2009 Honda Fit Long-Term Road Test

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: The Real Deal

February 09, 2010

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Call me old fashioned, but I often find inexpensive cars refreshing for their familiarity and simplicity. Here's a perfect example of that ethos. To go with its basic HVAC controls, honest approach to utility and straightforward efficiency, the Fit has a real spare tire.

That's a real spare tire, a real jack and a real lug wrench. All good things when a real driver gets a real flat in a really isolated place.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor @ 21,302 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Visit to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

January 28, 2010

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No, we didn't take our long-term 2009 Honda Fit Sport on the track, just to the track.

As nice a runabout as the Fit is around town, I wouldn't want to take it around the Andretti hairpin.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Happy 20,000 (or so) Miles

January 27, 2010

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We missed the celebratory photo honoring our 2009 Honda Fit at the 20,000-mile mark, so please enjoy this image of 20,852 miles instead.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Cross-Country Travel

January 27, 2010

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Just back from a trip to the Bay Area over the weekend. Great time to drive after all the recent rain. Bright sun and lots of snow on the mountains that circle the basin.

In fact, there was so much snow that I went up U.S. 101 to avoid any potential slowdowns on snowy Interstate 5 up on top of the mountains through the Grapevine. Of course even when I cut over from U.S. 101 at Santa Barbara to the old stagecoach road across San Marcos Pass, the mountains on the other side of the Santa Ynez Valley even had a dusting of snow.

It was a great weekend to drive the old El Camino Real. Hardly anybody on the road, for California, anyway. Took the Honda Fit. For which am widely thought to be insane.

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: One Trip Per Customer, Please

January 27, 2010

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On long road trips, I nearly always use both A and B trip odometers. One to track mileage between fill-ups and the other to record the distance of the overall trip.

No A/B option for the Honda Fit. It has but one.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 19,787 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: No Nose

January 26, 2010

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Which car doesn't, uh, Fit?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 19,585 miles

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2009 Honda Fit: Making It Less Adorable

January 26, 2010

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I like the way our 2009 Honda Fit accelerates, shifts, steers, handles and reconfigures its rear seats. And most of the time, I am fine with the fact that this is a terminally cute car.

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Reverse Issue Part II?

January 04, 2010

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This seems to be a new development in our 2009 Honda Fit Sport but sometimes when shifting into Reverse, the gearshift doesn't snick into place all the way so no go. I've taken to putting it in Neutral and letting the car roll a bit until I can push the gear all the way into place. Another editor suggested putting the car in 1st gear then in Reverse.

I know this has happened in other cars but just figured it's worth mentioning considering our previous Fit had an issue with Reverse.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 18,547 miles

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2009 Honda Fit: Blue Skies Ahead

December 17, 2009

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On beautiful days like today, you really appreciate the Fit's relatively big greenhouse. The car has a really airy cabin -- those portholes may look kinda dorky, but all that glass makes it easy to enjoy the view. Views of pretty blue skies. And *sigh* surrounding traffic.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Automated Rear Wiper

December 15, 2009

By some aligning of the stars, Kurt and I both happened to fixate on the wipers in our 2009 Honda Fit Sport. And I agree with him, our Fit does have puny front windshield wipers and you can't manually vary the intermittent interval, either.

And so I was caught off-guard when I noticed this neat-o convenience during a weekend of steady rain. When you shift to reverse while the front wipers are on, the rear wiper automatically activates, even if the switch for it is in the off position. Very useful for parking. (Toyota bag was used to haul veggies, not promote the brand, at least not directly.)

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 17,844 miles

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2009 Honda Fit: Baby Wipes

December 14, 2009

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How cute! Ok, not really.

That little guy is tasked with only having to clear about one-third of the windshield; the third directly in front of the passenger. You see, the other wiper blade is so huge that its sweep takes care of the rest of the Fit's sizable windshield. I wouldn't have given it a second thought but for not having to look through the 'seam' created where the passenger side wiper usually stops in the center of the windshield. It's a minor distraction to be sure, but over time, that 'seam' tends to get etched into the glass and becomes visible rain or shine.

