By KBB.com Editors
Honda made a name for itself by building small, frugal and reliable hatchbacks. Yet, as the company grew, so did its cars. Larger models, with trunks, soon came to symbolize the Honda brand, leaving many to predict the death of the Honda hatchback. Not willing to concede the youth market to Scion and MINI, Honda returned to its humble beginnings by creating the five-door Honda Fit. Although this entry-level hatchback is priced slightly higher than most of its competition, the Fit nevertheless offers an ample supply of features, versatility and, above all, that unbeatable Honda resale value. Given a major makeover for 2009, the Fit continues to see strong sales across all demographics, proving Americans will buy hatchbacks so long as they offer the right blend of style, fun and efficiency.
Those looking for a small car with good fuel economy, excellent reliability ratings and a spacious rear seat will find much to like in the 35-mpg Honda Fit.
If the bottom line is your top priority, you'll find roughly comparable and economical substitutes for much less. The Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Aveo and Kia Rio5 all offer similar fuel economy yet are priced thousands of dollars below the Fit.
The all-new 2009 Honda Fit has a smoother aerodynamic look, a more powerful engine and a new interior design. The base and Sport trims return but come standard with larger wheels and are available in new colors. The Sport trim is now offered with satellite navigation and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA).
Driving Impressions Superb handling is what really stands out with the 2009 Honda Fit. It's no sports car, but we found the Fit rather agile, thanks in part to the added body...rigidity and, on the Sport trim, the rear stabilizer bar. Despite the horsepower increase from the previous generation, it seems the Fit still struggles on moderate inclines, but proves eager when it comes to accelerating on the freeway or darting across intersections. The paddle shifters in the automatic Sport trim make downshifting for passing a snap, but the short-throw shifter of the manual adds to the driving fun. Compared to many of its competitors, the Fit's driving dynamics feel more refined and confident. In-cabin noise is fairly quiet for a sub-compact and, overall, we found the Fit to be comfortable, with adequately bolstered seating and easy-to-reach climate and audio controls.
The available touch-screen navigation system is easy to use and makes the Fit an even more versatile commuter-car package.
Standard in the Sport trim, the Fit can now accommodate portable audio players and USB storage devices which can be controlled via the car's audio system.
In typical Honda fashion the Fit's interior blends visual appeal with real-world practicality. Caffeine fanatics will love the ten beverage holders, and a multitude of storage spaces provides places to stash small items such as cell phones, breath mints and empty coffee cups. Overall interior space is impressive for this class, with ample headroom and legroom both front and rear. Honda's "Magic Seat" may take some liberties in its name, but we must admit it's a pretty neat trick for the rear seat to fold flush without having to remove the headrest. With the rear seat folded down, the Fit offers up a respectable 57.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity, more than either the Nissan Versa or Kia Rio5, for example. The front passenger seat also folds flat, which gives enough space for items up to seven feet, nine inches long.
It may have the same basic shape as the first-generation model, but look closer and you'll find the 2009 Honda Fit is actually a bit bolder and rounder than its predecessor. This new look is more aggressive, with sharper-angled headlights and a super cab-forward design. Its tall roof line and large windows give the driver greater all-around visibility as well as a vast amount of headroom for all passengers. Also, with a wider track and longer wheelbase than before, the Fit provides even more room for five passengers and their belongings.
The base 2009 Honda Fit includes a five-speed manual transmission, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, power door locks and windows, 15-inch wheels with full covers, 60/40-split second-row Magic Seat with under-seat storage, 160-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with four speakers and an auxiliary input jack. Safety features include dual front airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD).
One trim up is the Sport, which includes a security system with remote entry, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, a six-speaker sound system with USB audio interface and, with the automatic transmission, paddle shifters. Exterior upgrades include an underbody kit, a roofline spoiler, fog lights, rear stabilizer bar and 16-inch alloy wheels. The Sport trim can also be ordered with Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and navigation. An automatic transmission is available for both trims.
The 2009 Honda Fit has a 1.5-liter engine, which Honda revised by incorporating a more advanced i-VTEC system. The i-VTEC varies the intake and exhaust valve events, which in turn enhances performance while still achieving good fuel economy and low emissions. The Fit comes in two different flavors: Manual and automatic. The automatic version uses a three-mode system: A normal drive mode; a sport mode, which holds off shifting gears for maximum performance; and a manual mode, which allows the driver to shift gears with the paddle shifters.
1.5-liter in-line four
117 horsepower @ 6600 rpm
106 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/33 (manual, sport automatic), 28/35 (automatic)
By sandy on Saturday, January 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great little car, gas great milage"
Cons: "Bad black cloth interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Comfort and mileage great. Its those cloth seats. Constantly dirty looking, everything on them shows. Can't keep clean looking. Hate them. Only reason I am trading for new car 2015 with leather. They should offer better color inside than black."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Pete on Sunday, January 18, 2015
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Crashed it
Pros: "Value, exterior design, interior flexibility"
Cons: "Road Noise, Interior fabric materials"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Bought an 09 Fit Sport new in 2008 and put 128K miles on it till I crashed it (my fault) in December 2014. 10 for reliability as I only changed oil, tires, brakes (twice). Had to add Freon a few times as cooling system had flaw in this year. Factory tire size is goofy and hard to come by so buy a close match and ask your tire dealer. Also be advised this car has a timing chain not belt (yes!). Resale value is a 10 as used fit's are hot and sell well. Exterior design and interior flexibility are awesome. Road noise is pronounced so I hope you like the radio loud. Interior fabric is very cheap and the biggest negative I have on the car. Overall a very reliable, cool looking, great value car."
