2009 Honda Fit Sport
2009 Honda Fit Sport. Click image to enlarge

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2009 Honda Fit

Inside Story is a review of interior comfort features, cabin controls, storage options, trunk space and under-hood accessibility based on a seven-day evaluation.

If there’s any truth to the current global propaganda, it would appear that doing more with less has taken centre stage. This means that the bumper covers of sub-compacts are wearing bigger grins than usual, as huddled masses yearning to break free from uber-payments and excessive fuel consumption tap their toes against their tires. This time, Joe and Jane Carbuyer are serious, and so are the offerings. Honda hopes to build on that genuine interest with their redesigned Oh-Nine Fit. This week, Inside Story takes the Sport model for a practical spin, with a five-speed stick, and an MSRP of $19,280. (Pricing shown does not include freight, taxes, or regional incentives.)

2009 Honda Fit Sport
2009 Honda Fit Sport
2009 Honda Fit Sport
2009 Honda Fit Sport
2009 Honda Fit Sport. Click image to enlarge
The Cockpit/Centre Stack

The corporate three-spoke wheel greets you, with leather wrap and manual tilt/telescope operation. It’s curious though, that there is a lack/availability of steering wheel audio control tabs. Cruise control tabs are found on the right-hand spoke. Intermittent sweeps do occur for the front wipers, though there is no dial-in adjustment for fine tuning. Economy minders are included in the driver information display, which would have also been a great place to stow an engine coolant temperature gauge. Like the Yaris, the Fit makes do with warning lamps for Cold or Hot engine temperature.

Heated exterior side mirrors are controlled to the left of the IP pod. The Yaris homage continues, with at least one of the HVAC dials appearing to be a carbon copy of the Toyota system. Electric defrost for the rear window also feeds warmth to the side mirrors, though the system appears to have no form of thermostatic shutdown. The audio head unit has a single-CD mouth, with a dash-mount auxiliary audio jack, and a Sport-specific USB plug-in, located in the upper glove compartment. Satellite radio-readiness does not appear to exist, even as an extra-cost accessory. As with all Honda products, the manual shift five-speed stick returned no complaints for engagement, with a well-spaced gate. A 12-volt DC powerpoint is located below the HVAC controls. The driver’s door pod includes an Auto descent/ascent for the driver window.

Cubbies!

Many a vehicle has door side pockets. It’s a downright pleasure to find ones that aren’t simply decorative. Take the rear doors of the Fit. While many manufacturers would dismiss the space as beyond functional, a proper bottle holder of good depth finds a home. The front pockets are equally bottle savvy, with the larger storage pocket area opting for an access hole, instead of a sealed panel. The downside is security; the upside is not having to put sticky tape on a pencil to retrieve items of sentimental value. The gloveboxes are non-locking, with the lower cavity best suited for literature stowage. The top panel reveals a rubber pad, to keep iPod scuff to a minimum.

While we’re in the domain of the owner’s manual, it’s only fair to bestow kudos for the laminated quick reference guide for vehicle operation. Every vehicle should have one. The left and right-hand corners of the dashboard add something of an omni-holder. Is it a respectable cupholder? Yes. Is it a handy snack holder that wipes clean with minimal fuss? Yes. In cup mode, the cubby can also be blasted with HVAC-fed air. These holders were preferred for beverages, as the dual cupholder ahead of the shifter seemed too low, with no cinching mechanism. Speaking of really low storage, there’s a handy storage cubby door beneath the left-hand rear passenger seat cushion. Outside of the gloveboxes, this underseat cavity is one of the only secure storage sites. The centre console is completely open. A storage compartment/centre armrest combo can added as an accessory, priced at $335.46. The front passenger seatback is outfitted with a rear storage pocket.

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