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2007 Honda Fit Sport

A Near-Perfect Fit

Four Stars out of Five

In short: A sporty, practical, surprisingly quick five-door hatchback.

Small cars are to Honda what huge fins and 86-year-old retirees are to Cadillac—they’re the elements that made those companies both famous and successful. While Honda has spent the last decade and a half creating SUVs, a pick-up truck and larger versions of its bread-and-butter sedans, it has never lost sight of why it became popular in the first place: small, fuel-efficient cars.

Just as it capitalized on the 1970s gas shortage, Honda has enjoyed sky-high sales this year as people evacuate their large SUVs and sedans. And joining its mpg soirée is the Fit, a five-door hatchback that’s the epitome of everything Honda has done well over the years: peppy four banger, fun handling, top-notch build quality, loads of standard features and interior packaging that squeezes every available millimeter from the car’s diminutive body. Starting at $13,850 and topping out around $16,000, the Fit is also a bargain considering how many ways it shines. It’s hard to remember such an inexpensive car being so desirable.

Most people remember four-cylinder economy cars to be ratty-sounding and glacial, with 0-60 acceleration times in the range of 18 seconds to “not bloody likely.” It was the trade-off for high mpg and low prices. The Fit destroys that notion, then backs over it a few times for good measure. Attached to a slick 5-speed manual gearbox, the 109-horsepower inline-four feels much quicker than its 8.7-second 0-60 time suggests, and the power shows up early, unlike in other Honda motors. Cramming three friends into the back might retard its progress a smidge, but otherwise this free-revving little engine always felt eager to zip up to speed.

Rounding out the Fit’s performance resume is go-kart handling that would be at home in a small roadster. Its responsive steering isn’t quite up to Mini Cooper levels, but considering the Honda’s power-to-weight advantage, it certainly could give the little Brit a run for its money. The ride is taut without being jarring, feeling comfortable on the highway and around town.

Honda is famous for getting the most interior space out of its vehicles and the Fit is perhaps its crowning achievement. By relocating the gas tank under the front seats, the trunk floor is low and the split back seat folds flat creating a maximum cargo capacity of 42 cubic feet. As a bonus, the back seat’s bottom cushion flips up creating a 50-inch corridor for taller items to stand up-right—such as the alpaca displayed on Honda’s website. While bizarre livestock will enjoy the roomy interior, so will normal-sized humans—although taller specimens will find the driver’s seat lacks enough leg room. Just because a car is small doesn’t mean it will be driven by smaller people. More seat travel or the ability to boost up the seat’s front would correct one of the Fit’s few flaws.

Our test car was a Sport model, which adds larger wheels, cruise control, keyless entry and an upgraded stereo with iPod auxiliary jack. All controls fall readily at hand with large buttons and dials for the radio and A/C. The gauges are electroluminescent and look expensive, as if boosted from an Acura twice its price.

There really isn’t much to complain about the Fit other than rear styling that unfortunately evokes the original Honda Odyssey minivan. A homely butt is easy to forgive, though, when the Fit delivers in almost every area you could ask of it. Not only will it sip gas at a rate that would make Exxon nervous, it also throws in go-kart handling and a spacious, versatile cabin decked out in top-notch materials to boot. There’s never been a better time to get Fit.

Read a review of the 2009 Honda Fit Sport

Warranty/Service: 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty; 5-year/60,000 powertrain warranty.

Base Price: $13,850 /As tested: $15,720

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door hatchback

Engine:1.5-liter inline-4
Horsepower: 109 bhp @ 5800 rpm
Torque: 105 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual

Curb weight: 2,432 lbs
Wheelbase: 96.5 in
Length/Width/Height: 157.4/66.2/60 in
Turning circle: 34.3 ft

Brakes: front disc, rear drum with ABS
independent in front, semi-independent in rear

Safety: front airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags

0-60 mph: 8.7 seconds
Top Speed: 114 mph

EPA City: 33 mpg
EPA Highway: 38 mpg

Likes: versatile interior; surprising pick-up; go-kart handling; feature content

Dislikes: homely rear styling; poor front seat leg room

Check out other Honda models
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(Updated: 12/15/11 NW)

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