2009 Honda Fit
The 2009 Honda Fit can only conjure up clichés with its aptly applied name: its excellent fuel economy fits in with today's high gas prices, its petite body at just 161.6 inches fits well in urban environments and its 117 horsepower won't be ill-fitting on highway roads. In all seriousness, the Fit – oh, we’re just going to say it – fits! When it first debuted in the US in 2006, the pint-sized Fit packed a big punch and has been a sales leader for Honda. Now, with its 2009 redesign, the second-generation Fit has our heads spinning – with joy, that is. The increase in horsepower, more upscale options like navigation and a much-improved transmission means the Fit has once again hit the nail on the head.
What's to Like
Fuel economy, something coveted in our current climate, is still great despite not improving over the 2008 model. The compact styling fits five passengers comfortably, and easier folding for the rear seats give you additional cargo room with just a pull of a lever.
What's Not to Like
The rear seats aren't cushioned enough to make long roads trips feels any shorter. Stability assist isn't standard and only an option on the Sport trim. The Fit's engine struggles up steep hills, during which your foot will have to remain firmly planted on the floor.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
This subcompact car blows away others in its class when comparing steering and handling. A tighter steering ratio translates into easy cornering and less effort on the twisty back roads. Improved suspension and an added rear stabilizer on the Sport trim give the Fit better handling than we've previously experienced. For cars with limited but economy-conscious engines, we always feel the manual transmission best demonstrates the engine's full range of power. Honda's Fit is no exception, with the manual letting you control the punch with silky smooth gearshifts. The automatic doesn't disappoint though. You'll notice sluggish shifts at times but for around town the transmission feels fluid and dynamic. Honda has increased the wheel sizes for the Fit - the base is kitted out with 15-inch wheels and the Sport features 16-inch ones. That said, road noise on the 16s is slight, but not noticeably more than others in its class. All in all, and despite its small size, the Fit proves to be an impressive road warrior.
Engine and Drivetrain
2009's Fit features a 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine. It produces 117 horsepower and 106 lb-ft of torque for the base and Sport trim, an increase over the previous model’s 109 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque. The front-wheel drive car comes with either a five-speed manual or automatic transmission.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
The Magic Seat system continues to wow us. Within the Fit, you are able to fold the rear seats in multiple configurations, as well as fold the passenger seat down flat. That oddly shaped, lumpy chair you've wanted to take to Goodwill for months? No problem now. The base Fit has plenty of features to keep most drivers satisfied: an auxiliary audio input jack, air conditioning, power windows and locks and a tilting, telescoping steering wheel to name a few. However, the Sport trim adds comfort with the likes of cruise control, a driver's armrest, controls on the leather-wrapped steering wheel and paddle shifters on the automatic.
Key Technology Evaluation
For the first time, the Fit is available with Honda's navigation system, quite a coup for an entry-level model. The navigation system features voice recognition and an integrated iPod interface combined with a 6.5-inch touch screen. The base Fit features a four-speaker, 160-watt audio system with a CD player and auxiliary jack for MP3 players. The Fit Sport bumps the speaker number to six – more than enough to get the bass shaking in this diminutive car.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
The ULEV-II emissions rated Fit is the ultimate fuel-sipper, sharing that elusive echelon with just the smallest of cars on the road and even most hybrids. The automatic receives 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway in the Sport trim and 28 city, 35 highway in the base trim. The manual, thanks to different gear ratios, gets 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. These numbers, while still excellent, fell by one mpg in some areas due to the power increase and, depending on the trim, between roughly 50 and 100 lbs of added weight over the previous generation.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
Looking at the previous model, you'd never think Honda could squeeze even more interior space out of the Fit, but of course, they've managed to. Passengers have half an inch more headroom and almost an inch more rear legroom. Courtesy of the Magic Seat system, there is a max cargo capacity of 57 cubic feet. And we dare you to fill the ten cup holders found throughout the cabin.
Some photographic angles make the large windshield and blended front hood smack of mini-van styling. Rest assured that this isn't the case when you see it in person. Quarter windows in the A-pillars have tripled in size to provide better visibility, and the Fit looks sportier than ever with its larger wheels and more forward-tilting stance. Striking bodylines give it an edgy look, too. It's grown up, but in a good way.
Market Segment and Pricing
The Fit, first debuting in 2006, is part of a growing class of reasonably priced subcompact cars. The base model starts at $14,550 for the manual, $15,350 for the auto. The Fit Sport, with many additional trimmings, still enters the field at $16,060 for the manual and $16,910 for the auto. If you’re looking to get the navigation system it’ll set you back $17,910 or $18,760. As of late 2008, the Fit goes up against the $11,550 Toyota Yaris
and $15,250 Toyota Corolla
, $12,990 Nissan Versa
and $15,320 Scion xD
. Debuting in the next few cycles are some heavyweights like the European-designed Ford Fiesta (2010), the previously Japan-only Nissan Cube (2009) and the Suzuki Swift (2011).
What We Think
We’re a monkey’s uncle if they don’t sell a lot more than their estimated 85,000 U.S. sales. The Fit grabs the attention of everyone from first-time buyers just out of college to their empty nesters looking for a smaller second car to zip around town. With gas prices remaining at astronomical levels, this car is just what the doctor ordered.