Yesterday, we were impressed by how well the 2009 Honda Fit Sport, well, fit. Let's break it down and try to figure out why.
Exterior Design: ***
The Fit’s biggest problem is it looks, at best, like a jellybean. At worst, like a minivan. Having said that, the exterior is a means to an end. That end? Space, and lots of it in a tiny package. Vision is also excellent through the large glasshouse.
Interior Design: *****
The Fit’s defining characteristic. If ever the term “Tardis-like” applied to a car, it’s this one. There’s room for four adults and their luggage or, start folding seats, and you can carry tall objects, long objects, big objects, small objects (lots of them), awkwardly shaped objects or just about anything really. While you’re not going to mistake this interior for that of an Audi, all the materials are robust, the controls intuitive and the quality high.
0-to-60 takes just 9 seconds. In a 30 MPG subcompact that looks like a jellybean, equipped with an autobox. That’s as fast Mk 2 Golf GTI 8V. Sure, you have to rev the bejesus out of the engine, but doing so is very enjoyable. Use the gearbox and, even at highway speeds, you'll never feel underpowered.
Competent and unremarkable; the front disc, rear drum setup is more than enough to haul the lightweight Fit to a stop quickly and easily.
The long wheelbase to overall vehicle size ratio helped the Fit handle New York’s permanent road construction admirably, but ultimately it feels unsettled over the really rough stuff.
Initially a little soft for our tastes, the Fit is actually extremely capable, communicative and rewarding. Sure it’s a front wheel drive economy car, but the fundamental rightness of the Fit’s chassis elevates it above most cars on the road, not just its category.
We got lumped with the autobox version (a 5-speed is standard), but equipped with paddles it was fun to use, responsive and quick to shift.
Basic, but functional, there’s an iPod connector in the top glove box.
We had the specced-up version with Satnav. That system works well, but that's all there is to play with. Aside from the folding rear seats, which are quick, easy and effective.
Everything we need and just about everything we want in a car for a $16,260 starting price (Fit Sport, the Fit starts at $14,750). We’d take one of these over the far more expensive Mini and spend the savings packing the rear full of Ikea furniture. The Fit is actually several thousand dollars more expensive than the far less practical Toyota Yaris or Nissan Versa, but we actually want a Fit and it’s the cheapest car we can say that about.
The Fit Sport is good to drive, exceptionally practical, frugal and affordable. It’s the kind of simple, well-engineered vehicle that Honda built its reputation on and would do well to emulate across the rest of its current range. We’ve recommended that friends and family purchase a Fit more than any other vehicle on sale not just because it’s the kind of car that can fit (pun!) into many different lifestyles and fulfill most people’s needs, but also because they’ll enjoy owning it. We would.
• 2009 Honda Fit Sport, Part One