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Established 2004

Honda Fit, 2008: Weidel on Wheels

fitGas mileage and price are two major selling points, and considering the cost of gas these and turbulent economy, perhaps this vehicle is just the right Fit. Pardon the pun, but there’s definitely more interest in Honda’s smallest and least expensive car.

So, let’s state upfront its price and gas mileage. The base model Fit costs $13,453 and mileage range from 27-33 mpg (with a manual transmission).

So, it’s easy to see where the Fit fits a tight budge. Adding one more car to its extensive stable of vehicles, the Japanese manufacturer introduced the Fit in 2007, replacing the Civic as its entry-level vehicle.

Although the Fit was new to the United States, it’s been sold in Japan since 2001 and progressed to the European market one year later.

Another reason the Fit is considered by youthful car shoppers is it’s a four-door hatchback that seats five and offers versatility. Another feature sure to interest the younger generation is a dealer-installed adapter where an iPod can be hooked into a four-speaker audio system.fitHonda made no changes to the 2008 Fit, but a major redesign took place with already available 2009 models. One major difference is the 2009s are longer and wider but maintain the same curb weight.

Despite the same criticism that greeted the Element, a quirky sport utility vehicle, the Honda design team succeeded with the Fit. One of its hailed features is the “Magic Seat,” the second row that can fold down or the bottom can flip up, transforming into multiple cargo configurations that offer as much room as the much larger Accord.

“Magical” might be a stretch. But with the second-row flipped up, there’s more than 90 cubic inches of interior cargo space. Even when the seats are in regular mode, the back compartment can accommodate several grocery bags or two normal-size suitcases.

The Fit is not the swiftest car. Still, for a 1.5-liter, 16-valve VTEC 4-cylinder car with 109 horsepower, it possesses decent acceleration. It’s lightweight (2,551 pounds) and peppy.

The Fit is fun to drive, especially the upgraded sport model ($16,070). It has a five-speed automatic transmission and paddle-shift switches mounted on the steering wheel. It’s agile, navigates corners well and brakes well.

The Fit is noisy at high speeds and can meander between lanes on a windy day. It also has a small, (10.8-gallons) fuel tank, which means more frequent gas station trips for a vehicle that gets wonderful mileage.

FAST FACTS

Power — 1.5-liter, 16-valve, VTEC 4-cylinder;Estimated Mileage — 27 mpg (city) 33 mpg (hwy); Standard Features — antilock brakes; tire-pressure monitor; tilt steering wheel; AM/FM/CD player; wheel covers; rear defogger; power windows, doors, mirrors; Warranty — Powertrain 5 years/60,000 miles; Bumper-to-bumper 3 years/36,000 miles; Corrosion 5 years/unlimited miles.

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