2009 Honda Fit Long-Term Road Test

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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: 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: Road Trip to Palm Springs

November 19, 2009

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The Fit strikes a pose, backed by the windmills of Palm Springs.

Our spunky Honda Fit got a chance to stretch its legs on a recent road trip, traveling south to that gaudy bit of desert tinsel known as Palm Springs. It proved to be a fun companion -- as we've noted before, the engine gets clamorous at high revs, but the car's pleasantly frisky spirit more than made up for this shortcoming during the journey. Mileage was outstanding -- the Honda averaged 35.7 miles per gallon over a total of 230 mostly highway miles.

One of my fave things about the Fit has got to be its nav system. The system is easy to use -- entering locations is a cinch. It's also pleasant to experience, especially as far as its vocal reminders are concerned. In other cars I've driven, these reminders can be strident and excessive, with each upcoming turn preceded by a hailstorm of grating admonishments. Not so with the Fit. Its nav system delivers just enough reminders to inform without annoying, and the nav lady's voice sounds mellow, not shrill.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 15,643 miles

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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: Driving Style And Fuel Economy

October 16, 2009

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When Donna posted our last fuel economy list, I saw the 2009 Honda Fit's all-time best of 39.0 mpg and thought to myself: "Thirty nine mpg? No way that's right." Official EPA highway fuel economy is only 33 mpg. So I went to our fuel log to see who managed that 39 mpg number. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it was, well, me. This was back in March, and I even wrote a post about it here.

Since March, we've had a few more high-mpg tanks, including three of them in the 37 mpg range, but nothing higher than that. Could that 39-mpg be a bit inflated? Sure, I'll allow for the possibility. After all, the Fit is averaging 30.8 mpg overall, which is just a little above the vehicle's combined EPA of 29 mpg.

But I also think driving style plays a huge part. It's easier to drive the Fit conservatively than, say, the M3. You could drive the Fit hard, but what's the point? Instead, just relax and enjoy the mpg benefits. Earlier this week I did 190 miles of mostly highway fuel economy. I wasn't even trying to get a great number -- just had the cruise control set when I could and stayed close to the 70-mph speed limit -- and I got 33.9 mpg (calculated at the pump, not the in-car gauge, as we always do for our reporting).

It's pretty much like we discovered in a fuel economy "We Test The Tips II" article we published a couple of years ago. Driving style and speed, more than anything else by a huge margin, will determine what kind of fuel economy you get.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2009 Honda Fit: MPGs In The Land Of SUVs

October 12, 2009

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"Nice car. What kind of mileage does it get?"

The guy directing people on where to park their vehicles at yesterday's Fresno Fair was asking me about the Fit as I shut off its engine and began unloading my family for a day of cows, corndogs, amusement rides and famers' tans.

"Oh, about 35 mpg on the highway."

"Thirty five?" he asked. "Dang, that's pretty good. What car is this? A Honda?"

I told him it was a Fit and that they cost about $16,000. "Huh," was all he said, but I took that to mean that he was at least a little impressed. I, however, was quite pleased to have the Fit. Its luggage area had enough space for our gear, its small footprint made it easy to park, and its orange paint made it easy to spot once we were leaving. The more I drive our Honda Fit, the more I truly like it.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @13,600 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: It's No SUV but It Gets the Job Done

September 25, 2009

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The 2009 Honda Fit Sport with Mount Whitney looming behind. Photo by Andrew Reed.

We were at about 8,000 feet, climbing into the Sierra north of Bishop, California, when I looked in my rearview mirror. Two giant SUVs and a pickup truck were slowly closing in on me.

I downshifted, punched it and gradually put distance between the 2009 Honda Fit Sport and these hulking behemoths. When I came to the next set of tight mountain curves, the distance grew until these vehicles were small dots in my mirror.

Later that day I stopped for gas and ran the numbers on my Blackberry calculator. Despite the steep climb, three guys and all our gear, we got 37.4 mpg. I couldn't help but wonder what kind of mileage the SUVs and pickup truck logged over the same road.

It's quite likely that the drivers of those vehicles didn't check their mileage and wouldn't have cared about the result if they had. But I'm kind of fixated on this subject so I was pleased to find it had performed so well.

One minor reservation though, while we were getting 37.4 mpg the onboard gauge was telling us we were getting 40 mpg. Not a huge difference but it's nice to be accurate.

Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 12,870 miles

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2009 Honda Fit: Revised MPG Opinion

March 27, 2009

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Two weeks ago, I cast doubt on our ability to achieve fuel economy significantly above the EPA's estimate of 27 mpg city/33 mpg highway. Yet my last two fill ups would seem to indicate that our Honda Fit might have some surprises up its sleeve after all.

From 220 miles of mostly city driving, I achieved 30.4 mpg. On another fill up from 230 miles of highway driving I just did yesterday, it calculated out to 39 mpg. Yeah, I'm having trouble believing it myself. In both cases, I was probably driving a bit more conservative than normal (you know, because it's a Fit) but I certainly wasn't aiming for any efficiency awards. It will be interesting to follow the Fit's economy over the next few months.

In other news, I checked our Fit's oil and found that it was a quart low. We had about two-thirds of a bottle of the recommended 5W20 left over from a recent Mazda 6 fill, so I added that to the Fit.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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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: Wonky MPG Number

March 13, 2009

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Ever since the revised EPA fuel economy testing regimen came out, I've found it to be a generally good indicator on what to expect. The 2009 Honda Fit Sport checks in at 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. So I was a little surprised to see on Donna's fuel-economy rundown that somebody previously got 37.1 mpg as our best mpg. In checking the fuel log, I noticed that the fuel-up was during the car's track testing. Normally, that would be a cause for worse mpg, not better. Either way, though, the 37.1 mpg number is circumspect.

I would dismiss it entirely, yet there's another similar number on the Fit's log. It's 36.9 mpg after 359 miles of driving by somebody unknown.

Curious to get a number of my own, I drove 161 miles on the freeway yesterday as a test. I wasn't trying to maximize fuel economy but rather just be steady and realistic. I used a lot of cruise control to stay at 72 mph, with a few increases to 75 mph to pass. The topography was almost all flat except for a few initial miles of downhill that required little or no throttle. The final result was 32.6 mpg.

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Better in every way!

February 06, 2009

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Kids love the new Honda Fit. "Daddy, it's so cute" they say. I can't say I LOVE the new version but I do like it quite a bit. I spent a lot of time with the previous version of the Honda Fit and found it to be just adequate - decent fuel economy, nice interior space but with the expected compromises in terms of noise, harshness and power.

The 2009 version has an even roomier interior, looks more substantial and forces FAR fewer compromises around town and on the highway. The car is clearly more powerful, the transmission feels more precise and, this is a big one, the interior remains surprisingly quiet even at 70 mph and the ride is much more comfortable. Relax people, good fuel economy no longer means earplugs and bruised kidneys - thanks Honda.

Brian Moody, Automotive 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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