2009 Honda Fit Long-Term Road Test - Performance

2009 Honda Fit Long-Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (3)
  • Comparison (2)
  • Long-Term

2009 Honda Fit: Feel of the Wheel Might Seal the Deal

February 04, 2010


Car salesmen count on it and the Fit doesn't disappoint. I'm talking about the feel of the steering wheel in our Honda. As you can see, it's a pretty nice piece. A bit of an odd design maybe, but it's thicker than most wheels you'll see in cars of this class and there's a nice leather covering on it.

Also note the satellite controls. There are plenty of them, yet they don't get in the way. They're also easy to work with your thumbs, which I like.

More importantly, the actually steering feel of the car on the road is pretty solid. I always disliked the feel of our Civic Si as it always felt like it wanted to spring back to the center. The Fit is no Porsche, but it feels much more natural than that Civic Si ever did.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com

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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: 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: Steers Smartly

December 22, 2009


Generally speaking, I'm a Fit fan. And one of the main reasons I like this car is the way it steers.

Granted, I know what Engineering Editor Jay Kavanagh is talking about when he describes the dead zone just off center in both the Fit and Insight. But when you give the Fit a bigger steering input as you're about to enter a corner or unusually technical freeway entrance ramp, the little car turns in smartly. It's not so quick that you imagine yourself in a sport compact, but at that moment, you don't feel quite so dorky driving around in an orange hatchback. For me, it's addictive. I take every opportunity to pitch the car into corners at speed. It was the same way with the original Fit.

Obviously, there's more to the Fit's (borderline) sprightly turn-in response than the published 12.7:1 steering ratio, as the suspension setup and even the skinny P185/55R16 83H Bridgestone tires have plenty to do with how it feels. Right, it's the total package that makes the car pretty good, and I'll reiterate for the umpteenth time that I like it.

Also likeable is the 2009 Fit's 34.4-foot turning radius. I made very few multi-point turns last weekend, because you can pretty much steer your way out of a hallway in this hatch.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 18,347 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: Engaging

November 02, 2009


One of the things that struck me most about the Fit this weekend was its sense of playfulness. It's not the kind of car that you could drive with a blindfold on and both hands tied behind your back. The frisky Fit forces you to engage -- piloting it requires some focus on the part of the driver. Its reflexes are sharp and road feel is good, but acceleration from the 117-horsepower mill ain't that brisk, so you have to keep your wits about you to finesse maneuvers calling for sudden bursts of speed. It all combines to make time spent behind the wheel an adventure. Wouldn't miss it for the world.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 14,710 miles

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2009 Honda Fit: Love the Sound of a Small Engine in a Small Car

September 28, 2009


There's really no point in complaining that the 2009 Honda Fit is noisier than it should be or could be. Among the current population of smaller-displacement four-cylinder engines in the U.S., you won't find one that sounds better than this 117-horsepower 1.5-liter. It develops a rather satisfying growl at higher rpm and it never acts displeased to be worked past 5,000.

But you're always going to hear the engine, so you'd better learn to love its scrappy demeanor. It's not that the Fit's gearing is so terribly short (0.552 5th gear, 4.56 final drive) -- at 70 mph, it's closing in on 3,500 rpm. It's that there simply isn't a lot of sound deadening material in this car. It's not serene. But that's a big reason why the Fit is lightweight (about 2,500 lbs), at least by modern small-car standards. Lack of weight is what makes it feel as quick and nimble as it does for its modest price tag. And it's an easy (and cheap) way to keep fuel consumption low.

So it has never once occurred to me that the Fit should be quieter. On the contrary, a quieter Fit would be a heavier, less direct-handling Fit, and I'll have none of that.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 13,249 miles

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

September 25, 2009


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 Sport: Small Made Easy

August 14, 2009

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I am not a big fan of small cars - I'd rather have a 5 year old large or midsize sedan than any new subcompact (I know, I'm part of the problem blah blah blah). Still, when comparing super small cars like the Fit, Yaris, Smart and others I'm forced to admit that the Fit is not that bad. Keep the RPMs low and you don't get that thrashy engine noise like on other subcompacts. The reconfigurable rear seats also make the small Fit MUCH easier to live with. If you're a fan of the first Fit - you will like this one even more - a lot more. Got a cash for clunkers car you want to trade in for a more fuel efficient model? The Fit is an excellent choice as is the Ford Focus.