Hit the jump (I've always wanted to type that) for a special bonus question.

1230 points and the undying respect of no one in this office for the first person to tell me the name of the body of water in the background.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 17,601 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Life is What You Make It

December 11, 2009

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I stirred up a baby hornets nest the other day when I said that I preferred the Insight to the Fit. I drove the Fit the last couple of days and confirmed my thoughts: although I still prefer the Insight, I would give both fun-to-drive ratings of "Not very."

I see the primary reason for getting a small car as the fuel economy. And the Insight comes up big here with 39 mpg; others would probably get an even better figure.

Why anyone would get a dink car that gets lousy fuel efficiency (not the Fit) is beyond me.

Why not just get the next size up and suffer only a minor fuel economy penalty?

mheikka hit the nail on the head when he commented on my Insight post that the Fit has the look of a "first car". Yes, and quite nice for a first car or college kid vehicle, unless your last name is Hilton.

And as for the Fit being fun to drive? There's an old saying: "Life is what you make it."

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 17,550 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Sun Visor Fail

December 04, 2009

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Don't you hate when this happens? The sun managed to find that (none-too-small) open space between either of the Honda Fit's sun visors on my drive home. There was no relief to be found with any amount of swinging, flipping, or otherwise manipulating the visors. Some manufacturers offer multiple defenses for this annoyance like mini center sun visors above the mirror, sun visors that slide side-to-side on their mounting arms, or auxiliary visors that deploy from the parent visors. The Fit has none of those and a very large, fast-raked windshield to make matters worse. The windshield's dot-matrix pattern did little to mitigate the problem. Argh, just looking at this photo is giving me a head ache.

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2009 Honda Fit: Are most of them Orange?

December 03, 2009

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I took our 2009 Honda Fit yesterday to the Los Angeles Auto Show.
As you know, ours is a copper-tinged orange.

As I pulled into the LA Convention Center parking lot, another Fit followed me in. It was orange.

And at my school parking garage, I usually see the same Fit there. It's orange.

I've even driven by some orange Fits in Santa Monica, expecting to see one of my colleagues in our long-term car, only to find a complete stranger driving it.
What -- you boosted our test car?

Nope, it's just that in my experience, nearly every Fit I see is orange.

As a matter of fact, earlier this year Edmunds had two of them at the same time -- both orange, of course.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 17,300 miles

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2009 Honda Fit: Smart(er)

December 01, 2009

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Oh look! Autumn leaves! Matching car! Blah, blah, blah.

If you wanted a good little city car and had $19k to spend, you'd probably buy a Smart. You'd probably also have a yoga mat for every day of the week (Bikram yoga makes your mat all sweaty) as well as a subscription to a hummus of the month club - not to mention a screw loose.

If you took that $19k and bought a Honda Fit, you get not only a great city car, you also get back seats, good fuel economy and it will allow you to do something that no one in their right mind would do in a Smart; you can drive it across the state of California.

I can count as one of the sketchiest things I've ever done as driving our old Smart from Los Angeles to Bakersfield. I thought I was going to die. Four times. By contrast, I piled 1,200 miles onto our Fit this past weekend, driving it from Santa Monica to San Francisco, around the Bay Area and back without once having a near death experience. Did I mention I used 87 octane gas as well as haul around 2-3 friends and family members at the same time? Yeah, you can't do that in a Smart either.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 17,208 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Honda's Shifting Priorities

November 06, 2009

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Last week I called the Honda Fit the "no-brainer" winner among econoboxes, and nothing changed my mind in the spirited discussion that ensued. But what I'm stuck on today is the fact that the Fit is frankly the only no-brainer Honda has left. Back in the day, this company was an engineer's delight, pushing the envelope with thrilling VTEC engines, focused interior designs, distinctive low cowls and sophisticated driving dynamics. Now it makes the Pilot and the TSX and the overrated Accord>. What happened? Where did the so-called Japanese BMW go wrong?

