stiffer structure. That allows the steering and suspension systems mounted on it, to do what they were designed for without having to allow for body flex. The Fit is surprisingly comfortable on nasty roads, despite its diminutive weight and wheelbase.

You won’t win any drag races. With heavy emphasis on fuel economy and only 113 lb.-ft. of torque, the Fit struggles a bit when attempting to pass, especially on long grades. The flip side is awesome fuel mileage. I frequently witnessed numbers in the five and six litres/100 km range on the highway and less than eight in the city.

The Honda Fit may cast a small shadow, but it is a giant inside.

The specs

  • Model: 2018 Honda Fit EX-L Navi
  • Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, 128 horsepower, 113 lb.-ft. of torque, regular fuel
  • Transmission: continuously variable automatic
  • NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 7.6 / 6.5
  • Length: 4,000 mm
  • Width: 1,694 mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,530 mm
  • Weight: 1,203 kg
  • Price: $14,300 base, $23,900 as tested, plus freight
  • Standard equipment on EX-L Navi: collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot display, power moon roof, tilt and telescope steering column, automatic climate control, Hands-Free link, voice-activated display audio with navigation, rear-view camera, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, push button start, cruise control, heated front seats, leather seats, six-speaker, 180-watt audio system with 12-cm display, wireless streaming audio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Siri hands-free compatibility, text message function and satellite radio