BTW - does anyone out there actually prefer small cars for reasons other than better fuel economy?

Brian Moody, Automotive Editor @ 10,455 miles.

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: 10k

August 12, 2009

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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: Maybe Not Looks, but Plenty of Personality

July 21, 2009

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While slogging through the 5-to-20 mph traffic on the 10 trapped-way last evening, my mind got numb but my clutch leg didn't. In the annoying world of L.A.'s perpetual traffic you appreciate things like the Fit's light-effort clutch and gear shifter. When my exit came up (thankfully clear of traffic), I grabbed second, hit it, grabbed third and let the Fit fly as we sliced through the ramp's turn, the Honda's eager engine and planted chassis adding a much-needed six seconds of joy to my drive home.

It may not be much of a looker, but the Fit's a heck of a charmer.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 9,267 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Squirrelly

July 20, 2009

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Took the Fit on a quick early-morning trip to Huntington Beach (about 40 miles from my home) this weekend. The 405 freeway was relatively empty, so I was able to experience the Fit at a higher speed than I usually do on my 7-mile stop-and-go commute. I noticed that the 2,500-pound hatchback can feel pretty squirrelly at higher speeds (which isn't so surprising for a subcompact), and more than once the freeway's rain grooves caused the Bridgestone Turanza EL470 all-season tires to hunt rather fiercely (which, combined with the squirrelliness, can make the experience even more disquieting).

Most of the driving I'd do if I owned the Fit would be on city streets at a slower pace, so it wouldn't be an issue most of the time, and maybe I'd have the luxury of owning a heavier car that was more suitable for road trips and highway travel. But for Fit owners with more modest budgets, the occasional, slightly disconcerting freeway wiggle will have to suffice.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 9,058 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Arcade Shifter

May 28, 2009

2009 Honda Fit Shifter

I don't think the Honda Fit's shifter is mechanically attached to the transmission. It is so ridiculously light and devoid of any resistance, moving the stick through its gates feels more like the manual shifter on an arcade game. If you were to tell me that putting the Fit's shifter into each gate triggers an electrical signal that triggers a gear elsewhere, I wouldn't be surprised. The Fit's lack of torque certainly contributes to this toy car feel.

It certainly makes for easy shifting -- dropping from third to second can be accomplished with your pinky -- but count me as a person who would like some actual mechanical feel to my manual transmission. I don't need some stiff thing that feels like its attached to a John Deere grain combine (cough, Infiniti G35, cough), but some inkling of response would be nice. A Mini Cooper S is one example of how to do it right.

And this is coming from a person who owned an Acura TSX, another car with one of Honda's typically low-effort gearboxes. Perhaps it's because the shifter wasn't capped with a giant super ball, but the TSX and other more powerful Hondas manage to avoid feeling like the Fit's arcade shifter.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 7,200 miles

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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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2009 Honda Fit: Do What You Do Best

May 12, 2009


I needed to clean a bunch of stuff out of a friend's apartment last night. I could have used our long-term Infiniti FX50 or our Audi A4 Avant for the task, but when my eyes landed on the Honda Fit, I wanted the orange hatchback. You see, I didn't know how much stuff I'd be hauling, and even though our Fit has a lower max cargo volume than the FX50 -- 57.3 cubic feet vs. 62.0 (A4 has 51 even) -- it's perfectly flat-folding seats and low lift-over height make it much more desirable.

I ended up hauling the computers that got us through college (warning: old people ahead... a Macintosh Performa 636CD circa 1995 and a Compaq Presario circa 1997) off to the safe disposal site at the Santa Monica municipal dump -- you have to show ID proving you're a resident. I also boxed up a bunch of old slide carousels, convoluted term papers on postmodernism and a CD collection that includes every U2 album from 1980-1996.

It's not always flattering to see who you were 10 years ago, but the Honda Fit didn't seem to be judging me. It took every last dusty box and inkjet printer. Then, we got on the freeway, and the Fit drove in its usual honest manner. You always hear its 1.5-liter engine working, because even at a 75-mph cruise, it needs to be up around 3,500-4,000 rpm. There's always body roll through the I-5 South/I-10 East interchange, because this is a tall hatchback with soft suspension and it's good to know its limitations.