I'm prepared to accept the sales argument. You know how it goes. "Americans don't like that old kind of Honda. They don't care about how a Prelude VTEC sounds at 7,000 rpm, or an Integra GS-R at 8,000, or even a mid-'90s Accord EX at 6,500. They don't care about superior forward visibility or classically sporty gauges. They never noticed the instantaneous steering response of those old hydraulic-assist Hondas, the remarkable precision of their manual transmissions, the extraordinary athleticism they displayed in corners despite those ridiculously skinny OEM tires.

"What Americans want is size, broader powerbands and chunky styling, and maybe some randomly weird dashboard layouts. And that's what the new Honda provides."

Fair enough. But as an enthusiast who's intimately familiar with the old Honda, I can't help feeling like the company has lost its edge. It used to be the engaging Japanese option, the one with superior engineering that made you feel like you got what you paid for. Now, I'm searching for reasons why I shouldn't tell people to buy Fords or Hyundais instead.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor @ 14,458 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Attitude Change

November 04, 2009

I don't know how many nights I've driven our Honda Fit. Both this and the previous Fit we've owned. One thing has always stood out to me: the knobby shifter.

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It kinda feels like a hot rod style pool ball shifter when palmed so I think giving it an Eight Ball shifter would "toughen up" its wimpy demeanor. Give it a fun attitude spark, even if in reality it's still the Chihuahua yapping at the big dogs.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: No-Brainer

October 27, 2009

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When people ask me for car-buying advice, I usually ask them a bunch of questions in return. "What kind of driver are you?" "What have you liked driving in the past?" "What are your priorities?" Etc. I can't just tell you what to buy right off the bat -- there are too many solid options these days.

But the economy hatchback segment is an exception. At its base price of $15,610 including destination, there's nothing else like the Honda Fit. Editor Oldham has piqued my curiosity about the refreshed Suzuki SX4, but it's not available yet, and we already know it lacks the Fit's cargo space (57.3 cubic feet!) and trick rear seat. The Mazda3 hatchback and new Volkswagen Golf are the best small hatchbacks you can buy, but they're considerably pricier and less practical. Scion's got the xB and the xD, and I'd never recommend either one. The upcoming Ford Fiesta drives better than the Fit, yet it can't hold a candle to the Honda's versatility. And the two rivals depicted above? You can't be serious.

There's only one competitively priced Fit rival that gives me pause, and that's the Kia Soul. Similar maximum cargo capacity (53 cubes), funky styling, roomy rear seating, surprisingly entertaining to drive. The cabin materials are dime-store cheap, however, and Soul loses the fuel-economy fight too. Moreover, the Fit's "magic seat" gives it the edge in utility.

Best econobox for around $15k? Honda Fit. No-brainer.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor @ 14,449 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: The Little Things

October 26, 2009

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If Honda can put a gas cap holder on the the $14,750 Fit, shouldn't every car made have some similar accommodation? I think so. Keeping the thing off the paint is so nice.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor

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2009 Honda Fit: The Weakest Link

October 05, 2009

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If I had to name the 2009 Honda Fit's greatest weakness (and I do have to name it, otherwise this blog post would be about something else, like kittens, or that giant burrito editor MacKinnon ate for lunch last week), it'd be highway noise.

Sure enough, the Fit isn't an Audi S5 on a nighttime drive. Roadnoise is pervasive, and it's certainly louder in the Fit than it is in our other in-fleet economy car, the Suzuki SX4. And I still find myself pining for a sixth gear to lower the highway rpm some. But honestly, this isn't reason enough to skip over the Fit for a purchase. The rest of the car is an impressively solid package.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 13,503 miles

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2009 Honda Fit: I think There's a Rattlesnake in the Dash

September 15, 2009

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I drove our long-term 2009 Honda Fit up to and back from Westlake Village yesterday. It's about a 35 mile freeway run each way. During the trip I noticed an intermittent rattlesnake-like sound coming from under the dash.

At first I thought it might be a heat shield or something vibrating under the car, but then I realized the sound was actually coming from inside the car over on the passenger side. And then the hunt began.

Since it stops when I shut off the Fit's air conditioning I'd say it has something to do with the Fit's air conditioning, which is ice cold by the way.

We'll keep you posted.

Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 11,821 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Don't Ya Wish Your Car Was Orange Like Me?

