New York Auto Show – 2009 Honda Fit
By Igor Holas
Besides the 2009 Acura TSX (see more HERE), Honda brought the new 2009 Fit to New York. While it might seem the original Fit was revealed only yesterday, it has been selling outside US for five years, so its replacement was in order.
The current Fit has already been heralded as the leader in the B-segment, with well defined ride, well tuned engine and transmission, and innovative features like flip-up rear seats for transporting tall objects, such as bikes.
The new 2009 Fit improves upon the current model with a retuned chassis and suspension that delivers an even better ride, plus added safety features such as stability control and brake distribution. Moreover, the 2009 Fit includes an all-new interior providing more storage bins and more cup holders. Rare for a car this small, Honda is going all-out with electronic conveniences such as navigation and a USB, iPod and MP3 player interface. The new car is powered by an upgraded version of the current 1.5 liter four-cylinder engine linked to a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.
I had a chance to sit in the car at the show, and the new car provides a nice update to the current car. The wheelbase was stretched, and the overall dimensions grew as well. This improved interior space, but moved the car away from its tiny, nimble, cheap, and frugal origins. The interior is still a little narrow compared to a compact such as the Civic, but there is quite a bit of legroom or all five passengers. The front cabin is thoughtfully designed with storage bins all over the place including a nifty penholder tray above the glove box, and a built-in cup holder on the dash-top.
For practicality and overall refinement the Fit probably can’t be beat. The cargo area is wide-open with a large hatch and very usable vertical space. The seats fold down as well as up, and overall provide more stuff-hauling capability that virtually any midsize sedan does. The new model adds a little additional space thanks to its larger dimensions, but otherwise does not tamper with this proven formula.
For fans of small cars like me, the new Fit is great news. The subcompact segment has been neglected for years, and while it is not necessarily re-invigorated, it has only one truly well-rounded and excellent entry – the Fit. It is nice to see that Honda did not spoil this excellent car with boneheaded moves. After all of the weird and bad turns Honda has made recently (the Acura TL redesign, the bland new Pilot) this excellent update to the Fit is a breath of fresh air. With more space, better powertrain, and on-par interior, this car should be stealing sales from the mediocre new Toyota Corolla.
Read the Press Release after the jump, and see more images HERE.
All-new 2009 Honda Fit Introduces New Realm of Refinement to Subcompact Class
New Fit further refines interior functionality, enhances sporty feel, and adds safety features
NEW YORK, March 19, 2008 – The all-new 2009 Honda Fit, set to go on sale in the U.S. this fall, is making its U.S. debut at the New York International Auto Show, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today. The Fit promises to further its leadership in the subcompact segment with top-of-class feature content, including an available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™; improved interior functionality, including one-motion dive-down rear seats; enhanced sporty demeanor through improved suspension, steering and body rigidity; and high levels of standard safety equipment, including Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure.
“Critics and customers alike have voted the Fit among the best small vehicles on the road,” said Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda. “This new Fit raises the bar even further, taking what was already great about the Fit, making it even better and throwing in a healthy dose of refinement.”
Enhanced Comfort and Convenience
Dimensionally compact on the outside, the interior provides surprisingly large passenger and class-leading cargo space to maximize comfort and utility. At the foundation is an improved rear Magic Seat, now featuring one-motion dive-down functionality, which allows the rear seat to fold flat with the front seats in the rearmost slide position and without removing the rear head restraints. The seats offer multiple seating and cargo-carrying configurations (tall object mode, long object mode and utility mode) in addition to the standard five-passenger mode. Additionally, a new hidden storage bin under the driver’s side rear seat provides a place to store small items.
Adding further refinement, Fit Sport offers an available factory-installed Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Voice Recognition, featuring a 6.5-inch screen. All Fit Sport models feature a USB audio interface compatible with current generation iPods® and many USB storage devices.
“The goal is to provide entry-level vehicle customers with functionality and refinement that’s a class above,” said Colliver. “Buying a Fit is a choice, not a compromise.”
Fun to Drive
The Fit features a new 1.5-literi-VTEC™ 4-cylinder engine connected to either a 5-speed manual transmission or an available 5-speed automatic transmission, which includes steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters on the Fit Sport. The new engine is designed to offer the best balance of fuel economy and power. Larger 15-inch and 16-inch (Fit Sport) wheels hint at enhancements to the Fit’s suspension, steering and body rigidity, which are intended to produce sportier handling without sacrificing comfort.
Top-of-Class Standard Safety Equipment
The 2009 Fit adds Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure technology, available Vehicle Stability Assist ™ (VSA®) and active head restraints, to a top-of-class list of standard safety features. With Fit’s adoption of ACE, more than 94 percent of Honda vehicles sold in the U.S. will include the innovative body structure. When introduced to the 2009 Fit, VSA will be available in the lineup of every model Honda sells in the United States. Dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags, dual front-side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS) and side-curtain airbags are standard equipment on all Fit models. All seating positions have three-point seat belts. Additionally, front and rear visibility is improved.
Standard active safety equipment includes an anti-lock braking system (ABS), with ventilated discs in the front and drums in the back, and electronic brake distribution (EBD).
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