What Changed for 2008:
- Tire-pressure-monitoring system is now standard
An established model in Japan and Europe (and known in some markets as the Jazz), the subcompact Honda Fit arrived on U.S. shores just last year. The Fit is Honda's smallest car in years, though its spacious interior (90 cubic feet of passenger space) and sprightly 109-hp engine are a far cry from the N600s and first-generation Civics seen in the early 1970s.
The 2008 Honda Fit is available as a 5-door hatchback in Base and Sport models. Standard amenities on the Base model include power windows, mirrors, and door locks; air conditioning; CD player; and a two-tone interior. Honda’s lineage of cargo-friendly hatchbacks continues with the Fit's Magic Seat, an innovative 60/40 split rear bench that allows the seatbacks to fold down or the seat bottoms to flip up, providing four distinct seating and cargo carrying configurations. The Fit Sport model offers steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters (when equipped with the automatic transmission); a 160-watt, 6-speaker audio system with MP3/WMA playback capability, five-mode equalizer, and auxiliary audio input jack; body kit; rear roofline spoiler; fog lights; security system; remote keyless entry; cruise control; and 15-inch alloy wheels.
The 2008 Honda Fit is available with iPod Music link, which allows full control of the iPod via the Fit's stereo system while charging the iPod’s battery. Other interior accessories include ambient lighting, steering wheel covers, shift knobs, and red, silver, or blue trim-panel accents. Outside, the Fit can be personalized with Honda Factory Performance equipment including 16-inch alloy wheels, a Sport package body kit, sport exhaust, chrome exhaust tip, rear bumper accents, and a sport mesh grille.
The 2008 Honda Fit is powered by a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with Honda's VTEC variable valve timing system. Power output is 109 hp at 5800 rpm and 105 lb.-ft. of torque at 4800 rpm. The front-wheel-drive Fit is available with a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission; Sport models with the automatic transmission get steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual control. EPA fuel economy estimates are 28 mpg city/34 mpg city for the manual transmission, 27 mpg city/34 mpg highway for the Fit Base automatic transmission, and 27 mpg city/33 mpg highway for the Fit Sport automatic transmission.
Despite its small size, the 2008 Honda Fit fared well in both National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests. In the NHTSA tests, the Fit scored a perfect 5 stars for frontal impact; for side impact the scores were 5 stars for front-seat occupants but only 3 stars for rear passengers. The Fit’s NHTSA rollover rating was 4 stars. Likewise, the Fit scored a top rating of "Good" in the IIHS' front and side tests. Standard safety equipment includes front air bags, front seat-mounted side air bags, side curtain air bags, anti-lock brakes and, new for 2008, a tire-pressure-monitoring system.
According to the company, Honda went to great lengths to ensure that the Fit's 1.5-liter engine would develop adequate acceleration to suit American drivers’ demands. The engine uses a drive-by-wire throttle that eliminates the mechanical connection between accelerator pedal and the engine's throttle butterfly, instead relying on a pedal position sensor as well as other inputs to determine optimum throttle position. The Fit's engine also employs Honda's VTEC system which electronically selects between two valve-timing profiles to provide adequate low-end power as well as good high-rpm response, Honda claims.