August 20, 2009

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On the way home the other night, I was merging onto the freeway in our pumpkin spice Fit and noticed that every single other car in my immediate vicinity was a drab silver or gray. Mercedes, Toyota, Smart, Honda, Ford. Everywhere I looked, bland-colored cars on the bland, gray background of the freeway. Made me happy to be a bright spot of color in a sea of silver.

Would you buy a car in a bold or out-of-the-ordinary color car?

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Sounds Familiar

August 16, 2009

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Small four cynlinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission, rear drum brakes, hatchback with folding rear seat - the Fit, on paper, looks like Honda simply reinvented the 1981 Honda Accord.

Curuiosly, I think this old Accord was a little quieter and more comfy inside - here's why:

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: 10k

August 12, 2009

The Honda Fit just hit 10,000 miles. Here are a few pros and cons:

Pros - If you can keep the rpms reasonably low, the Fit is actually quiet enough to live with everyday. The added power versus the previous Fit is noticeable - if you're looking for a used Fit, waiting for a current generation example to come up for sale is probably worth it based on the engine alone. The fold flat rear seats make the Fit a mini-minivan in terms of cargo hauling.

Cons - The shifter is imprecise (at best). The material covering the seats attracts too much lint and dust and schmootz. There's lots of storage under the rear seats - but it all has to come out as soon as you want to fold them down. Too much engine noise above 70 mph even in 5th gear.

Small cars require inherent sacrifices but if I were getting a new small car, I might wait for the Fiesta. Anyone think the Fit will be better than the Fiesta?

Oh, and here's the obligatory pic of the odometer on 10,000.

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Three Days, Three Scenarios, Five Thumbs

August 03, 2009

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I put the Fit through its paces this weekend, subjecting it to three wide-ranging scenarios, some enjoyable, some not. In the end, the Fit earned five thumbs.

Friday evening: L.A.'s obscene rush hour traffic -- Two thumbs up.

The Fit's easy clutch and gearshift efforts kill the "I'd rather have an automatic transmission in the city" argument that so many people "automatically" make. The Fit's light, precise and progressive setup bolsters the "manual gearbox is more responsive and fun" argument. You barely notice the clutch effort and can flick the stick through the gates with two fingers.

Saturday evening: A 60-mile (round-trip) freeway run from Culver City to San Pedro -- One thumb up.

The Fit cruises at 75 no problem. But though the engine is commendably smooth at higher revs, a sixth gear would be nice to lower those revs and the cabin noise.

Sunday: A run through twisty canyon roads in Malibu, followed by a run down the PCH -- Two thumbs up.

The eager, thrash-free engine, buttoned-down chassis and communicative (for the segment) steering were enough to give me grins and a few reminders about the speed limit from my girlfriend.

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Back on the Road

July 28, 2009

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We reported a problem with door-ajar warning light on our 2009 Honda Fit Sport awhile back. No matter how hard (or softly) we closed each door the light wouldn't turn off. And since one door registered open at all times, the remote lock wouldn't work either.

Our advisor at Honda of Santa Monica nodded as we described the issue, "We are familiar with this complaint." We left the car. And an hour later the phone rang. We found Waldo, our advisor, at the other end of the line. He explained, "We performed a dome light circuit test and found the right front door switch to be broken. The switch assembly will have to be ordered. But I expect to have it back together by tomorrow." This was yesterday.

This morning we got the call. Our Fit was ready for pick up. So now we're back on the road.

Total Cost: None (work performed under warranty)

Days out of Service: 1

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 9,570 miles

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2009 Honda Fit: Fit for Competition

July 17, 2009

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Now, there's probably something in the fine print here that keeps us from actually winning the Honda Fit Photo Contest, but check out Honda's latest 2009 Honda Fit social networking / consumer content / PR gimmick game: What Can you Fit in the Fit. We're not sure we like being used as marketing pawns, but we are sure we love competition as much as we love trying to see how much crap we can fit into cars (see: Ford Flex, Ford Flex, and Audi A4 for a brief overview.)

