2009 Honda Fit

2009 Honda Fit 2009 Honda Fit
First Drive Review

We love the Honda Fit. Roomy inside and more fun to drive than a team of coked-up sled dogs, we’ve awarded it a place on our 10Best Cars list two straight years, and it decimated the competition in a seven-car comparison test. Of course, that was the old Fit. There’s now a new model, completely redesigned for 2009, and a few of us in the office have had a chance to take a spin behind the wheel.

And here’s where the problems start. After nearly every drive of a new car, we tend to gather and discuss our individual impressions. More often than not they jibe. When they don’t, though— whoo, boy—expect some fireworks. Regarding this new Fit, we agree on its character—more refined, slightly less frenetic—but we don’t all share a similar outlook on the vehicle’s appeal. West Coast bureau chief Steve Siler, for example, bemoans the car’s newfound maturity and loss of ultimate tossability. On the other hand, associate editor Erik Johnson is more than happy with the changes, finding value in showing people that affordable, fuel-efficient small cars don’t have to be refrigerator boxes with Radio Flyer stickers on the sides and dashboards made of string cheese.

Steve Siler: Johnson, there are many reasons the old Fit was a good Fit. It was rendered in cheap materials that were screwed together with Swiss-watch precision. It was crazy versatile. But best of all, it still felt like a floggable cheap car: humbly endowed but a hoot to toss about, kinda like my old 1988 Nissan Sentra but with actual steering feel and body control. It reminded me once again that there’s no thrill quite like driving a slow car fast.

Erik Johnson: But none of that is lost in this new car. Yeah, I’ll give you that the old car felt like you were racing it all the timegoing 45 mph was an exercise in working the clutch, shifter, and 1.5-liter four practically to breaking point—but the new Fit is still that fun. It’s just that now it feels like you’re racing only when you’re actually beating on it. Otherwise, the nicer interior materials, stiffer structure, and calmer nature mean you can actually get around town without feeling like you’ve downed 17 shots of espresso. This is a great car for people who are coming from larger vehicles and need something that sips fuel while providing some semblance of roominess. The new Fit has 10 cup holders, man.