By on December 8, 2008

Sequels are tricky. With few exceptions they are worse than the originals. Empire Strikes Back and Godfather II are the only examples I can think of where the follow up exceeds the original. Rumor has it that Weekend at Bernie’s II is better than the first film, but I couldn’t tell you. And sometimes you have a part deux that misses the point. Like Terminator II. You know the one where the 12-year-old boy tells the ruthless cyborg from the future not to kill anyone. Hey look, as movie T2 is perfectly pleasant (though it does feature George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone”), but it’s nowhere as lean, mean, terrifying or fascinating as the original. I think you know where this is going.

From the outside the new for 2009 Honda Fit looks, erm, bigger. In fairness, the nose is a bit more pinched (a la Civic). So it looks more sporty when coming at you. But from the side? Just bigger. Yeah sure, there’s an extra crease here and a kinked sill there. But the Fit still looks like a cute, shrunken minivan. And that’s OK.

I’m not a fan of what’s inside. Unlike the first Fit– which featured both Acura-grade instrumentation and an earnest, honest feel– this guy is a mess. Some buttons are straight out of the HUMMER catalog: huge, over-sized twisty knobs put in place via a drunken round of pin the tail on the donkey. In other words, me no like. I did enjoy the seemingly endless number of cubby holes found essentially everywhere– like cup holders directly in front of the vents. Smart. Unless you have a cold drink and it’s cold out… At least the “magic seat” still folds flatter than Kansas macadam. Moving on…

When I drove the first Fit back in April of 2006 I was impressed by its power to weight ratio. That Fit only had 109 hp, meaning it didn’t weigh anything. This new Fit weighs exactly 10 kilograms more than the old Fit. That’s 22 pounds to us Yanks, and some of us ate nearly that much on Thanksgiving. Seeing as how the 2009 Fit’s 1.5-liter now makes 118 hp (and two additional pound-foots of torque for a total of 107 lb-ft) I should be even more smitten with the new version. But I’m not. Why? The new Fit drives like a Hummingbird.

As soon as your left foot releases some clutch it’s “BZZZZZZZZ!!!” and torque steer. If there were four or five more torques you’d be smoking the tires at every take off. Try as I might– and I tried– I just couldn’t launch the thing smoothly. How about once you’re up to speed? Well, define speed. Because at 80 mph you’re buzzing along over 4,000 rpm. There’s just never a dull moment, which isn’t what you want in a high-mileage grocery hauler.

Some of you might be thinking that 27/33 doesn’t sound that bad. And you’d be right. I’ve also heard that the paddle-shifted automatic versions of the new Fit aren’t quite so herky-jerky. So here’s the part where I’m supposed to actually recommend a slushbox over a row your own. But a funny thing happened on the way to see my mother.

Mom lives in the nation’s first “master planned community:” Thousand Oaks, CA. This means lots of wide four-lane roads with 55 mph limits and not many stop signs. On one particular stretch I found myself not exactly racing but definitely going at it with a Range Rover. I could bore you to death with details of my heroic exploits, but the moral isn’t that I outran the Landy (of course I did), but rather how impressively the Fit behaved when push came to shove. To reiterate, I was shoving. And that’s what I liked most about the old Fit: mid level performance at an entry level price.

Let’s recap. For a  thousand bucks more than the previous car, Honda will sell you a bigger Fit Sport with more power and a negligible weight penalty. It’s raw butt pain around town as smooth launches are impossible. Due to wind resistance and lack (still) of a sixth gear, it’s no picnic on the freeway either. However, get the 2009 Fit alone on a twisty road and you’re reminded why driving is such rewarding fun.

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111 Comments on “Review: 2009 Honda Fit Sport...”


  • avatar
    Orangutan

    “Who stole the mpgs?”

    The EPA, that’s who. Those 33/38 numbers are for the pre-2008 estimates. Go take a look at a 2008 Fit and you’ll see it achieves 27-28 in the city and 33-34 on the highway. Fact-checking for the win.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Glad you mentioned the mpg.
    09 worse than 08.
    Not as good as a Cobalt.

  • avatar
    John R

    The Dark Knight?

    Anywhoo, I was seriously considering picking up one of these second hand, but I really wanted a car that could not get out of its own way but also extricate itself from the pack easily. I would really love to see the Si’s motor in this thing. Would that even fit? (Ugh, I didn’t even mean to make that pun.)

  • avatar
    John R

    @indi500fan:

    I’ve driven a Pontiac G5. If the Cobalt is the same affair (it probably is) I would gladly take the 3-4mpg hit of a Fit.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Orangutan is right. I own an 07 Fit Sport automatic (I’m married). The 07 numbers were 31 city and 37 highway, if memory serves. 08 figures (identical car) were down considerably. But in truth, the new numbers are what I am seeing in the real world.

    I don’t like the looks of the 09 as well. Every line on the car, both inside and out is more aggressive. Did Honda hire the designers who were doing the GM cars around 2000-02? The original was clean and straightforward, both inside and out. I saw my first 09 a couple of months ago. I liked mine better then, and I still do.

    And you are right, Jonny. The car begs for a 6th gear.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    I’m gonna call BS on using Terminator 2 as an example of an inferior sequel. It’s a classic; the first one isn’t nearly as cool imo.

    I tested a 09 Sport. The automatic was fairly nice, and it had armrests which was nice. 3 stars is probably a little harsh. It’s still a very nice, fuel efficient, peppy car. It loses some gas mileage to be more like regular cars which may not be the auto nuts favorite way to go, but is probably a smart business move.

  • avatar

    I like the new Fit, especially the Euro-Civic style front clip. Thanks for the review Jonny, I think I’ll put this new one with the GEN-II Scion xB, even if that’s a little harsh. The old Fit seemed to push the buttons harder than this one.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    2008 Fit EPA: 28/34 Manual; 27/34 Auto
    2009 Fit EPA: 27/33 Manual; 28/35 Auto

    Result: A wash. Jonny, a re-write?

  • avatar
    Bytor

    Still missing a top gear is my main gripe. My highways speed is typically 120kmh(75mph).

    I want more relaxed RPMs.

  • avatar
    Banger

    Orangutan:
    “Who stole the mpgs?”

    The EPA, that’s who.

    Exactly the same reason my Ford Ranger went from an EPA sticker of 29 mpg highway in 2006 to 26 mpg highway today. Funny thing is, my truck seemed to notice. I used to routinely get 29 or even (shock!) 30+ mpg on the highway. But lately, she seems to be getting what she’s “supposed” to get– around 26-27 mpg. Tires are full, new air filter, regular maintenance. It’s got me baffled.

    Almost as baffled, I should say, as why Honda would bloat this car, too. But I guess as Toyota and Honda have proven, there’s no good idea that couldn’t be made “better,” and I use the term in some sick, backwards way, by making it fatter, and out of cheaper materials.

    I’ve yet to see an ’09 because my dealer, unlike most I hear about via TTAC, still has a few ’08s on-hand. Rest assured, once they get their first ’09, they’ll be parking it right up along the street so everybody can look at it. Or not, with gas prices at $1.50 or less lately. Whatev.

  • avatar
    Banger

    toxicroach:

    I’m gonna call BS on using Terminator 2 as an example of an inferior sequel. It’s a classic; the first one isn’t nearly as cool imo.

    Terminator 3, on the other hand…

  • avatar

    Banger:

    By chance, has the ethanol formulation changed in your gasoline supply during the time? If you went from real gas to E10 I would not be surprised that is where the mileage went. Otherwise it’s just a symptom of higher mileage (there is a plateau once things break in where efficiency and power peaks, then it goes down from there and you lose power and efficiency very gradually. Not overnight change, but over thousands of miles.)

  • avatar
    willbodine

    If that pup is doing 4,000 rpm at 80, that works out to a top gear that gives 20 mph per 1000 rpm. A car isn’t considered “overdriven” until the ratio is 27mph or higher (some cars actually come close to 40 mph per 1000) so that’s the mpg problem right there. Even with 1.5 litres.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    It seems like the torque steer and high revs at highway speed could be fixed with some gear ratio teaks.

    I wonder if the turning aftermarket will offer a manual 6th gear or different ratios?

  • avatar
    Zarba

    4,000 RPM at 80???

    Give that car another gear. At 4K, you’re probably in the fat part of a thin powerband, but that’s gotta start droning on you after a few miles.

  • avatar
    James2

    Perhaps it’s a good thing Honda is leaving F1. Those crack engineers who couldn’t get either Jensen or Rubens past the first qualifying round can now start working diligently on the Fit. Pity the Honda F1 cars are as ugly as a Ridgeline, so there’s no hope on the styling front.

  • avatar

    First a disclaimer: I own a 2009 Fit Sport (manual transmission).

    Over all I really like this car. I haul quite a bit of stuff on a regular basis, and the interior packaging is tremendous, much better than anything else in the class.