There are plenty of cars on the market that try to hide potential shortcomings, but not the Fit. It's exactly what it appears to be, and frankly, as an economy hatchback, it excels.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 6,421 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Little Rascal

April 14, 2009


OK, I have to admit, last night was my first time in our new Honda Fit Sport. I haven't really been avoiding it as much as I've managed to choose other cars for the night. But most of our staffers like it so I figured it was high time to give it a go.

It's like a naughty little boy: somewhat untidy and mischievous but not a bad kid. And you have to drive it. There's something to be said for having to engage with your vehicle.

I found all three pedals to be positioned strangely low to the floor and they felt mushy. But the clutch engages quickly and is easy on the leg muscles. The wobbly shifter has loooong throws. Where's 5th gear? Oh, hello, over there. How's the weather?

Overall, it's a fun little devil.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

P.S. Photo by Scott Jacobs

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Talented, but Needs Torque

April 13, 2009

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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

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Nerd -- Press Start!

April 06, 2009

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My previous brief drives in the 2009 Honda Fit were -- Surprise! -- uninspiring.

But I thought the more I drove it, the more I'd like it.
It's not working out like that.

One thing I'm not loving is the shifter. At first I was going to write how it behaves like a shift-by-wire transmission (where there is no direct mechanical connection between the shifter and the transmission.) And the Fit shift lever doesn't feel like it's connected to the transmission.

But what it more closely approximates is the shifter on a video game -- arcade-style, not xbox.

Our Copy Editor loves the shifter on the popular the Fast and the Furious arcade game -- and it's somewhat close in feeling to the shifter of the Fit.

Now we just have to rig up our long-term Fit with a N2O switch.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Eval Engineer @ 4785 miles

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2009 Honda Fit: Not Slow Unless You Want To Go Fast

March 23, 2009


I've been doing a lot of city driving in our 2009 Honda Fit recently and have been impressed by the torque output from the car's 1.5-liter engine. The 2009 engine revisions have made this car more tractable than our original long-term 2007 Fit. Even when I upshift in every gear at about 2,500 rpm (this gets me into fifth gear by 40 mph), there's enough acceleration here to match urban traffic flow.

Nailing the throttle for maximum acceleration, though, is a good reminder that the Fit is still running with just 117 horsepower. If you're really in a hurry, the speedo's upward movement can seem quite slow if you've gotten used to today's world of 270-hp V6 family sedans. (As we posted earlier, the car can do zero to 60 mph in a respectable 8.9 seconds (or 8.6 seconds with a 1-foot rollout), but the traction-control-enabled 9.8-second 0-60 mph and 17.1-second quarter mile times are more reflective of the car in the real world.) Even so, I'm very pleased with our Fit's around-town, general-use performance.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4,230 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: Get the Automatic

March 13, 2009


(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: Track Tested!

March 11, 2009


(photo by Scott Jacobs)

Car of the Week can be such a tease. Day after day of driving impressions, liveability issues, comfort, blah blah blah. I know what you've been clamoring for: test data from the 2009 Honda Fit Sport!

0-60. 1/4 mile. Braking from 60. Slalom. Skidpad. We did it all. Follow the jump for full results.

Vehicle: 2009 Honda Fit Sport 5MT

Odometer: 1,150
Date: 02/03/09
Driver: Josh Jacquot

Price: $18,780

Drive Type: Front Wheel Drive
Transmission Type: 5-speed manual

Engine Type: inline 4
Displacement (cc / cu-in): 1,497cc (91cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 6,600
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 117 @ 6600
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 106 @ 4800
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc
Brake Type (rear): Drum
Steering System: Electric power steering
Suspension Type (front): MacPherson strut
Suspension Type (rear): Torsion beam
Tire Size (front): 185/55R16
Tire Size (rear): 185/55R16
Tire Brand: Bridgestone
Tire Model: Turanza EL470
Tire Type: All-season
Wheel Size: 16 X 6.0 front -- 16 X 6.0 rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): Alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,516