According to the Ad, the Honda Fit has some 57 cubic feet of useable space that we're to fill with something and then take a picture which we'll upload to Facebook (someone will have to teach me how to use that thing) and then get votes.

We've got our own ideas (pumpkins, interns, thousands of mini Stigs), what say you Blogosphere? We've got the '09 Fit and some editors with sensational packing abilities. What do we jam it full of?

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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2009 Honda Fit: Fi(s)t Full of Trouble

July 14, 2009

Over the weekend there was a constant rattle coming from the cargo area of the Fit. I couldn't tell if it was coming from the hatch door or cargo floor panel (which you can lift to access the spare). Either way it was annoying to hear it's constant chattering.

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But then on Sunday I noticed the "open door" warning light had come on. I opened and slammed every door, including the hatch, more than once to see if that fixed it. The light stayed on. My suspicion is that the hatch door has a bad latch. I could be wrong, but to have both the noise and the warning light points me in that direction.

To add insult to injury, the lock button on the key fob doesn't function. Unlock works just fine, but to lock it you have to do it the old fashioned way: twisting the key in the door.

Looks like we'll be bringing it in a little early for service, we'll let you know what we find out.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 8,943 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Attention, Scion!

July 08, 2009

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2009 Honda Fit reported sales: 29,722. 2009 Scion xB reported sales: 11,566. 2009 Scion xD reported sales: 5,747.

Attention, Scion! Figure it out.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 8,670 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Flight Deck

July 06, 2009

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After a couple of weeks in assorted high-style cars with fast windshields, gracefully arching roofs, high protective doors and all the usual suspects of what passes for modern design, the 2009 Honda Fit Sport is a great relief. You can actually see the road again!

The tight little cabins of modern cars look really snappy in design renderings, but they leave you feeling like you're driving in some kind armored personnel carrier. In comparison, the Honda Fit puts so much glass in front of you that you feel like you've just walked onto the flight deck of some classic airliner from the golden age of air travel.

And for this you can thank Honda's big book of standards and practices, the manual of officially approved design and construction that determines the final form of every Honda built. In fact, it's this emphasis on visibility that has everything to do with the ease with which every Honda drives.

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2009 Honda Fit: House Hunter

June 29, 2009

I had plenty of choices for the weekend car, but I took the Fit for the single reason that it had a good nav system in it. The lady and I have been looking to take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit so our search area is a broad swath of the L.A. area.

The nav first came in handy when we left dinner on Saturday with time to spare a run to Scoops Ice Cream, a place way across town from where we were in an unfamiliar area. I 411'd their address, plugged it into the nav and off we went. Two scoops later and we made a mad dash back to the movie theatre.

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On Sunday, we had a list of six places to see. With the easy touch type nav screen, I plugged in address after address and it effortlessly guided us to each destination. We didn't find anything we could afford or even really liked all that much, but at least the Fit made the process easy.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Dead Battery

June 26, 2009

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Yesterday, Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor of Edmunds.com tosses me a key, and, while walking away quickly, mumbles something about something being dead and that a Honda was involved. Odd behavior, really, considering his jovial and talkative nature. I read the tag on the key, thought about what he said and then re-read the tag on the key. Surely he had killed someone with the Honda FIt and was fleeing the country. I put the key in my desk, figured I'd wait for the scene to calm down.

Later, upon closer inspection and a dab of rational thought, it turned out to be little more than a dead battery. A quick jump got it started, and that's really where the interesting part begins.

After the jump I let the car idle for about 15 minutes and then went for a ride around town. 45 minutes later I was back in the office where I parked the 2009 Fit, turned off the ignition and then, just to be safe, tried to turn it back on.

*click*click*click*click*click* went the car

*Grawrrrrrr* went the vehicle testing assistant.

It was late by then and I gave up. The next day (today) I'd jump it and send it off to the Honda shop.

Today rolled around and I grabbed an assistant to help with the errand. He jumped in the Fit and, while I was pulling up the helper vehicle, started the stupid thing without issue. I swore it didn't do that yesterday; he called me a liar; I made the clicking noise while waving my hands frantically; he asked if he could go back up to the office.

