Now What Do We Do?
Somebody over at American Honda thought it would be smart for us to have an '09 Fit Sport of our own. It wasn't a bad idea. We love the Fit, and have been looking for ways to incorporate both the GD3 and GE8 chassis into the mag for some time. It's no secret that we've compared the Fit to the likes of Honda's timeless '88-'91 Civic on more than one occasion and we're standing by it. Like the Civic, it's Honda's entry-level hatchback and, like the Civic, the Fit is aimed toward the same demographic. They're both reasonably fun to drive, get great mileage, and just as easy to upgrade. Here's why we like it so much.
Under The Hood
While awaiting our Blue Sensation Pearl Fit to arrive, we began planning what we'd do to wake it up. A K-series swap seemed logical. At the time, nobody had done one yet, and it'd certainly give us the power we wanted. But the swap may not be entirely necessary. The '09 does make an extra 8 hp when compared to the previous model and its torque curve is much flatter, but that's not exactly earth-shattering. Combine those things with a tighter gearbox, and a more intuitive electric power steering and suspension though and, suddenly, it accounts for a lot. About that gearbox, compare it with the Fit's competition; this is the smoothest-shifting gearbox you'll find in a car priced below $20K. It doesn't just put the competition in check but it does so with our NSX and just about any B-series we've got and for good reason-it's 20 years newer. Part of the reason for this is the manual transmission's carbon and double-cone synchros. Single-cone synchros that are made of brass are more typical for budget-minded cars like the Fit, but they'll never shift as smoothly. Glance under the hood though and you'll have a difficult time seeing the differences. Both old and new Fits feature 1.5-liter powerplants but the '09's is better. Sort of. In terms of VTEC, the '09 wins. It's i-VTEC is the sort of technology we've come to expect from Honda's best. Unlike the previous Fit's VTEC, which does little more than deactivate one intake valve per cylinder to increase torque below 3,400 rpm, the '09's two-stage i-VTEC system optimizes valve timing and lift across the board, similar to the K-series, but only on the intake side. That means a reasonable amount of power is there when you stab the throttle, and decent mileage isn't terribly hard to get. Don't expect a neck-snapping pop though; the Fit's i-VTEC is quiet, even subtle. To be fair, the EPA estimated fuel economy ratings for the '09 Fit Sport of 27 mpg city / 33 mpg highway are simply way too low. In testing we've achieved 42 mpg while doing our best to conserve and a solid 37 mpg the rest of the time. Not interested in a hybrid? You don't have to be anymore.
Outside And Inside
We're not interested in messing with too many exterior modifications. We daily drive the Fit and so it must fulfill certain duties like not attracting too much attention and getting decent gas mileage. The Fit Sport works out perfect for guys like us. Besides the 16-inch rims that's we'll soon be swapping out, it comes with all sorts of things that we won't be getting rid of. There're the color-matched side mirrors, as well as the more aggressive-looking bumpers, rear spoiler, and side sills. The Sport also comes with factory-installed fog lights, chrome headlight bezels, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel-all things we won't be getting rid of, especially since our Sport's steering wheel has integrated stereo controls on it to go along with its six-speaker sound system. We also opted for the Navi model that, you guessed it, comes with Honda's navigation system and is arguably one of the industry's best. Navi models are about $1,800 more than non-Navi models, but are worth every penny. Few cars in this price range are equipped with such technology. There're even USB audio and iPod hook-ups, MP3 compatibility, and a factory-installed, keyless entry security system. The Sport really does make our ob of vehicle modification an easy one.
We Want To Hear From You
Well, we've played around with our Fit in stock form for long enough. Now it's time to modify this thing, but we want to hear from you. What do you want to see? Have a certain set of rims in mind? Let us know. Got an idea of some engine mods you'd like to see tested here first? Hit us up. Of course, we've got a few of our own ideas in mind, but we want to hear what other Fit aficionados want to see. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to include "PROJECT FIT" in the subject line.