Review: 2009 Honda Fit
This 2009 review is representative of model years 2009 to 2013.
By James Tate of MSN Autos
Honda couldn’t have picked a better time to release the 2009 Fit. While gas prices continue to soar and the economy continues to tank, who isn’t looking for a reliable and economical alternative for daily transportation? The new Fit is as thrifty and innovative as its forebear, but with an improved interior, so even if you’re trading in your 5-Series it’s worth a look.
Seventy percent of buyers are estimated to pay the extra $1,500 to get the Fit Sport, which includes 16-inch wheels with slightly larger 185/55R16 rubber (vs. 175/65R15), an aerodynamic kit, a roof spoiler, fog lights and quite a bit more. It’s easy to see why Honda expects the Fit Sport to be the volume seller — for an extra $1,500 it’s a no-brainer. Honda estimates that 10 percent of Fit Sport buyers will spend another $1,850 to add navigation and vehicle stability assist. The package is only available on the Fit Sport and is expected to attract buyers downsizing from larger cars.
Under the Hood
There’s only one engine offering for both trim levels, but the 1.5-liter can be had with either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed automatic. The Fit Sport adds paddle shifters to the automatic transmission and it can also be had with vehicle stability control.
Some have found reason to complain about the lack of an independent rear suspension (this was also the case in the previous Fit), but you’ll never notice its absence on the road, and the torsion beam suspension makes room for 20.6 cubic feet of cargo volume.
The Fit comes loaded with neat touches that are typically found on more expensive cars, such as a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, a passenger vanity mirror, and a USB audio interface (Fit Sport). The instrument cluster is stacked with futuristic blue gauges and Honda’s top-line navigation system is now available.
As in its predecessor, the gas tank is mounted under the front seats. This time it’s smaller, which creates more interior space. In the rear, bench seats flip completely flat at the pull of one lever, regardless of front seat position. Alternatively, the seat bottoms can be turned upward for carrying tall things. There are 10 cupholders throughout the cabin, complemented by storage nooks including a dual glove box and a hidden underseat compartment.
On the Road
As great as the Fit is in traffic, it’s preferable to be slotting down one of California’s winding coastal roads. The Fit makes quick work of twisty sections, thanks to a competent torsion-beam rear suspension, but the twin A-pillars necessitated by the large front quarter window make for a big blind spot when driving fast. The brake pedal is firm, but thanks to 7.6-inch rear drum brakes the Fit isn’t exactly the car you want to take bombing through an extended downhill canyon run.
Get up to highway speeds and you quickly realize that the diminutive 1.5-liter engine needs a lot of revs to really get moving, and is even more evident while going uphill. The Toyota Yaris has more torque, but is nowhere near as fun to drive through corners. Despite the Fit’s nimble moves in the twisties, the suspension isn’t overly stiff on the highway and new, higher-dollar seats are noticeably more supportive than those of the 2008 Fit.
The manual transmission offers positive shifts, but the five-speed automatic transmission is the way to go — it’s just as fast, actually gets better gas mileage (27/33 vs. 28/35 city/hwy) in base trim, and is much easier in rush-hour traffic. Our only complaint is with the shift logic when using the paddle shifters in the Fit Sport. The computer allows first-gear downshifts, which are rough on the neck muscles and usually unnecessary. It’s also worth noting that the Fit Sport manages 27/33 mpg (city/hwy) with either the manual or the automatic transmission.
Right for You?
James Tate cut his teeth in the business as a race team crew member before moving to the editorial side asSenior Editor of Sport Compact Car, and his work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Automobile, Motor Trend and European Car. When not writing, Tate is usually fantasizing about a vintage Porsche 911.
In the market for a new car?MSN Autos is pleased to provide you with information and services designed to save you time, money and hassle. Click toresearch prices and specificationson any new car on the market orget a free price quotethrough MSN Autos' New-Car Buying Service.