    On the MPG front, I’m getting around 38 MPG in normal driving, mostly the 16 miles to work and back, country roads and freeway — 70 mph tops.

    (MPG computed using the miles/gallons used calculation, not the onboard computer.)

    The one complaint I have is the gearing. It doesn’t so much as need a 6th gear as it just needs a taller final drive. First barely gets you through an intersection, and at 75 mph on a trip down to Las Vegas the engine is pulling 3700 RPM or so. I’m sure it’s just fine there and not hurting anything, but unnecessary and fuel robbing. I got 36 MPG on that trip.

    I test drove one with the auto, and it had much more realistic gearing. A bit more sluggish off the line, but the top end wasn’t quite so nutty. My friend’s Suzuki SX4 has this same problem — I did read once that the engineers did this because Americans don’t like to shift; can’t prove that but it is annoying on the long haul. If I didn’t want to shift, I’d buy the auto. A stupid decision on their part.

    Back road handling is quite nice, the mountain pass roads around my house are very entertaining in the Fit. It’s not a high end sports car, but is still plenty fun.

    I highly recommend it, for what it is. Yes you can get more, but you pay more. Yes you can pay less, but you get less as well.

  • avatar
    RGS920

    Those mpg numbers are dismal for a sub compact. Johnny, did you happen to do any actual mpg calculations while driving the fit?

    As a completely nonsensical future car comparison (Green Edition) I submit you compare the Honda Fit Sport to a Lotus Elise and find out which one returns better real world MPG in city and highway driving and what ever else green people care about.

    Did Honda lose the plot when it remodeled this car?

  • avatar
    cgroppi

    Those mpg numbers are dismal for a sub compact.

    Uhh, no. The only two gasoline powered non-hybrid cars to get better fuel economy than the 2009 Fit are the Toyota Yaris and the Mini. They both manage a whopping 1mpg better city, 2mpg better highway.

  • avatar

    In re: bigger wheels: Even though the Fit Sport has bigger wheels (16 vs 15), they’re actually narrower than before — 185/55 versus 195/55. So, they have more load capacity, but less grip, which seems like kind of a retrograde step.

    I feel like Honda’s in danger of losing the plot with this one. The original Fit/Jazz was cunning, but it was successful enough that Honda didn’t know what to do with it other than the consumer-clinic approach (“a little more room…a little more power”). A shame.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    What passes for a subcompact these days would have been a mid sized sedan 20 years ago.

    Old school subcompacts look tiny compared to the Fit.

  • avatar
    Orangutan

    cgroppi: The smart fortwo and diesel Jetta also get better mileage. But the point still stands.

  • avatar
    Jonathan I. Locker

    I have to say it…Star Trek II – Wrath of Khan is the sequel that was so superior to the first one, it is like the first one did not exist.

    And what is with the small Japanese cars being “Americanized?”

    The fist generation Scion xB was a wonderful little car, with great mileage, zippy handling, and very roomy for it’s size and price. The 1st gen Honda fit was a wonderful little car, with great mileage, zippy handling, and very roomy for it’s size and price.

    Now the 2nd gen versions are heavier, bloated, have lower quality interiors, lower mileage, and not so zippy (the xB drives like a Camry).

    I would then ask, is that what Americans really want with their cars? Or is it what the Japanese manufacturers think we want?

  • avatar
    NickR

    Alien vs Aliens? Inquiring minds want to know.

    I sometimes wonder if it would be possible for a company to say ‘Hey, this car is going to have 100hp, period. And it should be practical and fun to drive (maybe set some minimum parameters). Now engineers, have at it.’

  • avatar
    Jason

    In a friendly, non-flaming sort of way, I’ll opine that if the RS4 review was Lieberman’s best, this may be his…not-best.

  • avatar
    cgroppi

    Which is why I said “gasoline,” at least for the jetta.

    For whatever reason, the smart does not come up when you search for “small cars” in the fueleconomy.gov database. It is classified as a “two seater.”

  • avatar
    Jason

    Oh, and +1 for Wrath of Khan. The only Trek worth watching for non-Trekkies, I’ll add.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Give that car another gear. At 4K, you’re probably in the fat part of a thin powerband, but that’s gotta start droning on you after a few miles

    It needs a lower final drive. The car is impossible to launch smoothly because first gear is just ridiculously short. So is second. And third. And fourth and fifth, come to think of it.

    I own a 2008, and I can pull away–with much clutch slipping–in third gear. That’s evidence of stupid final drive gearing. It’s all done to make the car seem quick from the line, quick to sixty and to coddle drivers who don’t feel like downshifting to pass. Did you know the Fit can do 0-60 in about nine seconds? Again with the stupid; a nine-second econocar makes about as much sense as a six-second family sedan.

    It would be nice if Honda offered one or more of the following:
    * A sixth gear. It wouldn’t fix the problems with city mileage, but it would help the 4000rpm highway cruises
    * A less agressive final drive, which would fix the city mileage issue at the expense of burnouts and torque steer, which no one cares about in a hundred-horse compact.
    * A smaller engine, at least as an option. Europeans make do with 1.2L and 1.4L engines that are quick enough. And really, we love this car for it’s handling and packaging, not it’s power.

  • avatar
    Ken_DFA

    I tested one of these two weeks ago. I was impressed by the amount of space inside (you could fit a drum kit + 2 half stacks and more), but the ride wasn’t so great. Buzzy, loud engine and weaker handling than what I’ve heard. I’ve since crossed it off my list.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    What passes for a subcompact these days would have been a mid sized sedan 20 years ago.

    Old school subcompacts look tiny compared to the Fit.

    Not true. The Fit is about the size of Civic Wagovan or Tercel Wagon. Ditto the Yaris, which is actually much shorter.

    What these cars are is “taller”. There’s an advantage to that: no one likes the ass-on-the-floor seating of an old Civic. Raising the roof without raising the floor pays off big time in comfort and space.

  • avatar

    Didn’t the “Magic Seat” lose some of its magic in the redesign, as in one of the modes?

    TrueDelta will have a reliability score for the 2009 Fit in February, thanks to active participation by Fit owners. More always better, of course.

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Gotta say that in Houston, the drink holder in front of the AC vent is pure heaven.

    Sounds to me like the local Honda shops will be busy on clutch repairs.

  • avatar
    shrique

    I have a 2009 Fit Auto and I’ve been quite happy with it.

    Here are some good points:
    The revs on the highway are super low compared to my old Protege5.
    The interior is flexible as all getout
    The highway gas mileage at a stead 75mph was about 43mpg (3 hour roadtrip)
    The auto5 shifts really quickly

    Here are some bad points:
    It’s “darty” on the highway, wind etc blows it around.
    Small gas tank
    Seat bottoms a little short
    Somewhat “tinny”, you can really hear the rocks hit the wheel wells
    Doesn’t stand up well to Oldsmobiles in parking lots

    I’ve been very happy. I drive 6 miles to work and during the summer was getting 35mpg. Now that it’s getting cold and snowy it seems to be dropping to 33mpg. It’s just as fast as my Protege5 (which wasn’t fast anyway) but doesn’t seem to be quite as flat in the corners.

  • avatar
    jaje

    If most notice the Fit is has to push much more air due to its shape and boxier dimension versus the lower and more streamlined Civic. That is a major reason why the Fit’s HWY MPG isn’t all that great. But you could always wind up in an Aveo or the G3 – which are penalty boxes (thanks GM!). But if you choose a lower to ground sedan you lose the beauty of what the Fit can offer – minivan like storage space in a 30+ mpg package.

    A friend of mine is switching his entire fleet of Colorado trucks to Honda Fit. It seems the Fit can carry the max load they thought they needed the Colorado for. They now spend much less to purchase (as they bought crew cabs!) and can haul equipment for a much cheaper price.

  • avatar
    RGS920

    @cgroppi :

    “‘Those mpg numbers are dismal for a sub compact.’

    Uhh, no. The only two gasoline powered non-hybrid cars to get better fuel economy than the 2009 Fit are the Toyota Yaris and the Mini. They both manage a whopping 1mpg better city, 2mpg better highway.”

    Uhhhhhhhh, no.

    I submit the following in descending order of Highway MPG for 2009, non diesal or hybrid cars:

    Smart For 2: 33-41
    Mini Cooper: 28-37
    Cobalt/G5 XFE: 25-37
    Yaris: 29-36
    Corolla: 27-35
    Ford Focus: 24-35
    Aveo/G3: 27-34
    ————————-
    Honda Fit S: 27-33
    Accent: 27-33
    Rio: 27-33
    Scion XD: 27-33

    And the Fit also got beat by almost every diesal VW non SUV.

    Here is my source: http://www.fueleconomy.gov

    Thanks for playing.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    Not true. The Fit is about the size of Civic Wagovan or Tercel Wagon.