13 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By Sallie50 on Tuesday, January 06, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After 18 years of Accords I wanted a car that was taller, narrower, and shorter. The Fit really fits. Plus it is comfy, versatile, and oh so cute."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By mike on Saturday, January 03, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "great gas mileage, great utility usage of space,"
Cons: "service problems, paint fading"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I thought that this would be my last car to purchase knowing that Hondas are reliable or that's what we are told. I have enjoyed this car until recently. After 5 years and only 27000 miles, I have had several repairs. The most notworthy was the ac fan motor had to be replaced last year. However, now the paint is fading on the hood and top, even with the sealant which was purchased. I do keep it in garage. I have had to replace the tires and battery. It is having rattle issues of late. It does bottom out very easily and you have to be careful at low spots. It has a lot of road noise, I cannot hear the phone. This is not the car's fault, but I have had several near collisions, side swipes, lately. I am not sure if the car cannot be seen,it is red, because of the small size or if folks are not paying attention. However very good gas mileage, better than advertised. Very good utility useage of space. I do like those features. I am sorry to say I would not buy this car again."
3 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By alfagirl on Monday, December 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good space usage, fairly decent mileage for size"
Cons: "Needs a few amenities"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"When the Fit was first introduced, I thought "that's my next car". A year ago, I purchased a used 2011, in a bit of a hurry as I was in a state of need. It does everything it needs to, has excellent space usability, is pretty comfortable - even on long road trips, and gets fairly good gas mileage. It has been decent in snow, and I have only put snow tires on the front, thus far. I like the narrow wheels!! There are a few disappointments, for me. This vehicle, at its weight, with standard transmission should be getting much better gas mileage. My 2004 Hyundai Elantra with 150K was still getting 32-33 mpg when I gave it up; Honda with this engine should be getting 40 mph regularly (with same driving style.) After two Hyundais - one basic, one GT - I found a few amenities missing in the Honda. Understanding that the Fit is an entry-level vehicle, I still expected slightly more from a basic Honda: better seat adjustment (fore-and-aft driver's seat height adjustment, at minimum. While the vehicle is very narrow, some sort of console would be helpful, even though it does have two glove boxes. Would prefer a key fob, vs. key with locks/emergency button - it's ridiculous to spend $85 - $100 to get an extra key cut and programmed; understand this is the "wave," but it stinks. Visibility is good, but those silly extra windows in front are pointless- they're unnecessary on a car this size. Interior lighting is lacking - there is only a middle ceiling light, linked to the doors; map lights over windshield would be very helpful. A light in rear storage area would be helpful, too. Trip meter/odometer has some unnecessary features - I don't need the mileage gauge, or percentage of oil life features, but since it is entry-level, perhaps those are designed for less experienced drivers. A slightly larger oil sump and oil filter would make me happier, and the 0-20 weight oil gives me some concern. The star of this vehicle is the stowage and rear-seat versatility. The many ways to configure the back seat, and the underseat storage when it is in regular seating position is great. Best part: when lowered, rear seat back is flat with rear storage area floor - that is how it should be! Worst part, for me - it is simply ugly! I like a vehicle to be pleasing to view as I approach it; this ugly little duckling simply is not. Not even really ugly-funky-cute. But, the entire current Honda family is ugly; can't believe those aerodynamics are really necessary at speeds up to 85 mph; it certainly isn't reflected in fuel mileage. Also, those aerodynamics do nothing to help stability in wind; I have driven small cars for much of my life and have never driven anything so badly affected by wind on the road. But, again, it does what it needs to, is reasonably energy efficient, and will hold an amazing amount of stuff."
15 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By Kathleen on Saturday, November 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, sporty, cargo space, economical"
Cons: "Nothing comes to mind"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This little car is amazing. We opted for the manual transmission, which we both prefer. Thought the paddles were a bit gimmicky and difficult to downshift on corners. Shifts like butter. Took the money we saved on that and purchased the leather package, and console. So pleasantly surprised. We opted for a two-tone look, grey and dark grey. They even covered the doors in leather. It looked so amazing that the dealer actually took pictures of it. It gave the interior a huge upgrade in comfort and feel. The console took care of no arm rest and more storage. The real reason we bought this was to accommodate our 4 German Shepherd Dogs. With the seats folding all the way down, they all fit comfortably and can sit perfectly upright. Their ears don't even hit the ceiling. And they are not small shepherds. Our big boy is over 100 pounds. Plus, the leather takes care of the dog hair issue. This little car is fun to drive, packs a load and gets great gas mileage for what it can carry."
15 people out of 24 found this review helpful