Saturday, April 4, 2009

The 2009 Honda Fit ranks 1 out of 35

The 2009 Honda Fit ranks 1 out of 35 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 25 published reviews and test drives of the Honda Fit, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.

Redesigned for 2009, the larger, sportier Fit still has quality and utility that few subcompacts can match. Although it's an expensive car compared to other subcompact cars and hatchbacks, the Fit is a good value over time. It's even the 2009 U.S. News Best Car for the Money in the subcompact class.

Following its first ride on North American roads, the Honda Fit quickly became an auto industry darling for its fun driving dynamics, fuel efficiency and unique cargo and seating modes. It's been one of Car and Driver's "Top 10 Urban Vehicles" for 2008, and a "10Best" for both 2008 and 2009. It was also the recipient of Popular Mechanics' Automotive Excellence Award for 2007. Just two years later Honda has introduced a new and improved Fit that's once again captivated the automotive press with its personality and spaciousness. In addition to a 10Best recognition, the Fit is a nominee for 2009 North American Car of the Year, is a Consumer Guide Best Buy, and was selected as one of Automobile Magazine's All-Stars for 2009.

Even the car's perceived shortcomings -- a hefty price tag considering its size and class and no stability control option for the base trim -- do not prevent the overwhelming majority from labeling the Fit one of the best small car or hatchback options. But if you consider the absence of stability control a deal-breaker, keep the VW Rabbit with its impressive cargo space and standard electronic stabilization program on your shortlist of hatchbacks. The Rabbit's MSRP can be somewhat high, however, and its EPA numbers are lower than many subcompacts. Value-conscious shoppers looking to avoid frequent fill-ups should check out the Toyota Yaris.

The 2009 Fit is now slightly larger and has sacrificed some of the last generation's fuel efficiency to improve its all-around driving experience. The windshield has been moved forward by 4.7 inches to add to improve visibility and add to the sense of spaciousness. Rear passengers are treated to 1.6 extra inches of rear legroom. The engine's 9 horsepower increase and variable valve timing provides more pep out the gate, while a stiffer chassis facilitates tauter handling. Despite all the recent changes, the 2009 Fit still comes in two trims, the base model and the Fit Sport.

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