    That pretty much confirms his point. You are comparing a current subcompact against small wagons from the past.

    Compare to the civic and Tercel hatchbacks of the time. The Fit is Hondas smallest car, it is not a wagon.

    As far as MPG, highway is lackluster. Probably from not so hot aerodynamics and the previously mentioned poor gearing. The Civic with a bigger engine gets better highway mileage than the fit. The manual Civic gets 34mpg highway and the auto gets 36mpg. No doubt too short gearing again, but these can be added to the list proving the Fit gets very unimpressive highway mpg.

    I tend to agree that these abysmally short top gears are aimed at those too lazy too shift. It doesn’t help that car mags push their “top gear passing tests”. When they do this test in automatics they gear down, but they don’t gear down when they repeat the test with manuals. This reinforces the “need” for short top gears. If you don’t gear down to pass, you shouldn’t get a a manual.

  • avatar
    Banger

    JEC:
    Re: Ethanol formulation vs. mpgs

    Very possible that this has changed. My preferred fuel outlet went from proudly displaying a big, used car lot-style arrow sign that said “OUR GAS DOES [NOT] CONTAIN ETHANOL!” with the NOT in red letters to displaying “enriched with up to 10% ethanol” signs on the pumps in late summer this year.

    That said, there are now practically no stations making the “no ethanol” claim, so I can’t fully test your hypothesis. Admittedly, it’s something I had been thinking of lately.

    re: The Fit’s gearing.

    My pickup truck only turns 2,500 rpm at 70 mph. In fact, in top gear, it’s 15 mph per 500 rpm, giving my powertrain a theoretical top speed around 200 mph! Not that the truck would be physically capable– I’m sure it’d be airborne and subsequently blown to smithereens before that lofty plateau would be reached. I have absolutely no trouble launching from intersections, though I admit it is not easy to induce tire chirp from a dead stop. In fact, the revving and clutch-popping action required makes me fairly uncomfortable, for fear of what I might be doing to the poor girl. Probably for the best, anyhow.

    Sounds like Honda needs to reconfigure the final drive. And perhaps like American drivers who drive stick shifts should learn how to use the silly things.

  • avatar
    Scott

    I love my ’07 Fit, and was disappointed to see how many of the little things I wished my car had get included a year after I bought mine. I never did go for the exterior refresh, and thanks to Jonny, I think I’ll forget my idea of trading up.

    By the way, even with an automatic, I can get 40 mpg consistently on the highway, and that’s with no hypermiling tricks, just slowing down a bit and keeping the revs below 3k (very difficult sometimes with the zippy little thing). In moderate traffic, it’s mid-30′s every week. My biggest gripe is that even with that mileage, I can’t quite make it a week without filling up, due to the tiny gas tank and the length of my commute. One more gallon…

  • avatar

    +1 for the hefty OD in a 6th cog. Anyone who has driven a 6MT Corvette knows just how great life is with a highway-only cog for maximum cruising potential.

    Not that the Fit needs the 0.50:1 overdrive of the Vette, but something similar…on a smaller scale. And if they’re putting 6-speeds in the 2010 Fusion four bangers, Honda really has no excuse.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The revs on the highway are super low compared to my old Protege5.

    That’s like saying murder is better than genocide. I owned a P5 and that thing was a chore on the highway. I think I drove 90km/h out of self-defense.

    That pretty much confirms his point. You are comparing a current subcompact against small wagons from the past.

    True, but that’s because, aside from the Yaris, Mini and Smart, no one makes a car in North America with as stunted a cargo area as the Tercel hatchback. The Fit has an easy 21 cubic feet before folding the seats; nearly double that of the current Civic and a good bit more than the Accord. Hell, it approaches the old Saab 900′s 28cu.ft, which as good as it gets before you’re into wagon territory.

    The Fit is a small wagon, and should be compared to small wagons of the past. The Yaris is more than a half-foot shorter, and compares nicely with the non-wagonoid Tercel.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Scott:
    You remind me of the Honda Fit fuel mileage mystery. Before I bought my 07 (Sport, auto) I read a lot of posts from an owners forum. There were 2 groups of people. One was like you, that gets 30+ in town and 38+ on highway. The other was like I turned out to be, who sees 24-25 in town and 32-33 on the road.
    The gas mileage on my car (and the small fuel tank) are the only significant gripes that I have had with the car. There are some other variables that hurt me, such as frequent use with four (and occasionally 5) full sized people in the car and the fact that my wife (the primary driver) is a bit of a hot foot. However, I can be pretty economical (I can get 26 mpg out of a 93 Crown Victoria at 70+mph) but only once got my Fit to the (then) EPA stated 37, and that only by driving about 60 mph and drafting semis.
    The ethanol issue had occurred to me, but this is difficult to test when I cannot find stations in my area that will either say yes we use it or no we don’t.
    BTW, I calculate my mileage the old school way, write my mileage each tank and calculate it at each fillup. I have kept a booklet in the glove box on every car I have ever owned, and track every tank. This is the first car since my 63 Fleetwood (and I have owned over 25) that performed way under expectation. (That one was 7.5 mpg on premium back in the late 70s. I still wince thinking about it.) Anyhow, it can only be the driver, the driving or the car. Maybe this car is just ultra sensitive as to how it is driven. Any thoughts?

  • avatar
    dotnella

    I am now on week three of my 2009 Honda Fit Sport (automatic). I’m making weekly commutes between Atlanta and Nashville in it, and all things considered, it’s not my ideal road trip car. Indeed 80mph is not in its comfort zone. It definitely has to push to stay there, and at least with the auto tranny, turning over about 3400 rpm. The Fit’s steering at highway speed is very sensitive and combined with its lightweightness, well its going to take some convincing the state patrol that one is not drunk – it’s the car! The car loves 70mph though, and will cruise there indefinitely, saving money for gas and tickets.

    There is no question; the engine is a buzz factory. Buzzing here and buzzing there – but after a day or two, I’ve come to the conclusion that the sound fits the car. Make no mistake, this is a city car, and it zips zips zips everywhere. Park it anywhere, open its hatch, and it will devour a new dishwasher. And lumber. And people.

    I opted for the full boat navi version. I’ve had a navigation system in my car since the first TomTom. This was my first factory installed unit. Though I love have a clean look (no power cables running here and there), it was a sheer waste of money -no Bluetooth?!

    The Fit replaced my 2005 Passat Wagon (1.8T). It has been a change of lifestyle, but I think that is something many of us are doing these days – simplifying life. Spending less. Being more frugal. The Fit is part of this process, and really, it ain’t a downgrade.

  • avatar
    skaro

    Huh.. I’ve been waiting for this review. I agree with most of it. I ended up getting a Suzuki SX4 Crossover instead, after driving both back to back twice. Got a lot more features (heated seats, nav, AWD, stab. control, etc) for a LOT less than the lowest price on a fit Sport. SX4 felt more solid, braked much better, and only spins at about 3500 on the highway at 80 mph. It sounds better too. WTF Honda?? I admit the Fit will have better resale and gets like 3 mpg more, but I just couldn’t do it.

  • avatar
    eh_political

    The old Fit was a Miata with a backpack. The new Fit is a nerd with a backpack. That’s the difference.

    Some really good comments. I have been waiting for this review for a long time and will add my own ambivalence to the new Fit. There are many issues to address, but by and large Fit number two will prove to be a major success.

    1. For gods sake spring for snow tires, or a different brand of all seasons. The standard rubber will give you a nasty shock in a variety of snow/low traction conditions. I am still on oems, and have been driving on tippy-toe after a few close calls.

    2. The Ride. It’s not jittery, but it is jiggly. Honda should hire some European tuners to sort this out. The wheelbase is sufficient to dial in some compliance without further blunting the handling. The ride is absolutely stupid, unless you are caning the vehicle, which means passengers are never particularly relaxed.

    3. Ya, the new interior is a step back, but it is functional, and fades to inoffensive after a few weeks.

    4. From a flexibility standpoint, Honda really screwed me eight ways. I need about two more inches of trunk length for mom’s oxygen tanks to store lengthwise–they fit in the old Fit. Awesome workaround, in that 12 canisters will fit behind the front passenger seat, but the old one would do that as well. Also, the elimination of refresh mode means her legs cant be elevated for longer trips to provide significant relief from arthritis pain in the foot.

    5. The new windshield has amazing, amazing visibility. On the other hand, thawing caked on ice and snow is an effort. 10-15 mins with defrost + a/c. There is a spray you can coat the shield with, but Honda should have a winter package with heated glass,,,and it should be standard in Canada.

    6. There are some fit and finish issues, which I had not expected in a car that had been on sale in Japan for a year. Rear door fascias seem particularly flimsy, and the sheet metal is reminiscent of aluminum foil in some areas.

