Autopsy of a defeat
The 2009 Honda Fit does not look quite like the model that was introduced back in 2007. But while the overall design has considerably evolved (jewel-like headlights, sculpted hood, exaggerated roofline, smaller rear window, new dashboard, etc.), the formula is the same. The Fit is still a great example of efficiency in terms of space and performance.
Under the hood is a revised version of Honda's fuel-thrifty, 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine. The 117 horsepower (+6) are sent to the front wheels through a precise-shifting, 5-speed manual transmission or a very flexible 5-speed autobox.
A couple of noteworthy additions can be found inside, like standard climate control in DX-A trim and above, a new fuel consumption display (which is always nice to have in these days of volatile gas prices), a tilt AND telescopic steering wheel as well as a dead pedal.
Yet, despite all the good things that have been said about this car, it didn't even win the award for "Best New Small Car (over $18K)" from the Automobile Jounalists Association of Canada (AJAC).
During the AJAC's annual TestFest, which was held last October in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, the new Pontiac Vibe got the most points, followed by its twin cousin, the Toyota Matrix. At 678 points, the latter finished 3 points ahead of the Honda Fit.
The Vibe? Really?
It has to be said, however, that manufacturers cannot enter more than one trim level for each car in the competition. Therefore, they have to make strategic choices and enter the model that gives them the best chance of winning.
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