The Fit is in fine working order now and has started and stopped many times with no fault or hint of decreased cranking power.

Oh, the cause of the dead battery? The hatch was left not-quite-shut which left the small light on back there. Combine that with three-or-four days of disuse, and you've got a very dead battery.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 8,096 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Meet the New Boss...

June 23, 2009

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...he's pretty much the same as the old boss.

I guess you could say the same for our 2009 Honda Fit Sport. While it boasts a fair amount of upgrades, it's still pretty much the same car that our 2007 Honda Fit Sport was. It's still (relatively) slow, the steering is still (almost too) quick, it's a piece of cake to drive and apparently, it doesn't seem to mind getting attacked by bugs while waiting for me to climb down from some photo location, toss in my gear and zip off to the next location.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 8,096 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Fit is Fast, Says Preschooler

June 15, 2009

fit is orange. fit is fast.

"Grandma, come see my mommy's car! It's real fast! See, it's ORANGE!" -- Nusia, age 3

Bryn MacKinnon, Nusia's mom @ 8,004 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Bashed by the IIHS

June 11, 2009

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I gave serious thought to backing our long-term 2009 Honda Fit into a parking-garage pole today. Thank heavens the IIHS is around to scare me straight.

Of course, if you watch the video on the IIHS website, you see that the barrier they use for this test was too high for the Fit such that it crashed into the car's hatch instead of the bumper. So, really, this is another example of the industry-wide bumper-height incompatibility problem, more than it is a referendum on the Honda Fit's bumper design. So if more crossovers and SUVs were designed for bumper compatibility with the tiniest cars, well, there'd be no grave financial danger in driving a subcompact.

:exiting soapbox:

Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: I Want To Shoot This Car

June 09, 2009

Ok, full disclosure before I head on: I had a couple of big glasses of red wine at home with dinner. When I woke up this morning, my thumping head wasn't happy with my decision making last night. No big deal. A couple of ibu's and a cup of coffee and I'm fine, right?

Not so much. I was a little grumpy as I went to work this morning and thankfully my commute is pretty short. Fueling my ill temper was a constant squeaking coming from the glove box door. Funny, I didn't hear anything when I drove it home last night, but this morning it was possessed.

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Slight pressure would help make the noise go away, but it didn't cure it. By the time I got to the office I wanted to blast that door off. I couldn't figure out why it was doing that, but I was able to walk away from it. More coffee and ibu's please.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2009 Honda Fit Sport:

May 26, 2009

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Maybe it's a male thing, but I love it when this happens. Check out the harmony between my Costanza wallet and cell phone and the Fit's small-items trays. Doesn't it make you feel good just looking at it? It's like Honda designed those trays for my small items. And since I remove both of them from my pockets every time I drive a car, I find these little guys exceptionally accommodating.

These are the perfect trays: Exactly the right depth to handle these items without them falling out or flopping around.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor @ about 7000 miles

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2009 Honda Fit: Crash Test Videos

May 08, 2009

Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Our Favorite Caption

May 08, 2009

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Thanks to Franchitti27 for this week's favorite caption.

Here are the honorable mentions:

It followed her to school one day...school one day... (miniharryc)
Biker: "These desert bugs get bigger every year!" carguy622
After losing the motocross race, Joe drove off in a Fit of anger. (ergsum)
I can do more than you, because I'm Fit and your 2 tired. (mnorm1)
The clowns must be around here somewhere. (lawnboy3)

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: A Wok in the Park (ing Lot)

April 21, 2009

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Yesterday was our first 100-degree day of the year, and the 2009 Honda Fit Sport revealed a weakness.

(1) Tons of glass = a lot of heat inside. They don't call it "greenhouse" for nothing. The worst part is the windshield: this heavily-sloped baby extends so far back that it readily exposes the steering wheel and most of the seats to direct sunlight. The wheel in particular stays hot to the touch for quite awhile. Visibility is indeed a two-edged sword.

Such a thing as "solar control glass" exists, but it costs money and is therefore left out of low-priced cars such as this.