    7. Rear windshield wiper is set up for rhd, not particularly useful for visibility in Norf America…a small thing, but it leads to another bit of an issue. Honda should make the split folding magic seat 50/50, and admit it is a 4+1 seater. My kayak is pissed, and I will prolly require a roof rack. Anyone got a recommendation for a good one???

    8. In Canada, we get treated badly by Honda. No nav option……..AND NO STABILITY CONTROL. Suck it up Honda,,,standard, it should be standard. Especially with those pathetic tires you bolt on.

    9. Trip computer could have a few more modes…

    10. It cruises like an Airbus on a trans-Atlantic trip at 80mph, droning, humming and thrumming like it was dealing with minor turbulence. I still managed to get a hefty ticket on my second day of ownership.

    11. It’s almost as darty as generation one, without the scalpel like precision.

    Honda could address many of these issues by next year, and the 2010 may well be referred to as the FIX.

    Now for some positives:

    1. Shifter and clutch are better, but throttle tip in can produce driveline lash if you are careless or tired.

    2. The gearing is tolerable, enjoy the fun, but make use of the visibility to keep an eye peeled for the police.

    3. It’s much safer than gen one. ACE and additional steel were a major consideration.

    4. Cargo and people hauling capabilities are impressive.

    5. Still obvious quality and fun to drive. Perhaps too much fun….I have a date in traffic court.

    In retrospect, I probably would have purchased one of the last last gen TSXes instead…but, the Fit is more practical, more efficient, flexible and I am pretty damn happy. Fewer speeding tickets will be issued. And unlike the 09 TSX, the 09 Fit will never have a lower resale than it’s 08 predecessor.

    fin

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    I strongly suspect the Sport version will be a tiny percentage of Fits sold. In fact, if one looks at the gearing, it seems Honda is betting on the automatic as the practical and economical solution. It would be interesting to hear about driving impressions at ~85mph with the taller-geared auto in a regular Fit with a couple of people and a good load of luggage in the back to neutralize its light weight.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    27/33 ?? These thing have to do better than that with normal driving (not hypermiling)… If not, why even bother with a 4cyl.? I have a GM 3.8 V6 and a GM 3.1 V6. The 3.8 gets 30MPG highway setting cruise at 73 MPH on Pennsylvania Turnpike (Yes, lots of hills). With fairly aggressive city driving, I might get 20 MPG. 1999 Buick Regal LS. 200HP and 225TQ. 3400 pounds. The 3.1 get an HONEST 33 highway and around 23 city. Driven the same way, cruise at 73 MPH PA turnpike. 1998 Chevy Lumina LS. 160HP 185TQ. 3300 pounds. No hypermiling crap, just clean filters/fuel injectors/correct tire PSI. Both cars have nearly 100,000 miles, and have been trouble free since I’ve owned. I consider them my beaters, but in reality take really good care of them. Not here to defend the entire car, just the engines and MPG. Much more exciting cars on the road – LOL. But I never could pass up a great deal on a used car.

    Now that you are thoroughly bored, I’ll make my point. Oh, maybe I already did. Which is 4 cylinders give up soooooooooooo much, and seem to return very little in MPG. Toss on a turbo and they get worse mileage that a nice 6 cyl. The driving experience IMHO is sooooooooo much better with a 6 cylinder. Immediate torque, reduced downshifting, smoother operation, etc… Especially with an automatic – *(I will acknowledge 4-cyl. aren’t as bad in a stick shift).

    ** Oh yeah. One other story. I had the great idea to rent a car for my annual Detroit car show trip. About 600 miles round trip. I rented a Chevy Aveo (5-door) from enterprise for a massive $25 out the door. Unlimited miles. My theory was why put miles on my cars, when it will only cost me 25 bucks (did entire trip in 1 day that year). So I picked the most fuel effiecent car they had. My results? About 28 MPG all highway cruise at 75MPG. I was shocked!!! My 6 cylinders do better. I don’t know… The car did have to struggle a bit to attain 75 MPH, but who drives 55 MPH on the highway? I think with some of these 4 cylinders, that’s the only way they even beat a 6 cyl. on highway MPG. BTW – That car was the biggest POS EVER!!!

  • avatar
    niky

    The Honda Fit’s only problem in terms of fuel economy is the blasted short gearing.

    I don’t know what people are complaining about… every time I drive a Fit 1.5, I get somewhere between 35-40 mpg on the highway.

    If you keep up with American highway traffic, yeah, your mileage will suck, but if you keep it below the speed limit (about 50 or thereabouts), it’s amazingly frugal.

    I’m still looking for a first-generation Fit secondhand… our market area doesn’t get the 1.5 MT. Pity.

    RE: Magic Seats… they’re actually better this time around… used to be you had to flip the squab up and remove the headrest before folding them flat to the floor. Now all you do is pull up a lever on the shoulder and the whole thing scissors into place, the squab sliding forward under the seat and tucking into the footwell and the headrest tucking behind the front seat neatly.

  • avatar
    TaxedAndConfused

    Its interesting to read these views – fun car, zippy, nippy etc. In Europe these tend to be driven by, shall we say, retired folk who regard nippy as meaning “a little bit cold”.

    Still some people like the new one. We get the 1.2 and 1.4 only but we do get a 6-speed auto in Europe and longer gearing for the manuals.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    My bet is in early 2010 one will be sitting in our driveway. If you are in the market for a vehicle this size, test drive a Fit. It may not be the best at everything but it does better than all in its class. You be the judge.

  • avatar
    TaxedAndConfused

    http://www.sniffpetrol.com/AdHondafeels.jpg

  • avatar
    Jaeger

    My wife bought one a couple weeks back, and so far, she is absolutely delighted with her choice. I agree with much of what is written in the review save these three points:

    1) Torque steer? You kidding me? This engine makes torque? A small displacement Honda mill? Just about fell out of my chair laughing.

    2) Tough to launch? Now I KNOW that something had to be wrong with the test vehicle. This has to be the easiest manny tranny car I have ever drive. Never stalled it. Never had a lurching launch. Never come close to either. The clutch is VERY light and the shift lever requires little effort beyond the thought of the next gear needed.

    3) While those big, staggered climate control knobs with the ribbed rings don’t look like they would ever find a home in an Acura, I will say this: they work expectionally well under the gloved fingers that we Canadians have to put up with during a loooooooong winter season.

    The main criticism I have is that this thing desperately needs a 6th gear. The 5 speeds that are there now are very well spaced – but at 120kph in 5th, the engine is spinning at somehwhere north of 3500 rpm – about 1300 rpm more than my Altima V6 6 sp in top gear. Not a big issue for us, as my ride is the highway road trip car of choice. But a quieter highway ride and much better fuel economy would certainly result from a taller 6th gear for the Fit.

    Back road blasts are an absolute hoot in this thing, though. Nothing but grins. It feels nimble, flickable, responsive and just plain FUN – something Honda is engineering right out of most of the rest of their product line. I also find that the large fixed front quarter windows really open up an expansive view of the road – as welcome on the backroads as in congested urban traffic.

    Bottom line – a really nice little car and a strong value.

  • avatar
    davey49

    The key is to not bother being smooth during launches. Screech the tires a bit, who cares? What are you embarrassed?
    I squeal the tires on my ION constantly.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Why to people continuously hype highway miles and completely ignore city? Given that most people drive city or mixed, that’s more than a little disingenuous.

    Real-world mileage for minivans, crossovers, SUVs and mid/full-size sedans and wagons is terrible in urban start/stop. My Saab manages ~11-13L/100 in the city in good weather; the Flex I had as a rental was pulling 16-18L/100, the Impala I had earlier this year did only slightly better. My Fit, on the other hand, is pressed to crack 9L/100 in city, even with it’s stupid gearing.

    People, it’s a city car! Comparing the highway mileage to interstate queens like the GM W-Bodies or various diesels–and omitting the city figure entirely–isn’t entirely fair.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    We are annoyed by Highway mileage because it should be better. We pay the double price of stupid highway gearing of lower highway mileage and a much more buzzy, annoying highway driving experience. The stupid gearing doesn’t affect city driving, you can always gear up, if you run out of gears in the city, that isn’t city driving. 9L/100K is not that good either for 1.5L compact. I don’t think I ever got worse than 10L/100K in the city with my ZX2 and it has a 2.0L engine.

    This short gearing problem seems almost independent of the number of gears. My friend has a six speed Nissan Versa. He claims to have the same problem.

    It is the perception that North American are too lazy to shift.

    I used to own a Miata and while it is a sports car and short gearing makes sense, I still wished for a sixth gear for highway. Long road trips at 4000 RPM are no fun ( I did several 1000km days). But when they brought out the 6 speed, they kept the same top ratio. :(

    The question is how do we get the message through that we want a highway cruising gear? We are not too lazy shift (would have bought an autobox if we were).

