When Honda decided to step into the B-segment arena, they already knew they would be facing the early king of the game, Scion - but they did not backdown. The Fit quickly developed a small but loyal following; even the aftermarket lent enough support as to appeal to US enthusiasts. Its small package was deceivingly roomy (in a very good way) and its economic, but peppy little 1.5L was reminiscent of the D16 engines of yesteryear. US tuning shops, like Hasport, took very well to the Fit and quickly developed engine mounts that would allow the K-series to drop-in with relative ease, making the car a lot more fun to drive and without having to sacrifice much in the way of reliability. Still, the Fit never reached Scion's cult status but Honda did a good job of appealing to those who were looking to think outside the box.
With the latest Fit already available to the masses, we can happily say that you're in for a much better car, from its improved exterior design to a slightly more powerful engine. Outside, it hasn't changed drastically but with larger front half windows (windshield and front quarter windows), you'll feel like you're in a car that's twice as big as the old Fit with much-needed visibility. The dash is quite minimal compared to the rest of the Honda lineup, sporting a large 3D chronograph style gauge cluster and a sleek looking radio. The rear Magic Seat(r) has been redesigned to fold down with one-motion and won't interfere with the front seats no matter what position they're in. The 60/40 split also allows the seats to change between four different configurations, giving you all the right space where you need it to be. Honda didn't skip out on random storage pockets either; dig around the car, they're everywhere along with 10 cup holders.
Out on the road, the Fit moves pretty quickly - for a small car. Honda employed another 1.5L engine and thanks to its new two-stage (low-high switch) i-VTEC system, it's able make more power and torque at any speed along with being a super gas saver. I was neither blown away nor disappointed because it's made for simple commuting, and 117hp is extremely respectable. A 5-speed manual or automatic transmission is available (the Fit Sport comes with steering wheel mounted, dual-mode paddle shifters), both of which are equally fun to drive, but go for the stick if you think you might be the type to upsize with a K-series down the road. Handling-wise, the suspension is set a bit firm and can be maneuvered with ease. Yet another one of those "so perfect from factory" areas that Honda has mastered over the years. A set of coilovers could be used to lower the ride height for a nicer stance.
Honda also has a premium model on the market, too, the Fit Sport, which adds - at a premium of a price, maybe more than one should pay for a B-spec - aero, foglights, 16-inch wheels, Vehicle Stability Assist, lots of interior enhancements and a super-dope touchscreen navi system, one of the best we've seen on any new car. The front end is unique from the standard Fit, which uses different headlights and bumper and has a much more aggressive look. But all of those features don't come cheap, reaching close to $19K - so think wisely if you're going to pull the trigger and go for the beaucoup mods.
Although B-spec cars have not been on the market for very long, Honda proves that the Fit and Fit Sport will make a longtime impression on consumers by including luxuries that shouldn't come on them at all. But they aren't the only company doing it and is it really worth the high price tag? For some, the matter of preference will be the deciding factor and really, when has a Honda failed?
That New Car Smell
2009 Honda FIT/FIT Sport
The Sticker $15,350 (AT)/$14,550 (MT) (Fit); $16,060/$16,910 (Fit Sport); $17,910/$18,760 (Fit Sport with Navi)
Under The Hood 1.5L 16-valve, inline 4-cylinder SOHC i-VTEC
The Power 117 hp @ 6,600 rpm; 106 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
Scale Tipping 2,489/2,575 lb (manual/auto)/ 2,520/2,604 lb (manual/auto)
Layout Front engine, front-wheel drive
Gearbox 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission/5-speed auto with Dual-Mode Paddle Shifter System (Fit Sport only)
Stiff Stuff front: MacPherson strut suspension with 22 mm front sway bar/ 17mm rear sway bar (Fit Sport only); rear: H-shaped torsion beam
Rollers 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps; 175/65R15 all-season tires/16-in alloy wheels; 185/55R16 all-season tires
Stoppers 10.3-inch ventilated front discs and 7.9-inch rear drum brakes with 4-channel anti-lock brakes and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD)
At The Pump 5-speed manual: 27/33/29 (city/highway, combined); 5-speed auto: 28/35/31/5-speed manual: 27/33/29; 5-speed auto: 27/33/30
The Pack Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Scion xD
Deep Thoughts The second gen Fit - along with the addition of the Fit Sport - is a vast improvement over the original, but the high sticker price really makes us cringe. If you don't mind splurging on a micro car, then roll with the Fit Sport. Baller!