The first Japanese hatchback I ever loved was a borrowed, battered 1978 Honda Accord CVCC. It was punchy and raw, light as a laundry basket and it loved to be tossed into a dusty bend and coaxed back out. It was just the thing for a teenaged-hack Stig Blomqvist with more hormones than money, and I returned it reluctantly, a changed not-quite man.
Fast-forward a few hundred years. The first-generation Honda Fit arrived in the US in 2006 with a similar agile, connected feel. Refined, well-appointed and put together like a German microscope, the subcompact had a coltish charm recalling all the late-70s Japanese cars critics of the time termed "energetic," "peppy" and, well, "coltish," condescension pistols set on stun.
Time marches onward, and the colt's grown into a fine ridgling. That, if you're wondering, is a non-castrated male horse, four years or more, with an undescended testicle. Hats off to you, Wikipedia.
The 2009 Fit may have matured, but it hasn't been neutered. It's still got plenty of pep and it's an even better value than before. It's larger, easier to use, and more likely to replace a bigger, thirstier car in daily rotation. It's still got the best entry-level build quality this side of a Philippe Starck steam iron and can seduce 10 cups of coffee at a time into its clutches. Tally ho!
If the Fit has lost anything, it's a certain feeling of youthful abandon. That's owed chiefly to several upgrades executed with an eye toward attracting older buyers downsizing from larger cars, a hopeful addition to the younger buyers traditionally seeking out entry-level cars, in between sips of XO energy beverage.
The new model doesn't crack out of the gate like a line drive, but more thoughtfully, like a sprinter executing a 50-yard dash. Make that a 25-yard dash. While more powerful this year, at 117 hp (up from 109 hp), the 1.5-liter, four-cylinder naturally runs out of go earlier than the two-liter peppermill in the larger Civic. Torque is up slightly, from 105 pounds-feet to 106. All of that is enough to counter a slight bump in weight. The typically sublime Honda stick shift with near-perfect throws is still the best way to manipulate the Fit's power band, but a five-speed automatic with paddle shifters works just fine.
The new Fit's also quieter, owing to a more strenuous noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) program. As well, someone's dialed back some of the steering quickness at dead-center position so coffee-drinking drivers can pilot single-handedly. Things sharpen up at higher speeds, thanks to a well-sorted power-assist system atop a reworked rack-and-pinion setup. Just as well, a more pliant suspension has reduced impact on peak-earning-years posteriors. Overall, the urgency knob's been turned down a click, but none too alienating.
The '09 Fit shares a recognizable visual attitude with the previous model, but it's actually gotten a ground-up redesign. It's gained nearly two inches of wheelbase to 98.4 inches and just over four inches in length to 153.5 inches. Overall, it's 0.8 inch wider than before, with 1.4 inches more at the front track and 1.2 inches wider at the rear.
A centrally located fuel tank is still key to the Fit's interior spaciousness, part of an approach Honda calls "Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum." That's not a lost Isaac Asimov novel; it means the primary engineering goal was to maximize space for people by reducing how much space the machinery takes up. The longer wheelbase best represents in rear-seat legroom, up 1.6 inches. Cargo space sums to a generous 14.2 cubic feet.
The windshield's been cantered forward a perceptible 4.7 inches, adding to the front-seat roominess. A set of tri-sided windows now cut through at each of the front corners, improving visibility that had been hampered by the previous model's profuse A-pillars. They make both changing lanes and setting up cornering position far easier than the old "point and pray" system.
The rear cargo area is even easier to negotiate for 2009, with a one-handed seat adjustment system, the function of an altered rear head-rest design that allows direct fold-down.
And finally, there's the part of the spec sheet that's kept prospective buyers lining up, thousands deep, at Honda dealerships lately. The 2009 Fit manual turns in gas-mileage figures of 27 city and 33 highway (the autobox scores even higher at 28 city / 35 highway, with the Sport model slightly lower thanks to the increased resistance of cool wheels and body kit). Seems like old times.
UPDATE: Forgot to mention. New for 2009, Fit buyers will get the option of electronic stability control. They'll have to spring for the top-of-the-line model, however, which includes nav system, for $17,910 (manual) or $18,760 (automatic). Base model starts at $14,550.
