Which Is The Better Highway Car? - 2009 Honda Fit and Suzuki SX4 Long-Term Road Test

2009 Honda Fit Long-Term Road Test

2009 Honda Fit and Suzuki SX4: Which Is The Better Highway Car?

May 14, 2009


A few weeks ago, my esteemed coworker "Bono" Sadlier wrote that he thought our long-term Suzuki SX4 was a quieter and smoother car on the freeway than our Honda Fit. I raised a Spock-ish eyebrow at that, as I wasn't sure I agreed. Can you really trust a guy who recreates U2 album photos in his spare time?

To gain a better perspective, Sadlier and I took out the SX4 and the Fit on Monday for a quick 25-mile comparison drive on Los Angeles' 405 freeway.

Almost immediately, we determined that the SX4 was the more agreeable car in terms of ride quality. While the Fit was busy and firm-riding on the 405's less-than-stellar concrete, the SX4 was much more composed. Sadlier even mumbled something about a Germanic feeling of solidity.

The SX4's gearing was also noticeably taller, as he noted in that earlier post, allowing it to cruise in top (fourth) gear at about 700 rpm less than what the Fit was doing in fifth gear. Consequently, you can't hear the SX4's engine at speed, whereas the Fit's engine drones audibly above 70 mph. In terms of road and wind noise, though, we thought the cars were about equal in a sort of "noisy but still acceptable" sort of way, and our test numbers for the Fit and SX4 seem to back that up .

Josh also wrote in his San Diego post that he liked the SX4's steering more than the Fit's, though his impressions were based solely on highway driving. The Suzuki's steering does provide a notable amount of meaty stability to the car on the highway, but it seems to be a result of a strong self-centering tendency; if you drive through corners in the SX4, the steering can feel artificially springy. If you take twisty roads into account, I'd say the Fit's got more enjoyable overall steering.

Even so, the SX4 surprised me here a little. For highway driving, it edges out the Fit.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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