    Just because a car is a “city” car, econo car, sports car, does’t mean you will never drive it on the highway. Give me a real highway gear, dammit.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Psar,
    Some folks will likely ignore city mileage out of lack of fairness (to attack a car they dislike) or ignorance. However, the folks I know that do high mileage do most of it on the highway, at speed. To these people, highway mileage is everything because it’s REALLY in their face on a regular basis.

    While most of us switched from mileage ignorant to mileage hypersensitive when fuel prices went up, the folks that do 35k plus a year are actually being rational when they concentrate on mileage, and in my experience, they mostly do it on the highway.

    So, don’t think all of them are making a mistake by concentrating on highway mileage.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    If you were actually out shopping for a vehicle in this class: size; mileage (very good if not the best); carrying capacity; flexibility of interior; comfort; driving dynamics; price; resale value… What would you rather buy?

  • avatar
    cgd

    Good mileage, both highway and city, is the main reason many shoppers consider a subcompact. Why drive something that is smaller and less comfortable unless you’re saving money on the purchase price and/or on gas? IMO, unless you’re dead set on having a hatchback, you might as well buy a Civic–you get a little more room and comfort and same or better mpg. It depends on your needs and wants.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    I concur on the need for these little boxes (Fit, Versa, Yaris, Rio, etc.) to have a sixth cog. I’ve driven at one time each one of these things, and they all are so much better and they all huff and puff at eighty miles an hour.

    Its a hit on the highway mileage I would imagine as well buzzing at 4k just to keep up with traffic.

  • avatar
    HighlyEvolved

    How dare you talk about sequels that are better than the original and not mention Toy Story 2?!

  • avatar
    TaxedAndConfused

    According to Microsoft, release 3 is the “Golden Release” – so maybe give 2.0 a miss and wait for 3.0.

  • avatar
    Jaeger

    cgd – the Fit is actually slightly LARGER inside than the current Civic, and offers way more cargo carrying versatility due to the hatchback configuration and the trick rear seat.

    My wife looked at the current Civic (heck, she was replacing an older Civic) but preferred the Fit straight up. The fact that it cost less was simply a welcome bonus.

    The Fit’s highway mileage is not best in class, but it is far from worst and the combined figures are more than competitive. The question was asked above – which vehicle in this class would you rather buy? I can’t think of one. Mileage is an important factor, but it by far not the only factor to influence a purchase decision for a vehicle such as this.

  • avatar
    davey49

    I’d worry more about city mileage because I rarely drive on the highway.
    I’m good as long as its over 20 mpg
    My Saturn averages 27-28
    Jaeger- The Versa is a bit quieter, so that might be an influence for me. The Fit has the neat cargo area/seat in its favor.
    cgd- subcompacts are easier to park and drive in tight traffic too

  • avatar
    niky

    Still… again… highway mileage at what speed? You can do over 30 MPG at a constant 80 mph buzz with the thing… if you’re concerned about mileage at all, you’re doing 50 mph (the best cruising speed from an aerodynamic standpoint) and at those speeds, you’re doing nearly 40 mpg. Sucks if everyone around you is doing 70, but c’est la vie… pull over and enjoy the scenery.

    It’s a global product, hence the short gearing. Not many markets where people are doing over 60 mph all the time.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    if you’re concerned about mileage at all, you’re doing 50 mph

    That’s if you are an extreme hyper miler. There are a lot more people who drive flow of traffic speed and still want good mileage and to not be buzzed to death by high RPMs. The short gearing is annoying aggravation.

    It has nothing to do with global markets. Euro gearing is taller.

    This drivetrain combo is more of an USA exclusive aimed at the US buff book obsession with 0-60 and “top gear passing” test.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    Note. I don’t fault the Fit as a city car, but as an all rounder, they missed the boat with the buzzy highway experience.

    Just in the last couple of months two friends were both shopping a Fit, both instead bought a Mazda 3 as a better all rounder for dual duty city/highway use. I would probably make the same decision.

    120 kph on highways is still an everyday activity here as our spread out city is connected by highway. While I can tolerate short term buzziness, I do several road trips per year and these are where it kills me.

    My next car must have a relaxed highway cruise.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    This drivetrain combo is more of an USA exclusive aimed at the US buff book obsession with 0-60 and “top gear passing” test.

    It’s not just the buff books, it’s American drivers’ need to lay a patch at every intersection.

    Think about how often the phrase “You drive torque” gets repeated, or the love the pushrod two-valver, or “VTEC stands for Vanishing Torque in the Engine Compartment”. On this continent, if you can’t leave six feet of rubber in your Dodge Caravan or Toyota Camry, you’re not a real man.

    Hence the reason cars like the Fit can be driven around town, at 60km/h, in fifth gear.

  • avatar
    Jaeger

    Bytor:

    1) Did you purchase an ’09 Fit?
    2) If so, did you test drive it?
    3) IF so, why the heck did you buy it if the highway ride is so important to you and so terribly lacking (in your opinion) in the Fit? If you feel there are better all-round choices, why not buy one of those? Comparing the Fit to the much more expensive Mazda 3 seems a bit skewed, to me.

    We test drove extensively on the highway, so we knew what we were getting.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    No Fit here. As I said, two of my friends chose the Mazda 3 and I would probably choose the same, I thought that made it clear that I didn’t purchase a Fit. I am looking at a 2010 purchase. Fit is likely off the table because of its short gearing and that is a shame.

    Both my friends got Mazda 3 within a couple of hundred bucks of a comparably equipped Fit. So it wasn’t much more expensive at all. Negligibly so.

    Jaeger. Did you get a manual or auto? The auto is clearly more tolerable on the highway. Most of the complaints here are with the manual transmission that is ill suited for highway travel.

    More complaints are a good thing. Perhaps Honda will wake up and give this a proper highway cruising gear for manual drivers.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    Disregard the transmission question. I see that you have the manual from your post above. But then I don’t know why you are complaining about my post. You seem to totally agree that top gear is too short and you use your other car for extensive highway travel.

    I just want a better top gear to make this car a better all rounder when I am ready to buy in 2010.

    Right now all my 2010 choices seem to need fixing or have uncertainties.

    Mazda 3: Get rid of the village idiot front end.
    Fit: Needs top cruising gear.
    Insight: Give it a manual transmission (and cruising gear)
    Rabbit Diesel: Will it be here, pricing?
    Impreza hatch Diesel: Will it be here, pricing?
    Others?

    Basically: I am looking for an affordable hatch/small wagon with manual transmission, decent fuel economy and decent higway ride (non buzzy). Oh and not completely lame looking (Mazda 3).

    It doesn’t seem like a lot to me. But I don’t see the simple formula working yet, so I point it out, whether the village idiot front end on the new Mazda 3 or the too short gearing on the Fit.

    Edit: as pointed out below. Matrix/Vibe on the list. I was actually on the Vibe page as that post came in.

    I have only driven Ford/Mazda/BMW/Honda manuals. My friends tell me Toyota Manuals are awkward. Anyone know what the highway RPMs are like in these?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Basically: I am looking for an affordable hatch/small wagon with manual transmission, decent fuel economy and decent higway ride (non buzzy).

    So, what about the Toyota Matrix then?

    No, seriously! It rides well, gets very good mileage for it’s mass and size and is pretty comfy. The plastics are hard, but so are the plastics in the Fit and the Mazda; the Matrix just makes them a little more evident by colouring them a lighter shade.

  • avatar
    Jaeger

    Bytor – okay – I got it. You didn’t buy the Fit. Seems like the right decision for you. Since we tend to cruise at 115-120kph, the buzziness is not a big issue. Could be better, to be sure, but not tiresome or aggravating. I’m not holding my breath for more gears from Honda – they seem mired in a “five is fine” mind set. Just look at the all new TL (if you have a strong stomach). Retro 5 speed tranny in a class where the existing competition has already gone to 6 and 7 speeds. But you’re right – pointing out shortcomings is the only hope of having them addressed.

    davey49 – the Versa is a solid entry in this class. Overall, a bit quieter and more comfortable than the Fit. But since a reasonably sporty driving experience is a high priority on this end, the Fit was a clear choice. This isn’t brand favoritism – a more sporty drive is what led me to choose an Altima over the Accord.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    I am still open to suggestions. My purchase decision is still about a year and a half away barring catastrophic failure on my current vehicle.

    My usage is 50% pure road trip (multi hundred kms/day) and 50% usage around town usually off rush hour (I walk to work), but getting to the mall/movie theater etc. is 120km/h highway. So my overall highway percentage is probably near 75%.

    Stop and go city use doesn’t even enter the picture for me (a couple of times/year). So good highway is a must. Also good winter tractions is as well.

    I find light cars tend to have poor highway winter stability. I used to own an lightweight Mazda 323 and it would swap ends on a dime. Maybe more a wheelbase issue than weight, but my observation is the heavier the car the better the stability in snow.