Take a look inside, here.
The first Fit was a bit of a style disaster, I would say.
Earlier this year, I was looking for a new car. After spending few weeks just browsing around all dealers on all brands, I came to the following conclusion about economic cars: The cheaper on gas they go, the less attractive they are.
And this is of course refering to the young generation. Young people are looking for cars that are not too expensive, cheap on gas but also, that look good.
The Fit lacked the look (even with the sports package(added side skirts,spoiler,rims)) that a lot of youngsters (including me) are looking for.
Forgot to add that the new 09 version looks like a car I would consider buying. They fixed the design and made it more sporty. Props.
Personally, I found the previous Fit to be so ugly that is was actually handsome. The new one looks OK, but has lost a lot of character.
As for both the old one and the new one, mileage in the range of 27/33 mpg isn't all that impressive.
Give us a diesel that gets 60-70 mpg.
I don't understand why the fit does not get better mileage. It weighs less than the civic and has a 1.5 liter vs. 2.0 liter engine and gets worse mileage. This car should be getting in the mid to upper 40s on the highway. I like the styling fine but would not buy this car with such mediocre mileage.
Yes, why doesn't the Fit get better mileage indeed! My '04 Accord is a 34 mpg performer on the highway, and has much more power and room. This car seems to have an identity crisis. Economy car? Sorta. Sporty car? Sorta. Roomy car? Sorta. Ok Honda, what purpose does this car serve? The Civic used to do much of what this one does, until it got larger, heavier, more expensive, and more refined. Does anyone see a pattern here?
Considering that this is Popular Science, most of you may want to look at fueleconomy.gov to understand EPA testing requirement and changes before whining about MPG. Of course design is subjective, but if you wanted a Ferrai or Porshe then go get one. But for the rest that would need to look at subcompact the 2009 Honda Fit seems to be above average for the cars in it's class.
Having owned one Honda car or another throughout my life: CRV, Pilot, Integra (Acura) and deciding to purchase a Honda Fit last month, I find the Fit, although not the best looking in design, provides amazing handling and lots of space. Not only is it fun to drive, it is roomy enough for 5 and cargo space is magically large!
MPG increase with thoughtful driving. Abrupt breaking and speeding will bring those numbers down. Driving in the country we can get almost 40MPG driving 60MPH on average. City numbers range between 29MPG and 33MPG. Best part is not having to visit the gas station as often, and better yet, a $20-bill will fill the tank!
In the later part last year, many car companies declared bankruptcy that it cause panic to the people not only in the USA but also around the world. Luckily, the car industry had already recovered from the crisis. According to economist, the economy is getting better now. But the people do not believe for the economy is still the same, they thought. The unemployment rate is still high. Well, they are hoping that before the end of this year, they would have their job again. The time is so tough and we can’t deny the fact that money matters in this world. Well, from our experience, it isn't easy to get financing from banks, especially if you don't have perfect credit – and they don't want to finance anyone unless they're so rich they don't need any financing – and that's why some people look into installment loans for bad credit. Installment loans for bad credit mean loans that come with a plan for multiple payments – and it could mean anything from a large-scale business loan or mortgage, to a short term loan to float you in between paydays. There are online lenders out there – if you need a company that can direct deposit the funds quickly. There are plenty of companies that offer installment loans for bad credit that you can apply for a loan through. Please visit this site to read more: http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2009/08/31/installment-loans-bad-credit-quickly-easily/
It seems we are all interested in the car, everyone has commented so many of them and I think that the same people
The Honda with its lower price tag is won of the most favored vehicles on the market. It is always stylish and has always handled the road well. This vehicle appears to be keeping up with the "Jones" with it cool exterior, great fixtures and the ever demanding fuel efficient tank will ensure the Honda remains in the top end of sale able vehicles.
currently this car is my dream car... high technology engine, fuel save, nice design...
This blog makes me realize the energy of words and pictures. As always your things are just gorgeous and I am grateful that you let us look in! Keep coming up with ideas