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 3.0
0 - 45 (sec): 5.5
0 - 60 (sec): 8.9 (9.8 with traction control enabled)
0 - 75 (sec): 13.7
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 16.6 @ 81.6 (17.1 @ 81.0 with traction control enabled)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 8.6 (9.4 with traction control enabled)
30 - 0 (ft): 35
60 - 0 (ft): 137
Braking Rating: Poor
Slalom (mph): 65.8 (62.9 with traction control enabled)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.78 ( .75 with traction control enabled)
Handling Rating: Good
Db @ Idle: 42.0
Db @ Full Throttle: 77.1
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 68.0

Acceleration Comments: Ultra-light control feel, minimal power and little grip mean there's little technique to launching the Fit...just get her moving and shift fast. Fortunately, the shifter works well.

Braking Comments: No fade, but the pedal feels a bit flimsy / floppy and 137 feet won't win the Fit any awards.

Handling Comments: (Skid pad) Heavy understeer is the Fit's preferred balane around the pad and there's little that can be done to change it. (Slalom) The Fit does little wrong here as it assumes a "safe" attitude when it comes to changing directions. But it also isn't terribly engaging with little grip and low limits.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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2009 Honda Fit: Two Great Features That Should Go Together

March 09, 2009


I recently got back from a photo assignment with about 500 miles worth of driving. If there was something I could change about our Fit it would be one of two things on the same theme:

1) A sixth gear to reduce the high rev whine while driving on the freeway.

2) More sound deadening material to reduce engine noise when driving on the freeway.

Option one and two together would be even better. After two hours of highway driving at high rev/noise, I felt like I drank too much coffee at work. I got a little anxious to get out of the car for an extended period of time.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2009 Honda Fit: A Better Driving Position

March 02, 2009

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One of the main reasons I disliked driving our 2007 Honda Fit was that I didn't fit in it. It had no seat height adjustment and the non-telescopic steering wheel was too far away. My 6-ft 2-inch frame was utterly incompatible with what felt like a hasty JDM adpatation.

All of my complaints have been magically wiped away in the 2009 Honda Fit. Being able to lower the seats and pull the new telescopic wheel back has several benefits. My knees have clearance behind the wheel, which means I can operate the clutch and other pedals without splaying my legs apart, mantis-style. I can also reach the wheel without reaching, maintaining a nice bend in my arm. And my ankle doesn't feel strained because it no longer takes an awkward bend to rest it on the throttle.

And it goes beyond mere driving position. The 2009 Fit is more stable and precise when it comes to maneuverability and steering. And it has a less-wheezy engine, so I find myself downshifting far less often to summon speed when passing.

To me, the 2009 Honda Fit is an entirely different car. It went from a car I steadfastly avoided in 2007 to one I seek out in 2009. I've always favored small cars, and the 2009 Fit restores my faith in the genre.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 2,723 miles

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2009 Honda Fit Sport: What's Your Hurry?

February 12, 2009

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Our long-term 2009 Honda Fit's five-speed doesn't like to be rushed. Sure, the lever itself flits from gate to gate with uncommon lightness and rapidity, but the emissions-control software (I'm guessing) operates on a considerably more relaxed schedule. The result is what's known as "hanging revs" -- when you're accelerating at, say, 4,500 rpm and depress the clutch to upshift, the engine keeps spinning at 4,500 rpm for an extra couple beats before slowly dropping toward idle speed. Our old Fit had the same issue, and if anything it's more pronounced on the new one.

So what's the big deal? Well, it's way too easy to outpace the hanging revs when you're upshifting. I'm not talking all-out acceleration runs here; even a normal (for me) shifting rhythm has the Fit in fits. Let's go back to the 4,500-rpm example. Suppose I'm shifting from third to fourth at that engine speed: I take my foot off the gas, depress the clutch, engage fourth and get back on the gas...but in the Fit, the revs are still hanging up around 4,500 rpm, resulting in an unavoidable lurch as they plummet to 3,200 rpm (or whatever the number would be in fourth).

The solution is to pause for a second after you've depressed the clutch, then go on with your normal upshifting procedure -- that gives the revs time to drop down to where they're supposed to be. I don't know about y'all, but personally I'd rather not have to do this much thinking every time I shift.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 1,574 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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