2009 Honda Fit: fuel-sipper grows up

Honda is holding the 2009 Fit’s technical briefing in Graham’s loft in the hopes it will bring me a greater sense of his lifestyle and needs. Perhaps so, but it has also succeeded in driving home just how much of a packrat I am in comparison to Graham, whose tastefully decorated, uncluttered pad could easily be featured in a Better Living photo-spread.

In his 30s, Graham is an excellent representative of the Fit’s target demographic: He’s a globally successful electronic dance music DJ and producer who enjoys active pursuits like jogging, cycling and snowboarding.

Well, we’re both in our 30s – at least we have that in common. No matter – the Fit could still work well for both of us.

While this new generation is a pretty comprehensive redesign, it retains the features that defined the clever original: the centrally located fuel tank (which creates implausible amounts of rear seat and cargo space in what is actually a subcompact car), and the two-way folding rear “Magic Seat,” which allows Fit owners to easily utilize that additional volume.

This means that Graham can easily tote his wakeboard or scuba tanks, or whatever sort of young/active/lifestyle gear he wants, while I could (potentially) haul extraneous items from my house to charity drop-offs or the dump.

Increases in length (10.6 cm), width (1.3 cm) and wheelbase (5 cm) further expand on the outgoing car’s cargo-swallowing strengths, with particular attention given to improvements in the function and comfort of the rear seat, which now folds down with a single lever, without having to have its head restraints removed.

  • PRICES: (Base /as tested)$14,980/$20,480
  • ENGINE: 1.5 L I4
  • POWER/TORQUE: 117 hp/ 106 lb.-ft.
  • FUEL CONSUMPTION: Est. w/automatic city 7.1, hwy. 5.5 L/100 km
  • COMPETITION: Chevy Aveo, Kia Rio, Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris
  • WHAT‘S BEST: Increased interior volume; improved fuel economy; nimble handling
  • WHAT‘S WORST: Stiff ride; considerable road noise at times; manual transmission revs too high at speed
  • WHAT‘S INTERESTING: Fit was Japan’s best-selling car last year

Improvements to the Fit’s structure, a standard phalanx of airbags, and the inclusion of the company’s ACE (Advanced Compatibility Engineering) crash structure design are expected to garner the Fit top marks in IIHS and NHTSA collision testing.

Improved outward visibility may further reduce the chances of you needing the protection.

Common to all 2009 Fits is a reworked version of the current Fit’s 1.5-litre four-cylinder motor, now equipped with Honda’s i-VTEC variable valve timing system. Producing 117 hp and 106 lb.-ft. of torque, it’s more than adequate for most driving situations.

I’m not sure how well DJ’ing or CD sales pay, but I know that I could certainly appreciate the Fit’s fuel economy, which has improved incrementally for 2009, the five-speed automatic model’s 6.4 L/100 km combined rating now slightly bettering the five-speed manual’s 6.5 L rating.

The automatic’s more relaxed fifth gear ratio may be partly responsible; the difference between the two transmissions at elevated highway speeds is considerable, the automatic turning nearly a thousand rpm less than the manual’s 3000-plus rpm hum at 120 km/h. (I still preferred the light-shifting stick.)

Article Information

  • Source: wheels.ca
  • Author: Brian Early
  • Date Posted: September 13, 2008

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