    I love the idea of a diesel AWD subaru, but likely will be very pricey if/when it gets here.

    On the versa a friend has one of these as well. He bought it because he fit (He is a big guy) and it had a six speed, but he still find RPMs too high. I guess this could be on my list too.

    Anyway I guess I like something slightly more substantial for highway winter use in an only car.

  • avatar
    Vorenus

    “If there were four or five more torques…”

    Torques?

    Did you mean “ft lbs” or “foot-pounds,” perhaps?

  • avatar
    eh_political

    I much prefer torques.

    For most people “ft lbs” is meaningless and exclusionary, and produces and unhealthy focus on horsepower. By promoting torques, the process of educating people about everyday power concerns can begin–horsepower is about less than one percent of driving. Torque is the truly relevant metric in the average buyers consideration, whether they know it or not.

    Torques.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Hey Bytor:

    Given the highway, winter, and sportiness requirements a Subaru Impreza of some sort sounds like your kind of ride.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    Yeah Subaru is on the list, but the MPG is pretty low. Hoping for their diesel over here at a reasonable price.

  • avatar
    TaxedAndConfused

    Bytor – where are you based ?

  • avatar
    Bytor

    I am in Ottawa, Canada.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    I would suggest to anyone looking at the Fit to consider the manual.

    I recently bought an ’09 Civic Coupe with a manual, and wow, am I glad I did buy the manual (that I had to order) over an automatic! The auto felt sluggish, and the manual feels really zippy. I like being able to downshift or just not shift when I want more power. I am driving my Civic 80% freeway at 70 mph and hard at times… all at an average of 31 mpg.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    The civic would be a no brainer choice if it had a hatch version.

    It has a bigger more powerful engine, better highway gearing and better highway MPG.

    Great cars. But I am looking for a hatch.

  • avatar
    richardwinters

    the gearing on the 2009 fit seems comparable to most sporty honda manual 5-speed transmissions. on my 1994 5-speed Prelude vtec (2.2 liter motor) you’re doing 4k in 5th @80mph. same goes for my friend’s ’01 Acura Integra GSR (1.8 liter motor) which is, 4k in 5th @80mph.

  • avatar
    fellswoop

    The thing has 50-something cubic feet of cargo space, which is pretty mega…some kind of record in the Cubic-Feet/MPG scenario I’d bet.

    One complaint I’ve not seen registered yet is that it is completely unavailable with a sunroof in the USA market, which is a gigantic bummer; WHY? to differentiate between it and the Civic (but no civic hatch available, so not fair!)

    Lack of “refresh mode” is too bad, I hadn’t heard about the loss of that feature. (Edit: wait, isn’t this photo showing “refresh” mode? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/09_fit_sport_008.jpg Any fit owners able to weigh in on this?)

    Will the auto tranny w. paddles downshift effectively when you tell it to? I’m (gulp) being worn down by awful bumper-to-bumper daily commutes, I may have to bail on manual trannys for my next whip.

    How hard is an aftermarket taller top gear solution?

    FWIW, I think it looks way cooler than the 1st generation, and the increase in safety rating is a serious improvement. Avoiding serious injury may be worth 1 mpg…

  • avatar
    fellswoop

    Apparently its 57.3 cubic feet of cargo space!

    Can somebody post the 0-60 times of manual v. automatic with this thing?

    Interesting how the auto gets better MPG!?! (Ratios, eh?)

  • avatar
    eh_political

    @fellswoop:

    Refresh mode is with the rear seats up, and the front seats reclined. I was absolutely pissed to find this had been eliminated, for reasons mentioned in my posting further up.

    First gear is pretty awesome in bumper to bumper, so low, you rarely need to engage the clutch. Try for yourself. Overall gearing is fine, the car will cruise at 80mph all day. What’s more, when loaded up, you won’t have to work so hard to maintain pace. I find myself constantly setting the cruise now to avoid unconsciously finding my way to about 130kph, a speed roughly 40k over the limit in my area, and big trouble in the Province of Ontario.

    Next, it is possible you might still find a first gen Fit if you wish to choose a bit more excitement over the obvious improvements. Perhaps Mr. Lang can set you up.

    This car cannot be driven in winter without snows. My Blizzaks go on tomorrow, and not a moment too soon. Sport with stability control is definitely worth the money if you can any way afford it. Not available in Canada, unbelievable.

    Finally, with auto prices all over the map, there may be more logical choices than the Fit, depending on your requirements. I am mostly happy with mine, although Honda obviously has some fine tuning to do to match the overall excellence of generation one.

    0-60 is roughly nine seconds, and lots of attention from anyone nearby. The auto is useless, although paddle shifters may help. Again, not available in Canada.

  • avatar

    Bytor,
    If your purchase is 18 months out, you may be in the right time frame for a Ford Fiesta. Early reports from Europe are good. You might want to put that on your research list.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    To eh_political: Keep us informed how the tires work. I am in Ottawa and make winter road trip to visit family or weekend hiking for car camping (bummer about the loss of refresh mode). I know many will disagree, but light cars are limited to lower winter speeds because they snow-plane sooner, in my experience.

    To Tagbert: Yeah, I guess the Fiesta is in the mix somewhere.

    Though number one on my list would be an Impreza with Diesel if it were here. Decent mpg, with awesome winter capability. Diesels usually come with tall gearing as well. Fingers crossed on this one.

  • avatar
    fellswoop

    eh-po:

    Thanks for the clarification re:refresh mode. Too bad they got rid of it, instead folks get the super-quick-hide-the-seats lever.

    I’ll be paying off my current vehicle for another 2 years, so I can watch & wait and see where all this goes for a bit.

    I just slapped my blizzacks/steelies on my car *4 hours* before the 1st snow of the season here (phew!) and this is going to be my 2nd winter with them.

    I LOVE them, and will never go back to all-seasons after experiencing the joy of grippy rubber for spring-summer-fall, and kung-fu-grip blizzacks with front-wheel drive & traction & stability control for the wintertime. Right tools for the job.

    I love it at green lights when I zoom off, and even SUVs or AWD Audi’s with all-seasons (or worse) are left spinning.

  • avatar
    eh_political

    @Bytor:

    Already noticing a huge difference with the WS-60′s. The Bridgestone outfit locally is in an industrial mall that gets plowed indifferently. On the way in I felt as though I was skiing downhill, but on the way back stopping, traction and tracking were all improved by an incredibly noticeable margin. Still you are absolutely correct about small car dynamics, I had not expected the winter handling to be quite so squirrelly. Reduced speed is essential between coping with grooves and ruts, gusts and crosswinds and snowplaning. Again, to my mind the number one culprit is suspension tuning, and I would bet it evolves over the course of this model run. Still, the snows are going to save me a fortune on underpants.

  • avatar
    fellswoop

    RGS920 :
    December 8th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    @cgroppi :

    “‘Those mpg numbers are dismal for a sub compact.’

    Uhh, no. The only two gasoline powered non-hybrid cars to get better fuel economy than the 2009 Fit are the Toyota Yaris and the Mini. They both manage a whopping 1mpg better city, 2mpg better highway.”

    Uhhhhhhhh, no.

    I submit the following in descending order of Highway MPG for 2009, non diesal or hybrid cars:

    Smart For 2: 33-41
    Mini Cooper: 28-37
    Cobalt/G5 XFE: 25-37
    Yaris: 29-36
    Corolla: 27-35
    Ford Focus: 24-35
    Aveo/G3: 27-34
    ————————-
    Honda Fit S: 27-33
    Accent: 27-33
    Rio: 27-33
    Scion XD: 27-33

    And the Fit also got beat by almost every diesal VW non SUV.

    Here is my source: http://www.fueleconomy.gov

    Thanks for playing.
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    You know, if you take the figures you present here, and then average the city/highway miles together to come up with the “combined” figure,
    the fit is certainly competitive within this class, especially when you factor in reliability, fun-to-drive, and *57 cubic feet* of cargo.

    Below are the “rankings” with the data you provided. Also note that the non-sport, automatic/paddle shifting version of the fit would come in 3rd in this list with 31.5 combined MPG.

    (1)Smart For 2: 33 41 (37)
    (2)Mini Cooper: 28 37 (32.5)
    (2)Yaris: 29 36 (32.5)
    (3)Cobalt/G5XFE:25 37 (31)
    (3)Corolla: 27 35 (31)
    (4)Aveo/G3: 27 34 (30.5)
    (5)Honda Fit S: 27 33 (30)
    (5)Accent: 27 33 (30)
    (5)Rio: 27 33 (30)
    (5)Scion XD: 27 33 (30)
    (6)Ford Focus: 24 35 (29.5)

  • avatar
    Bytor

    Competitive? It is beat by bigger heavier cars, with bigger displacement engines on the highway. That is what I find very disappointingly.

