Autoblog reports that the new model of Honda's popular subcompact car "will go on sale next week with a MSRP starting at $14,550 (plus $670 destination), while the more premium Honda Fit Sport will start at $16,060 (plus destination)." Those prices average just $600 more than 2008 Fits. With increased demand for fuel-efficient small cars, and automakers battling higher prices for steel and other materials, the $600 price increase is less than many analysts had expected. Of course, options can still raise the cost of a new Fit considerably. But the smallest Honda is still a lot of car for the money -- Autoblog points out that "the top shelf Fit Sport with navigation and a 5-speed automatic starts at $18,760."
What will the inflated MSRP get you? Edmunds Inside Line notes, "Offsetting these higher prices is a lengthier standard equipment list. Base 2009 Fits move up to 15-inch wheels and 175/65R15 tires this year, and also come with a telescoping steering wheel, an auxiliary jack and an MP3/WMA-capable CD player. The 2009 Honda Fit Sport gets 16-inch wheels and 185/55R16 tires, while adding a rear antiroll bar, an iPod-friendly USB port, a driver armrest and map lights."
Motor Trend says "the 2009 Fit will be available with a 1.5L four-cylinder producing 117 hp and 106 lb-ft of torque. Mated to the powertrain is either a five-speed auto controlled via steering wheel mounted paddles or a standard manual transmission offering." Most Fit buyers are interested in fuel economy. MT points out, "EPA fuel mileage estimates vary depending on configuration, but the car easily averages over 30 mpg in regular highway driving. Surprisingly, the standard model with automatic transmission attains a higher fuel rating than its manual transmission counterpart."
Popular Mechanics, however, feels that the Fit has lost something by adding all of the new equipment. The new model is heavier than the old, and pays a penalty in driving dynamics. PM says the Fit's fun factor may have been dialed back to seven from a perfect 10." They add, "That's probably okay for the mainstream crowd that's been migrating from larger cars to smaller ones to save fuel. The Fit is still, by far, the most engaging drive in the class."
For those devoted to Honda but looking for more fuel efficiency, Honda plans to sell a Prius-like dedicated hybrid in 2010.