(2) Honda air conditioning = still weak in this case. My old 1986 Acura Integra had weak-sauce A/C, and the Fit isn't much different. The air coming out of the vents isn't cold enough, so cabin cool-down drags on forever in the face of all of that sun-load. Perhaps this is because the Fit isn't an Ohio-developed Honda. How hot does it ever get in Japan, anyway?

(3) No rear A/C vents. OK, this condition is par for the economy-car course, but others get away with it if they don't have condition (1) or (2). As it stands, the Fit's front center vents aren't able to push much cool air between the front seats to the rear. My daughter complained bitterly about being too hot back there, even when it was just 80 outside.

Bottom line: Buy and use a sunshade or park an extra 100 yards away if it means you get to park in shade.

And don't look for the 2009 Honda Fit to be named "The Official Car of Phoenix, Arizona" anytime soon.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 5,451 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Lucerne Valley Rocks

April 18, 2009

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This weekend my nephew entered his first-ever desert race. So my daughters and I piled into the 2009 Honda Fit to head out to their campsite in Lucerne Valley to wish him well and roast a few marshmallows with my brother and the rest of his family.

They'd parked the Airstream and unloaded the dirt bikes well off of the pavement in an unmarked primitive "campsite." To get there, the Fit had to negotiate 6 miles of washboard dirt road and packed sand tracks. Granite Road and Transmission Line Road see more use than you'd think, so it wasn't much of a problem.

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: I Can See All

March 30, 2009

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This weekend was my first time in our 2009 Honda Fit Sport and in addition to its ultra-light shifter I was pleased with its awesome visibility -- an important feature for a small car, I think. No, not its visibility to other drivers. How can you miss that searing orange? (BTW one passer-by actually told me that "my car" was ugly.) Rather both the Fit's front view and rear view present a near panoramic picture of the surrounding environment (difficult to capture on camera, sorry!). This made me confident enough to squirt in and out of traffic as well as cross busy intersections where all I got is a stop sign.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 4,564 miles

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2009 Honda Fit: How Green Is It?

March 17, 2009

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In light of Saint Patrick's Day, I've taken a look at our 2009 Honda Fit's green credentials.

Fuel Economy: As noted in last week's post, our Fit Sport has a 27 mpg city, 33 mpg highway estimate from the EPA. A base Fit with the automatic is a little better at 28/35 mpg.

Tailpipe Emissions: It's rated Bin5 federally -- Bin5 equals a "six" on the EPA's air pollution scale, with a "10" being the highest score for cleanliness. Fits sold in California and other California-emissions states are slightly cleaner with a ULEV rating (a "7").

Are these "green" numbers?

Objectively, I'd say the Fit's fuel economy is pretty good. But 27/33 mpg isn't any better than what the main competition can do, and you can certainly buy non-hybrid cars that are more efficient (a Mini Cooper being one).

The Fit doesn't stand out at all for emissions, either. Just about every significant small car is Bin5/ULEV. Also, some other cars, like the Hyundai Elantra and VW Rabbit, are PZEV-rated (a score of "nine") in California-emission states. VW's new diesel Jetta is Bin5 nationwide.

So, the Fit has pretty good fuel economy but doesn't do anything to advance the game. That's probably sufficient for most people. And maybe if you really want green Honda, you'd just get a new Honda Insight. But if your expectation was that the Honda Fit would somehow be better than everything else (because back in the day, you know, Civic VXs and CRX HFs really were better than everything else for mpg), then the Fit's "green cred" is probably a letdown.

Brent "O'Romans," Senior Automotive Editor

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Get the Automatic

March 13, 2009

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(Photo by Scott Jacobs)

Thinking about adding a 2009 Honda Fit (or any Honda Fit, this applies to the last gen, too) to your own personal long term fleet? Stay away from the manual and go for the five-speed automatic instead.

Why? Because the clutch and shifter mechanism in this car is pathetic. It's irritating and sloppy. The engagement point of the clutch is too high and offers little feedback when met. The clutch is too light. An untied shoelace flopped over the pedal would push it down. The uptake is so light I'm often wondering if the pedal is going with my foot, or if it's just decided to stay on the floor.

And then there's the shifter.