    That points to dismal aerodynamic and/or poor gearing. We know the manual it geared too short and the aero is probably suspect as well.

    Do a bit more aero tweaks and give it taller manual gears and I am in.

    As is it is a fine city car, but not what I need. I walk to work and use my car for longer trips so my usage is more like 10% city/ 90% higway and highway mileage is what I look at. The fit gets dismal highway mileage for its engine size.

  • avatar
    fellswoop

    Bytor:

    1.) What larger (non-hybrid) cars are you referring to that get better mileage?

    Here’s a link to fueleconomy.gov (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bestworst.shtml) listing the best & worst MPG for cars in the USA, and I’m not seeing anything like what you are talking about.

    2.)What car with a similar engine size (again non-hybrid/non-diesel) gets such better mileage to call the Fit “dismal?” I’ve posted above the actual figures..and only a handful of smaller cars get better MPG…I’m assuming you don’t want to drive a SMART car, so we can knock that off the list too…

    I’m wondering if maybe you are wishing back for the days of Geo Metro and Festiva’s that got high 30′s highway (old EPA standards, natch) and were also unfortunately made out of paper and had no safety features?

  • avatar
    Bytor

    I am talking about highway mpg, as stated, I drive primarily highway, for cars with manual transmissions, 2009 models. From fueleconomy.gov:

    Fit: 33 mpg
    Civic: 34 mpg
    Corolla: 35 mpg
    Focus: 35 mpg
    Yaris: 36 mpg
    mini: 37 mpg
    Cobalt XFE: 37 mpg.

    I find it obscene that the Fit gets less MPG than the bigger cars with 1.8L engines/2.2L engines.

    The fit should get 36/37mpg on the highway like the Yaris/Mini (other cars with 1.5/1.6L engines), not 33mpg which is still less than corolla/civic with 1.8L engines or the Cobalt XFE with a 2.2L engine.

    The fit has the smallest engine and gets the worse fuel economy. Obviously Honda did nothing to try and get decent Highway MPG out of this car. 33mpg from a micro car with 1.5L engine? Heck the malibu with a 2.4L gets that on the highway. That to me is obscene.

    So I think I have answered your questions showing lots of car with significantly better mpg with similar or larger engines.

    Let me turn the question back on you. Is there anything on the market with an engine that small that gets worse highway mpg? Worse in class competitive?

  • avatar
    fellswoop

    Is there anything on the market with an engine that small that gets worse highway mpg? Worse in class competitive?

    If you arrange the criteria such that you are

    1.) disregarding “combined” mileage
    2.) ignoring city mileage
    3.) looking only at highway mileage
    4.) and only in manual transmission format

    then it would appear you are correct. A cursory search for smaller engines reveals only the Mazda RX8 with a smaller engine (1.3L) and worse highway mileage (22). (!!!!)***

    So, point taken. I do wish both the manual & auto versions had a taller top gear, as it seams like a cheap and efficient way to get from a couple to several more MPG’s out of a vehicle on the highway, and it’s quieter as well.

    As to whether the the highway MPG of the Fit qualifies as “obscene”, we’ll have to stand by and let the internet hyperbole judges weigh in.

    ***As discussed, the auto tranny base fit gets 35 mpg highway, and of course that XFE Cobalt you mentioned (as edmunds.com puts it) “is available only in the base LS trim level, creature comforts are scarce. Say good-bye to modern conveniences you’ve become accustomed to, like power-operated anything, cruise control and keyless entry…” and it’s rolling on pizza cutters that “…screech loudly in protest, even under moderate cornering…”

  • avatar
    Bytor

    Congrats on finding one. Though the rotary engine in the RX8 is kind of a special case.

    Criteria 1,2,3 are the same criteria. If I am only interested in highway mileage, I am obviously not looking at city or combined. I don’t do this disadvantage the Fit. My driving pattern is mostly highway, so that is the important number for me.

    Same with manual transmission. I have yet to buy a car with an automatic. I don’t plan on changing that anytime soon.

    So manual, highway mileage is what matters to me and it clear Honda disregarded it completely with a worse in class performance. Disappointing to say the least.

  • avatar
    richardwinters

    yeah except that i can easily obtain 37-40mpg with my fit sport on the highway (even when fully loaded on my way to the airport and including the many pockets of traffic around the san francisco area along the way!).

    maybe it might be time to evaluate driving style, because the fit is quite capable of achieving exemplary fuel economy (relative to the US Domestic Market anyhow).

  • avatar
    Bytor

    Last I checked Richarwinters wasn’t the EPA. Your anecdotal info is not directly comparable. On a highway run most people will beat EPA highway numbers.

    In directly comparable numbers the FIT is behind(bottom of class).

    Also do you have a Manual transmission, are you relying on Hondas hopelessly optimistic MPG meter?

    Hyper milers get 60MPG in a ZX2 like a currently own. That means squat.

  • avatar
    richardwinters

    well it wouldnt be unheard of if the numbers were biased to support domestic cars…

    but then you would have to have an understanding of history and an open mind to accept this possibility. and this is not even my claim in this case.

    anyway, this will be my last post…

    simply stating tha evidence shows that the fit is not “bottom in its class” in highway MPG as claimed by bytor. I’m not sure of the methods used by the EPA, but maybe most drivers will get 27-33 MPG highway because most drivers here dont know how to drive, or are arrogant douchebags.

    just my two cents

  • avatar
    Bytor

    No, evidence, AKA actual benchmark testing (EPA) that lets us compare cars mileage, shows it is bottom of the class in highway MPG. Your anecdotal (possibly biased) claims are not evidence.

    I don’t see how “knowing how to drive” or “being a douchebag” influences EPA numbers (where the 33 MPG highway comes from). The tests are strictly defined to remove the driver,and douchebaggery ;), from the equation, it is exactly for this reason, that we don’t rely on self reported anecdotal information for comparison.

    When people self report their biases creep in, their mistakes creep in. Diesels heads report that their Diesels get 10mpg better than a Prius on the highway. EPA doesn’t see it that way and when tested head to head by Popular Science they came out dead even. Where did the diesel lead go? It never existed except as anecdotal folklore from biased self reporting.

  • avatar
    eh_political

    @ Bytor,

    If you are doing 90/10 hwy to city driving, then perhaps the Fit is not for you. Perhaps gearing on the standard will be modified with the first refresh, but to be honest I find mileage to be just ducky. I finally went looking for the British take on the car, and they are as disappointed with the ride as me,,,it just doesn’t have any sophistication. As far as mileage goes, if the affordability of gas ever becomes that much of an issue, then driving 55mph will boost mileage, plus in town gearing is amazing.

    So the Fit delivers awesome mileage if you take your time, and it delivers serious fun in a functional package while you are waiting for the apocalypse. Winter tires are not an option, the car is on borrowed time without them.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/new_car_reviews/article4787555.ece

  • avatar
    Bytor

    It is not just about mileage, it also about the annoying drone of turning constant high RPM on the highway.

    I have no doubt the Fit is a fine city car, but then again I have no problem with a my ZX2 in the city either.

    It is when I get on the highway and lock the cruise at 120km/h(75mph) for hours that it drives me bonkers with engine drone. I am not putting up with another car that does this. I understood when my Miata did this, but econo boxes??

    Maybe the Ford Fiesta/Mazda 2 will be better suited for highway use, because I don’t see honda fixing this. They has the same issue with the last fit and it even cost them a rebate in Canada, and they bitched about this, but if anything it looks like they went ahead and made the gears shorter, the problem worse and mileage worse.

  • avatar
    eh_political

    BTW, Clarkson gave the Fiesta 5 stars, Times gave the Jazz/Fit 4 stars, but our Fit has a stronger engine with about 15% more power, and more equivalent to the 1.6 in the Ford. Still, good on Ford, and I will certainly take an extended test drive with fingers crossed. It sounds like big fun.

  • avatar
    Fit Si

    I consistently keep track of my fuel mileage with my 1992 Honda Civic Si Hatch (5MT). I typically achieve 50mpg (42 mpg U.S) when highway driving. And this is for a “sporty” car. At 70 mph my tach reads 2800 RPMs and I still have plenty of power for passing, without down-shifting into 4th gear. I’ve read reports that indicate the Fit 5MT shows 3300 RPM at the same speed. It doesn’t make sense that Honda would gear the Fit in this way to accommodate North American drivers who “don’t want to shift”. One rarely shifts while highway driving in the first place. Ironically, the high RPMs experienced in the 2009 Fit at highway speeds has likely prompted many people to WANT to shift – into a more relaxed gear (as evidenced by comments in this thread). And it doesn’t make sense that this gearing was selected to impart a more “sporty” driving feel to the Fit. Most real-world fun and sporty driving (i.e., quick acceleration) occurs between 0 and 60 mph anyway in the first 3 or 4 gears – at least in ecomomy cars.

