2008 Honda Fit Sport Review – Small on the outside but incredibly big on the inside

Tuesday August 26th, 2008 at 12:88 PM
Posted by: twain

2008 Honda Fit Sport

Review by Twain Mein | Photos by Derek Mau

Pros:

  • Good gas mileage
  • Excellent handling
  • Incredible amount of interior space with ingenious packaging
  • Great value for the money

Cons:

  • Real-world gas mileage was disappointing
  • Lack of power
  • Noisy engine


Introduction
This is a review of the Honda Fit Sport. It features a 109 hp, 1.5L, 4-cylinder, VTEC engine with some upgrades over the base model, including paddle-mounted shifters for the automatic transmission, more powerful receiver with iPod-compatibility, 15” wheels, fog lights, and cruise control. It stickers for just over $16,000.

Driving Impressions
This is the modern day interpretation of the wonderful CRX, first produced by Honda in 1984, and my first car growing up. The CRX was fuel-efficient, spacious, and had fantastic handling, due to light weight and clever packaging. It was powered by a 76 hp engine and weighed approx 1,800 pounds. At 2,500 pounds, the Fit is 600 pounds heavier but with 109 hp, they both carry ~23 pounds for each hp. Both record 0-60 in just over 9 seconds. Both share quirky but attractive designs and both are fun to drive. Like the CRX, you look forward to driving the Fit every time, truly the mark of a great car.

2008 Honda Fit Sport

Build
The Fit has a “frisky” feel–lightweight without the flimsy doors. The seats and dash seem to be high quality and feel substantial. It’s not a Mercedes, but it feels surprisingly solid for such a light car. Fit (pun intended) of the body panels was excellent.

Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
The interior features high quality velour-ish seats, nice gauges, and a thick steering wheel with cocky paddle shifters. There is plenty of headroom front and rear, though the driver’s seat could use a bit more “aft” adjustability. The rear seat leg room was truly impressive and provided plenty of space for us to maneuver our two kids into their baby seats. Integrated “LATCH” car seat compatibility is a great touch.

Honda Fit - with child seats Honda Fit - rear cargo area Honda Fit - cargo area Honda Fit - front row seats

The best part of the interior is the clever rear seats that fold and tumble into the floor. You can have a huge expanse in the rear that easily fits a full-sized bike without having to take off the wheels. Impressive.

There were only three things that were missing:

  1. Outside Thermometer. For some reason, it’s reassuring to know exactly how hot or cold it is outside. Granted, this is a bit absurd for such an inexpensive car, but it would be a nice to have.
  2. Pull down strap for tailgate. My wife is 5’2”—and she found closing the tailgate to be quite a stretch. A simple pull down strap would make it a lot easier.
  3. Trip/Real-Time mileage. For a gas miser like this, it would benefit driving habits to have real-time gas consumption readout and current trip average MPG. It certainly brought me back to 1984 when I had to “do the math” with pen and paper at the pump!


Performance
Under my flogging, the Fit managed a very disappointing 22 mpg. My results were a far cry under the claimed 27mpg/city. But under Derek’s careful/purposefully miserly driving, he averaged 39 mpg, far exceeding the 33 mpg highway quoted by Honda. (Click on the link to find out how Derek got 39 mpg out of the Fit: Honda Fit gets 39 mpg!)

Honda Fit Sport 109 hp, 1.5L, 16-valve, SOHC VTEC engine

For comparison, in the CRX, I got as low as 19 and as high as 41. Some things don’t change. And I fully admit that I floored this car at every opportunity.

In any case, the engine sounds great at lower revs. When you floor it, the engine noise builds but it hits a flat spot around 4,000 RPM, making more noise than thrust. And at highway speeds, there isn’t a lot of torque; passing requires a bit of wind up.

Honda Fit - instrument panel and steering wheel

The paddle shifters were fun to use but up-shifting at full throttle didn’t produce a harmonious bump in the power band; you shift and nothing really happens except the noise dies down a bit.

(Continued on page 2 – Handling | Styling | Value | Conclusion/Rating )

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