Kurt Niebuhr, in his 135 blog, said the M3's shifter felt like dislocating a cadaver's elbow. I would relish that sort of feel in the '09 Honda Fit. If the M3's shifter is like dislocating the elbow, the Fit's action is like shaking that limb around by the wrist with reckless abandon -- a practce, incidentally, that is frequent amongst Med School students when they're done with a particular limb -- hoping the ball with fall back into the socket. And don't start with the cartoonish shift knob. It looks like a Super Ball, feels like a Super Ball and has about as much business being on a shift lever as a Super Ball.

All of the above applies to daily driving. Get the Fit out on a twisty road with frequent hard shifts and the clutch / shifter combo is fine. Maybe even good. But that's a scenario where you're spending as little time as possible using those components, shifting as fast as is prudent to keep the revs where they need to be. And it's probably the place the average Fit will spend the least amount of time.

Getting an automatic does have some drawbacks: The automatic is slower by about 2-seconds according to our tests. I don't care in the slightest and I doubt most Fit buyers would even notice. Also, the automatic with shift paddles on the sport package is an extra $850.

Like with the G35/37 I should want the manual transmisison, but I don't.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: 10 Cool Bits

March 12, 2009

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Our 2009 Honda Fit Sport is all ate up with convenience features. Start crawling around this car, and you can't help but be impressed by the thoughtful tweaks and constant attention to space utilization and function. Start factoring in price, and it's almost hard to believe how much effort must have gone into the small details. If you're wondering why the staff keeps going on about the savvy features and keen engineering of this sub-$20K wonder, I'll point out 10 of the slickest.

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: What the Manual Says About Towing

March 10, 2009

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Got a 2009 Honda Fit, Sport or otherwise? Want to tow with it?

Don't.

Here is what the 2009 Honda Fit owner's manual has to say about that: "Your vehicle is not designed to tow a trailer. Attempting to do so can void your warranties."

No surprise there. Not that you could ever find a hitch for one, although they probably do exist somewhere.

But the Fit turns out to be a champ at being towed, as in behind a motorhome. Dinghy towing, they call it. You know, the motorhome is the big yacht and your Fit is the launch you use to get to shore to buy groceries.

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Open Thread

March 10, 2009

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What do you want to know about the new 2009 Honda Fit?

Or give us your review of the new Fit.

We await your comments.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Suspension Walkaround

March 09, 2009

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Ever wonder what it looks like behind the wheels of your car? Never removed a tire in your life? Well, even if you have, there are subtle details you might overlook.

Here, then, are a few suspension photos of our 2009 Honda Fit Sport.

Honda Fits have a simple strut front suspension with a one-piece lower control arm. You can also see the rear-mounted steering rack that all transverse-engined front-wheel drive cars have. And you can see why this results in a forward-mounted brake caliper.

But let's change the angle a bit for a couple of other nuggets.

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Underused Space in the Instrument Panel

March 03, 2009

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There's nothing seriously wrong with the gauges in the 2009 Honda Fit. They're functional enough, and they light up in cool blue at night.

But one thing that has bugged me ever since I first drove the redesigned Fit is the right-hand pod with the fuel gauge in it. There's all this unused space and I can't take my eyes off it.

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Multiplicity

February 24, 2009

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Had enough of Octo-mom? Me too.

How about Octo-Fit? Apparently, we may have that covered soon.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 1600 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Living Larger

February 09, 2009

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For 2009, the Fit has a slightly longer wheelbase than the previous generation, and it also benefits from some suspension tweaks. The happy end result of all this is a car that feels more stable and composed. On highways and city streets this weekend, our spunky little hatch felt pleasantly well-planted. It's a big improvement relative to first-generation models, which can feel a bit lightweight in certain situations.

Oh, and it turns out kids aren't the only ones who find themselves drawn to the Fit. As I was reversing out of a parking space at the grocery store on Friday, I had to stab the brakes to avoid flattening an elderly gentleman, who had walked directly into the path of the car. Turns out he wanted to quiz me about the Fit, as he's thinking about buying one.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2009 Honda Fit in VA is:

$98 per month*
* Explanation
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