    Richardwinters reported how older Hondas (e.g. Prelude Vtec, Integra GSR) tended to also have high RPMs at highway speeds, suggesting that such gearing has been common in Hondas. However, these Hondas were their sportier models – so one would expect to see higher RPMs and higher performance from these cars! The Fit is an economy car – not a sports car. So it doesn’t make sense that they would give it sports car gearing, particularly in 5th gear!

    And since when did small cars become “city” cars?? My 1988 civic was small and was nicely geared for highway cruising in 5th – it was a great highway car. Are the manufacturers deliberately making these small cars less desirable on the highway so people will move up to more expensive (i.e., more profitable) “highway” cars?

    Based on what I can glean from the efficiencies of transmissions – all things being equal, a manual transmission has clear efficiency advantages over an automatic. Yet – for some reason Honda has geared the Fit so that highway mileage suffers in their 5-sp manual transmissioned cars compared to their 5sp automatic siblings. Why not allow the 5sp manuals to cruise at an equivalent RPM to their 5sp automatics rather than about 500RPM higher?

    O.K. – I am usually the first to be skeptical of conspiracy theories. But I wonder if Honda is doing this for economic reasons. Honda does not want to promote the increased highway mileage potential of a 5sp manual – so they gear them lower. They would rather have their customers spend an extra $1000 and purchase the 5sp automatic versions with slightly better advertised highway mileage. This allows them to market the automatic versions as being more fuel efficient and encourages more people to spring for the more expensive automatic. 5MTs – at least in North America are a dying breed.

    Perhaps similar reasoning is behind why in North America the towing rating of the Honda Civic is “not recommended”, while the towing rating of the same Civic in Europe is “3080 lbs” (with trailer brakes). Honda would rather have their North American customers move up to a more expensive vehicle (i.e., SUV). In Europe, people tow with smaller vehicles.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    This car doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It’s repulsively ugly. It is slow, especially with automatic transmission. The interior is substandard. The price is very high and the mileage is nothing special for such a small penalty box. Wouldn’t a Civic or Mazda 3 make more sense?

  • avatar
    eh_political

    First service complete, an oil and filter change performed at 6000miles. Oil life was still reading 50%, but I have been a good boy about break in, and now look forward to caning the thing once the snow tires come off this week. The service department says Fits are routinely going 10k, but I simply don’t feel comfortable doing that to a green 1.5 litre engine. Mileage since mid November is 37+ and I expect to exceed 40mpgs for the full year as warm weather driving should boost economy.

    Suspension is a touch more relaxed now that break in is complete, and I am looking forward to nabbing some gardening supplies before doing a thorough interior detailing. Also tinting is on the menu, as summer will turn that greenhouse into a kiln that the a/c is probably incapable of coping with. Overall, feeling rather good about the purchase.

  • avatar
    eh_political

    Tire update:
    With a snowstorm on the way for Monday, I have reverted to all seasons. The same shitty all seasons that almost ruined me in the late Fall.

    Swapping back to the all seasons provided a reason for the squirrelly handling of the Fit. All four unidirectional tires are for the right side of the vehicle. Not cool. I will be contacting Honda regarding this little hiccup, and recommend any Fit drivers of the 09 model year check if they have also experienced bizarre handling traits.

  • avatar

    I ran a Cash for Clunkers deal using my ’00 Jeep Cherokee and picked up an orange ’09 Fit Sport M/T. I also got the Mugen quick-shifter – what a fantastic, fun little car! Compared it against a Mazda3 and Subaru Impreza, but the price, functionality and MPG of the Fit won the day.

  • avatar
    macpublish

    I got an 2010 MT Sport about a month ago. First 600 mi. I am getting 34-35 mpg (about 50/50 highway/in town). I spent months researching, kicking tires, and test driving. I drove almost every car under $20K and nothing compares when you put the whole package together. I got mine for $18.6K out the door including taxes, fees, everything. I feel it is a screaming deal at that price.
    As for the gearing and noise it, it is a hummy engine at any RPM. It’s definitely not the car for someone who wants quiet and creature comforts. It’s for folks who like to feel and hear the driving experience. So why kvetch? There are plenty of other choices for you out there if that’s not your thing. The gearing is just fine. Very Honda-ish and I can comfortably cruise at 75 mph with no noise problems in the cabin. I do hear road noise (could be stock tires as well) and engine noise but it’s not in any way unbearable.
    Mark it down, this car will go down as classic. If you don’t believe me, go down to a Honda dealer and try to find a MT Fit and you will be in for a surprise. People are onto the value and fun package this car brings to the table and the civics are sitting on the lots while the Fits are flying out the door as if the economy was in boom times.
     

  • avatar
    zeus01

    Oh my, where to even begin….
    I now have over 80,000 practically bullet-proof kms (50,000 miles) on my ’09 Fit Sport 5-speed manual, mostly highway mileage. I’ve tracked fuel economy religiously, completely ignoring the EPA numbers as well as the “mileage indicator” on the instrument cluster in favor of topping the tank to the filler neck (don’t do this unless you intend to immediately drive off the excess), recording amount used to top it back up again, the kms driven and then doing the math.
    Here are the (almost) consistent results. I say “almost” because if you fill up in New York state, or anywhere else where 10% ethanol is sold, your mileage will be noticeably lower no matter what you drive:
    steady 60 mph: 46 miles per imperial gallon. (38.3 miles per U.S. gallon).
    Steady 70 mph: 41 miles per imperial gallon. (34.1 miles per U.S. gallon).
    Steady 80 mph: 36 miles per imperial gallon. (29.8 miles per U.S. gallon).
    These are REAL-WORLD figures. The only other ones I trust based on my own (extensive and 3-decades-long) experiences are those published by Consumer Reports, which are calculated by un-biased professionals using cars purchased anonymously from dealers’ lots. They however publish combined mileage figures rather than highway, making their results lower than those posted above.
    These are pretty impressive numbers, even for a cynical engineer-type like me. And this is with the lower-geared manual transmission. If Honda responds to the new Ford Fiesta by introducing a 6-speed manual for the 2012 model year the numbers will be even more impressive.
    As for this car’s other characteristics, yes, the car is darty at highway speeds, especially in windy conditions. And the gearing with the manual produces around 3300 rpms at 70 mph. It IS slightly larger than its predecessor and the ugly little bumps on top of the headlight lens assembly simply have to go. Ditto for the smiley-face grille. (Ewwwww). And the paint! These new mandatory enviro-friendly water-based hardeners simply suck— I think I can scratch mine by giving it one of those penetrating death-stares, you know: the one that makes you hear the sound of shovels digging your grave. Shoulda encased the entire car with clear-bra instead of just the front end.
    But the over-all durability that made Honda the threat to domestic sales that it has become is there. With the manual trans it’s reasonably nimble if not exactly fast, shaving 2 seconds off the automatic’s zero-to-sixty times. It’s roomy as hell, even for passengers in the back seats with the front seats at their aft-most position. Handling and tossability are better than any of the six 1st-gen RX-7s I’ve owned, it’s comfortable on long trips, ergonomics are bang-on, not unbearably loud even at 4000 rpm and resale value is such that you might as well spring an extra few hundred bucks for a new one as try to find one used for a reasonable price.
    As for alternatives, I’d have bought a Civic, but then I couldn’t stuff a medium-sized deep freeze into the back and close the hatch on it.
    I could have bought a Smart if fuel economy was the only thing that mattered, but I wanted a REAL car.
    I could have bought a truck or SUV, but then I’d be a fixture at gas stations, not to mention enduring all those cracks about small or non-existent reproductive organs.
    I could have bought a Cobalt, Aveo, Optra or Calibur, but I’d have lost out on quality, reliability, durability, handling, comfort and (especially) resale value, because all of those four depreciate like a hooker in her (or his) twentieth season. (no, I’m not a client. But thanks for asking).
    By now it is obvious that I’m not exactly pro-domestic in my car-buying habits. I’ve heard all the arguments: “Save our economy!” “Buy domestic, you traitor!” etc.
    Well, there are traitors involved here, but they ain’t the buying public. Hey, GM and Chrysler, ya want us to give you our business and shun the Japanese makes? The answer is simple:
    Build. Better. Cars. It worked for Hyundai, so it’s not that difficult a concept to grasp.
    I’m wondering if these comments could get me banned from here. Probably not though— this is The Truth About Cars, not some flaky socialist PeTA forum. Still, I’m ducking for incoming tomatoes.
     
     

  • avatar
    bryanska

    How about a 2005-2007 Ford Focus Wagon versus a Honda Fit?

    Please discuss, and vigorously, because this is my dilemma.

  • avatar
    zeus01

    If you can get that 05 to ’07 Focus wagon for under 5K and with less than 80,000 miles (and all service records, no accidents and no rust) I’d go that route. Otherwise, get the Fit.


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