The 2009 Honda Fit is a pleasing, if not groundbreaking, second act to an already quite good car. All of the 2008 Honda Fit's high points have made the transition: the brilliant interior packaging; the excellent ergonomics; the superb sightlines via the vast glass, low cowl, and A-pillars with window buttresses; the willing and refined four-cylinder engine. A much better, more precise gearshifter has been added.
Also added: a bit more body control, so the car seems more tied down. However, having just driven the new Ford Fiesta, I'd venture that it is better tuned for both comfort and chassis response. Sadly for Ford and happily for Honda, though, that car is two years away from the American market.
Inside the Fit, there are many people-pleasing features. The rear-seat headrests are nicely integrated into the seatbacks, such that when you flip the seatbacks forward, the headrests don't impede the seatbacks from lying flat. Alternately, you can flip the rear seat bottoms up, creating a nice floor storage space. The trunk itself, accessed through the hatch, is wide and flat and low.
Up front, the driver and passenger each have two cupholders, including outboard ones near the doors, and these aren't flimsy things, either; they'll actually hold a beverage securely in place. There are two nice little slots flanking the handbrake that are perfect for cell phones and BlackBerrys.
I can't say that the car is significantly more handsome than it was before, but it's a little less dorky and ungainly looking.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor