$4,218 - $5,433

2009 Honda Fit Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Honda Fit was new.


Performance: 8.3

Honda's reputation for solid engineering translates well to the Fit, writers say. Most had fun on their test drives with the car's beefier engine and a stiffer suspension.

  • "The new Fit is powered by a 1.5 liter four-cylinder engine; power ratings (117 hp and 106 lb-ft of torque) are comparable to most of its rivals. The Fit offers a lovely 5-speed manual transmission with a gentle clutch and such good shift feel that I found myself changing gears just for the sheer joy of it." -- About.com
  • "We got behind the wheel of a Sport model with the automatic transmission, which includes a set of solid paddle shifters. This is and will be Honda's most popular model, and for good reason. For something this small and inexpensive, it's one of the most fun things we've driven in a long time." -- Motor Trend
  • "The best part is that Honda's updates haven't diluted this car's warrior spirit at all. The Fit won't contort facial muscles at full throttle, but its agility ranks at the top of the econocar charts." -- Car and Driver
  • "As for driving, the Fit has the metabolism and genetic code of all Hondas: well made, well tuned, well sorted, invested with the lifeblood of a thousand nameless Japanese engineers suffering from acute insomnia. Nothing is casually decided in a Honda, nothing is temporized. Some number-haunted wretch has agonized over every yen and millimeter of these cars. I love that." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "The 2009 Fit is every bit as good to drive as its predecessor, rewarding drivers for finding the hidden depths that lie behind the cushy ride and propensity for body roll. Smaller than most other cars on the road, you cannot only exploit gaps in traffic, but the width of the road itself, shifting position in corners for added visibility and therefore speed. The Fit is the first fun-to-drive car I've been able to do that in since I owned my last E30." -- Jalopnik

Acceleration and Power

The Fit's engine now makes 117 horsepower, enough to keep test drivers satisfied. Reviewers also have good experiences with both the five-speed manual and automatic transmission. According to many, the Fit Sport's automatic with Dual-Mode Paddle Shifter System is a seamless match for the four-cylinder i-VTEC engine. The EPA reports the base 2009 Fit should achieve 28/35 mpg city/highway with an automatic transmission. 

  • "The little four-cylinder pepper grinder under the hood (a 1.5-liter dual-stage VTEC) is keen and eager and completely floggable." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "Now with 117 bhp (up from 109) with additional mid-range torque and high-end power from a more sophisticated i-VTEC valve-lift system, the Fit charges across intersections like a scalded...penguin (with 0-60-mph times likely in the high 8-second range, it doesn't quite make 'cat' status)." -- Road and Track
  • "The manual shifter on the new car has a much-improved feel over the 2008 model and welcomes gear changes with a more precise and direct feel. The shift action is very light, as is clutch take-up, whereas we'd like more feedback to tell us when the clutch is engaging." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The engine was perky enough, but it revved really hard going uphill. I must have asked more of the engine than it was willing or able to give." -- Mother Proof
  • "Our Sport model comes with wheel-mounted paddle shifters, which makes running up and down the gears a responsive thrill ride. Shifts are smooth and well-matched with the powertrain, but make sure you get the engine revving." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

Test drivers note the 2009 Fit's redesign ushered in a sportier ride.

  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As you might expect, the biggest evidence of that improvement is on hard and fast cornering, on and off throttle. With the longer nose, newly designed lower control arms, and reprogrammed electric steering program (it's faster now), the handling feels more precise and confident when pushed." -- Motor Trend
  • "The new Fit now turns in superbly, gobbling up corners without rolling onto its door handles. More important, once you turn into a corner, you feel the rear end come around obediently, as if it actually wants to follow the line scribed by the front tires, so there's less understeer than before. The Fit now feels more like a small sedan than a small minivan." -- Edmunds
  • "Cornering composure, grip and handling reflexes are impressive for a car in this class, thanks to the retuned suspension, beefier tires and new steering. Bumps and potholes are damped nicely and ride quality feels solid and best-in-class. The cabin is better isolated from road and wind noise, especially on the expressway." -- AutoWeek
  • "The steering is quick, the brakes are powerful." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "Antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution are one of the many safety features you might not expect of cars in this class. They're standard in the Fit. Par for the course, though, it has rear drum rather than disc brakes. This doesn't necessarily mean the car doesn't stop well, but discs are a theoretical advantage. I found the brakes reasonably linear, but the brake pedal has a slightly spongy feel that I associate with drums." -- Cars.com

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