Subcompact car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door hatchback
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $7,500 – $10,800*


2008 Honda Fit


2008 Honda Fit


2008 Honda Fit

Pros:
  • Cargo room
  • Fuel economy
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Acceleration
  • Noise
  • Ride

Given the tiny footprint it places upon the road, Fit is likely the most space-efficient vehicle on sale in the United States. Though pricier than class rivals, Fit also offers an enviable blend of fuel economy and driving pleasure. Sure, a little more money could buy a more substantial-feeling car, including Honda’s own Civic, Mazda 3, or Hyundai Elantra. But you’ll be hard pressed to match Fit’s blend of thrift, clever packaging, standard safety features, spry road manners, and Honda pedigree. Cabin materials fall short of what we’ve come to expect from Honda, but this frugal subcompact still earns our Recommended honor.

Overview

Serving as Honda’s new entry-level model, this subcompact four-door, five-passenger hatchback wagon slotted below the compact Civic. Even though the front-drive Fit was 19.3 inches shorter overall than the Civic sedan, it had nearly equal passenger space and offered more cargo room. Base and Sport versions were offered, both with a 109-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission was standard, and a five-speed automatic was optional. Sport models with automatic included manual-shift steering-wheel paddles.

Antilock braking, front side airbags, and curtain side airbags were standard. Every Fit had air conditioning, power windows and locks, and power mirrors. Exclusive to Sports were fog lamps, remote entry, cruise control, and a 200-watt audio system with digital media connection. Sport models also had 15-inch alloy wheels rather than the regular 14s, plus a roofline rear spoiler and an underbody kit.

Mounting the Fit’s fuel tank near the center of the vehicle permitted a lower cargo floor. Rear seat cushions flipped vertically to create space for bulky cargo behind the front seats and also folded down along with the seatbacks to make a flat load floor. This 60/40 split “Magic Seat” offered a total of five configurations. Competitors to the Fit included the larger Ford Focus, as well as the subcompact Nissan Versa, Hyundai Accent, and Suzuki SX4.

Yearly Updates

2008 Fit
Except for two new colors and a standard tire-pressure monitor, changes were few for 2008. Again, Fit Sport models included larger alloy wheels and a 200-watt six-speaker audio system, as well as a full body aero kit and a roofline spoiler.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

In each Fit, Honda’s 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 109 horsepower, driving either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. Sport models with automatic have steering-wheel paddles for manually-selected gear changes.

ohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.5/91
Engine HP 109
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 105
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
5-speed automatic
28/34
27/34
31.9
28.7

1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

Acceleration is adequate around town, but the Fit’s engine is slow to gather speed. So, highway on-ramps and most passing maneuvers demand judgment and often require foot-to-the-floor throttle application. Assertive use of the smooth-shifting manual transmission results in adequate acceleration for most situations. A Fit feels notably lazier with automatic: One test automatic Sport model took a lengthy 11.4 seconds to reach 60 mph. Automatic on Sport models does have handy steering-column shift paddles that help get the most from the engine.

Fuel economy is a big bonus. An extended-use test manual-transmission Sport averaged 31.9 mpg. Another manual-shift Sport averaged 35.6 mpg with slightly less highway driving. Automatic-transmission Sports have averaged 28.7 mpg in a mix of city/highway driving, and 38.4 mpg in a test that included mostly highway use. Fits use regular-grade fuel.

Ride comfort could be better. A Fit is not harsh over bumps, but tires thump on potholes and sharp ridges. Plenty of abrupt vertical motions occur if surfaces are not glass-smooth. The hatchback wagon design invites cargo hauling, but loading a test example with some 300 pounds of groceries and household items caused pronounced tail sag.

Fits score better in handling, qualifying as agile-even fun-in low- to moderate-speed driving. Body lean increases with cornering speed, however, and tight, fast turns trigger noseplow. Fits are stable up to 70 mph, but can wander in gusty crosswinds and on grooved pavement. Some test-drivers would have preferred heavier steering feel. Stopping ability is good, but one test Fit’s brakes reacted abruptly with just a little pedal movement.

Fits aren’t as quiet as some subcompacts. The engine is loud at full throttle and maintains its presence at cruising speeds, though sounds are slightly less prominent with a manual transmission. Wind noise is not intrusive, but tire thrum is a constant on most surfaces.

Gauges sit in deep coves, and can be hard to read in some daylight conditions. The Fit’s well-organized dashboard puts simple, smartly designed controls close at hand. Testers have been divided on relative quality of cabin materials. Most of them cited an abundance of hard plastic surfaces, thin carpeting, synthetic fabrics, and (in one model tested) a few uneven panel gaps as unacceptable even at Fit’s entry-level positioning. Others have maintained that the interior is nice for the price, with a pleasing mixture of textures and colors.

Adult-size roominess is the rule up front, though seat cushions are a bit skimpy for larger folks. The driver sits slightly higher than in most other compact cars-a significant plus. Yet, the driving position is awkward, because pedals are mounted close and the steering wheel is far away. Windshield pillars impede vision to the corners, though visibility is good otherwise.

Rear-seat space is impressive for this car’s small exterior dimensions, with good head clearance. Legs and feet get decent room, and six-footers can ride in tandem without undue cramping. Reclining seatbacks are a nice touch, but some testers have criticized overall seat comfort. As in front, upright styling eases entry/exit.

The split rear seat folds easily, creating a wagon-like load floor and expanding the usefully-shaped cargo hold from 21.3 cubic feet to 41.9-generous for this class. Flip-up rear-seat cushions make room for side-door loading of objects too tall for the main cargo bay. Seats can also be arranged to carry items up to 7 feet long. Fits also offer ample small-items storage.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Fit Sport w/automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 8
80%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 7
70%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 53

Specifications

4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
96.5 157.4 66.2 60.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
41.9 10.8 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.6 38.6 41.9 33.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Fit 4-door hatchback

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 3
60%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Seat
Description: The passenger seat may not move fore and aft because the cable comes off. (2007)
None
Description: Using the engine block heater in cold weather can confuse the powertrain control module when it compares the intake air temperature to the engine temperature, requiring reprogramming the computer. (2007)

Recall History

2007
Description: Owner manual may contain incorrect contact information for NHTSA.
2007-08 Fits sold in specific states
Description: In areas where road salt is used, wire harness for occupant detection systems could be subject to corrosion and consequent breakage, causing supplemental restraint system indicator light to illuminate.
2007-08
Description: Dealers will inspect and replace the wire harness. This recall affects vehicles originally sold in or currently registered in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. The wiring harness for the occupant detection system (ODS) and the occupant position detection system (OPDS) is routed underneath the carpet on the driver-side floorboard, and can corrode if exposed to road salt and snow from the driver’s shoes in winter. A broken wire in the harness would not send a signal to the ODS and OPDS indicating the presence of a child seat, small or out-of-position occupants. The passenger’s frontal and side airbags may not be suppressed in the event of a crash, and increasing risk of injury to small or out-of-position occupants.
2007-08
Description: Under severe condition, water may enter the driver’s window and reach the master power-window switch. If the master power window switch is damaged as a result of the water intrusion, overheating and failure of the switch may result. An overheating switch can cause smoke, melting and fire. Dealers will inspect the switch and install a cover around the switch housing to prevent water from entering the switch.
2007-08 Fit
Description: Due to an error during installation of the wiring harness for the combination switch that controls low head beam function, the wires for the lower beam circuit were pulled tighter than intended. After repeated use of the headlight switch the low beam headlights can become inoperative decreasing the driver’s visibility as well as the vehicle’s visibility to other drivers, increasing the risk of a crash.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.