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Thread: 2009 Honda Fit

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    2009 Honda Fit

    "Mad Max" wasn't realistic.

    Let's face it: The last thing you'd want in a gasoline-starved, post-economic collapse world would be a 12 mpg V-8 Interceptor like Max drove.

    You'd want something like the Honda Fit instead. It only costs a bit more than a new motorcycle, gets near-hybrid gas mileage (35 mpg on the highway) and can carry you, your family - and lots of provisions - far away from Anarchy Lane.

    WHAT IT IS

    The Fit is a five-door, tall-roof hatchback wagon that replaces the Civic as Honda's most affordable model - with a base price of $14,550 vs. $15,405 for the Civic DX sedan. It competes with other small sedans and hatchback wagons like the Toyota Yaris, Scion xD and Chevy Aveo5.

    WHAT'S NEW

    Though it's only been on the market in the U.S. for about a year, the 2009 Fit is completely new - with even more interior space (57 cubic feet) a stronger (but no less efficient) engine and styling tweaks intended to make it as appealing as it is practical.

    ENGINES & PERFORMANCE

    The '09 Fit's engine is a 1.5 liter i-VTEC (variable valve timing and lift) four rated at 117 hp. It is both smaller and less powerful than the Civic's standard 1.8 liter, 140 hp engine. However, the Fit weighs considerably less (2,489 lbs. vs. 2,630 lbs.) so acceleration/performance are comparable - both take about 9 seconds to reach 60 mph - while the Fit's fuel economy (28 city/35 highway) is slightly better than the Civic's (26 city, 34 highway).

    Interestingly, the automatic-equipped version of the Fit is the most fuel-efficient. Models equipped with the standard 5-speed manual transaxle are rated by the EPA at 27 city, 33 highway - 1 mpg shy of the automatic's in-town performance and 2 mpg off its highway performance.

    But as far as budget considerations go, it's probably still better to go with the manual over the automatic, which adds about $1,500 to the base price of the car. The automatic's mileage advantage is so slight it'll take years to make up the difference - so if you prefer the stick, stick with it.

    Buy the automatic only if you prefer not to shift for yourself.

    RIDE & HANDLING

    One of the biggest negatives of owning a small car in years past was they felt like they were made out of tinfoil - which wasn't far from the truth. They bounced with every rut, the pathetically skinny/barely adequate tires squealed in every corner - and it sometimes required a two-wheeled death grip on the highway just to keep from being blown into the next lane by the wake of passing semis.

    The Fit is definitely small, but it comes standard with large (for its size) 15 inch rims and 65-series tires (with sixteen inch rims optional) which, on a proportional basis, gives the car a bigger footprint than my '70s-era V-8 muscle car - also shod with 15 inch rims and ridiculous 70-series tires - enjoyed.

    Ride quality is firmer than the Chevy Aveo's or Hyundai Accent's - both of which are on the spongy side - closer to the Scion xD's. But the Honda's super-precise electric-assist power steering is better than anything in its segment.

    The Fit can be leaned on pretty hard without resulting in obvious signs of " you're pushing it" - such as screeching tires and heavy body roll. This sporting character - along with its superior versatility and excellent gas mileage - is a triple play that's hard to top.

    STYLING & UTILITY

    The high-roofed hatchback/wagon layout can't be argued with on a functional level. The design makes much better use of the available space - inside and out - than would be the case with a traditional small sedan. As mentioned earlier, the Fit has several times the cargo capacity of the physically larger (on the outside) Civic sedan, seats as many (with more headroom, especially for rear seat occupants) yet will fit into tighter parking spaces (and is easier to maneuver) due to its shorter overall length.

    It also has considerably more cargo/interior space than either the Toyota Yaris sedan (13 cubic feet), Scion xD (36 cubic feet) or the Chevy Aveo5 (42 cubic feet).

    And only the Fit has the super clever (and super useful) Magi Seat, which fold completely flat as well as up, creating an extra deep well that allows you to carry stuff like a bicycle inside the car. With the front passenger seat folded down, the Fit can also handle objects close to eight feet long without having to leave the rear hatch open.

    Lots of glass all around you and a high ceiling also create the impression of a much larger car. (Cross-shop the Civic sedan and see for yourself.)

    I also liked the extra cupholder molded in the dash to the left of the steering wheel - and the split-opening glovebox (which is where the USB hook-up for electronic gadgets such as iPods is located).

    A Sport package is available that comes with fog lights, a body kit and rear spoiler - as well as F1-style paddle shifters for changing gears on automatic-equipped Fits.

    QUALITY & SAFETY

    One of the striking things about the Fit is that's it's so obviously not a Blue Light Special - its affordable price notwithstanding. Materials and workmanship are excellent; clearly better than other cars in its general range. It doesn't feel or look like an economy car, as the Chevy Aveo absolutely does (and even the Toyota Yaris does).

    When equipped with the paddled-shifted 5-speed automatic and GPS with tilt/folding LCD display, the Fit comes off several notches above "entry level" - despite its under $17k price when equipped with both those features. A tile/telescoping wheel and AC are included on the base models, too.

    And the Honda name is as solid as it gets in terms of holding value over time.

    Every Fit comes with ABS, front seat side impact air bags and curtain air bags. The only safety device that isn't standard is stability control, but it comes bundled with the optional GPS navigation system .

    DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

    What's great about the Fit compared with some of the mileage-uber-alles ultra-compacts out there is it can comfortably handle highway driving/long trips as well as close-in commuting duty. More than that, actually. It is genuinely fun to drive, too.

    I live in rural SW Virginia, where the roads are open and the terrain can involve steady pulls up (and back down) the mountain - the kind of driving that exposes the weaknesses of hybrids like the Prius and the Smart car - both of which are wonderful in stop-and-go city-type driving but clearly out of their depth where I live. While the power's not immense, neither is the Fit gimpy. It's twice as fast as an '80s-era Chevette, 0-60 and because of its light weight and the i-VTEC's strong powerband, it's a car that really can be used for just about any purpose. not just commuting.

    Now, the Yaris and xD are ok in this respect too - but they can't match the Fit's roomy, versatile interior and amazing ability to cart around stuff.

    I was especially impressed by the automatic equipped Fit, which not only can match or even beat the stick-shift version, MPG-wise, it's still reasonably perky, too. The steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters add to the racy vibe.

    THE BOTTOM LINE

    Owning a Fit is a great way to deal with an imploding economy and spiraling gas prices - without having to give up much in the way of either driving fun or your self-respect.

    It is a little more expensive than a Toyota Yaris sedan ($12,965 to start) or the super-affordable Chevy Aveo5 ($11,460) but this is a case where you really are getting more for your money - literally as well as figuratively.


  2. #2
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    Re: 2009 Honda Fit

    This article has been posted on the main site with pictures:




    http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/...0&Itemid=10918

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mase's Avatar
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    Re: 2009 Honda Fit

    I would rather have a Nissan Versa.
    A man's greatest mistake is to think he is working for somebody else.

  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2009 Honda Fit

    Quote Originally Posted by Mase
    I would rather have a Nissan Versa.
    The Versa's a nice car; but it's considerably bigger and its gas mileage isn't as good. Of all the so-called "B" cars, the Versa's the closest to an enthusiast driver's car.

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