2009 Honda Fit Sport: Talented, but Needs Torque
April 13, 2009
The more I drive the Fit, the more I wonder if most of us need more car than this. The Fit will probably handle 90 percent of what 90 percent of us need in a car day-to-day. An impressive piece, all is not perfect in this wildly versatile and frugal little wedge. The electronic throttle definitely needs some recalibration, as it tends to hang on to revs, and is too sensitive when getting underway, often resulting in some high-revving histrionics when all you wanted was a reasonably swift stop-light launch.
The little 1.5-liter four-cylinder feels peppy when unladen (aided by the Fit's low weight, you can carry impressive speed into corners as you cane this frisky little pod), and the annoying e-throttle actually tends to help with rev-matched downshifts. With five adults on-board however, 106 lb-ft of torque suddenly feels completely inadequate when trying to hustle the Fit up a short, steep onramp to anything approaching freeway speeds. Once up to speed, road noise is also excessive, not uncommon on Hondas, and an obvious trade-off for light weight. The lack of sound deadening does not make the Fit a first choice for long freeway stretches, a prejudice compounded by its slightly nervous high-speed demeanor.
Those same traits pay dividends on surface streets, and as an errand-running star in your personal fleet, the Fit is practically unmatched. I can only imagine how sweet the Fit could be with a torquey little turbo-diesel engine and a more hunkered down and stability enhancing sport suspension. The rumor mill is saying we can expect an upcoming hybrid version of the Fit, but I'd hate to see any new proulsion system that has a weight penalty. For what's real and available now, the Fit continues to impress, but would you "Jazz" it up with a hybrid's torque/weight, a larger Civic motor or an oil-burner?
Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor, @4910 miles