What: Redesigned, larger version of Honda's popular economy hatchback
When: Scheduled release in Fall 2008
Price Range: Target price is expected in the $15,000 range, similar to the current Fit and less expensive trims of the Honda Civic
New For 2009
The big news on this small hatchback is that it's getting bigger for 2009. For only two years, the first-generation Fit has been the darling of both the automotive press and consumers. But with the second generation already in production for the Japanese market, Honda has elected to sell this larger model in North America by the fall of this year.
The second generation Fit is 2.2 inches longer and almost an inch wider than its predecessor, and offers an extra 1.6 inches of rear legroom. Honda also moved the '09 Fit's windshield forward by 4.7 inches to add to a sense of spaciousness.
Like the 2008 model, the new 2009 Fit's sole engine is a 1.5-liter four cylinder that now features i-VTEC variable valve timing to help it achieve 118 horsepower, a 9 horsepower increase over the 2008 Fit.
What The Auto Press Says
Overall, automotive experts expect great things of the 2009 Honda Fit and say increased cabin space and engine power directly address the most common complaints with the previous model. But even with its drawbacks, the first-generation Fit set a high bar for the affordable small car class. It was named one of Car and Driver's 10Best in 2007 and 2008, and won Popular Mechanics' Automotive Excellence Award.
Here is what the press has to say about the coming 2009 Fit:
"Retaining compact dimensions similar to the previous model, the new 2009 Honda Fit sports entirely new sheetmetal and more functionality inside. An improved version of Honda's Magic Seat allows the rear seats to fold flat without removing the headrests, even when the front chairs are pushed all the way back." - Motor Trend
"For a car that has sold itself on its claim of feeling big for its class, this creates scope to do more of the same -- Honda claims interior capacity similar to that of its mid-size sedans." - Car and Driver
"It bears a distinct family resemblance to the outgoing Fit, but you'll notice how much bigger it is when you try to park it." - New York Times
"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." - Autosavant
"The 2009 Honda Fit has landed, and done so with everything the previous Honda Fit was lacking." - Autoblog
"Engineers worked hard to enhance the Fit's sporty image by tightening up the suspension, increasing body rigidity, and revising the steering system." - Automobile Magazine
According to Honda, the 2009 Fit now has a one-motion fold-down Magic Seat. The Fit Sport includes iPod connectivity standard, and has the option for Honda's Satellite-Linked Navigation System. As in previous years, the Fit's engine is matched with either a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic with available paddle-shifters.
In terms of safety, all 2009 Fits will include Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure. In addition to the standard six air bags, anti-lock brakes and Electronic Brake force Distribution, electronic stability control will be offered optional.
Stay tuned for a full 2009 Honda Fit review. Also check out information the 2008 Honda Fit, available in showrooms today.