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http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Features/articleId=109580

Employing a simple, but uniquely Honda-like, grille and bulbous headlight design inspired by the S2000, the Fit offers best-in-class interior space, on-road performance more like a sports sedan than a minivan and above all, mileage topping 33 mpg (city mode).

Dropped onto a newly developed "global small platform," the technical highlight of this "big" small car is its centrally located fuel tank. Positioned right under the front seats and nestled between the reinforced side members, the 10.8-gallon tank configuration gave designers the chance to pen a flat floor, thus opening up substantial legroom and headroom in addition to a sizable luggage area. Although it's only 157.4 inches long, 66.2 inches wide, 60.0 inches tall and sits on a 96.5-inch wheelbase, the Fit feels as spacious as a minivan one size larger.

The Fit doesn't just seat four adults in comfort; it actually offers minivan-like cabin height and 41.9 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats down. And its numerous seating configurations give you the ability to carry three adults and a 7-foot surfboard — at the same time. It might be packaged like a mini-minivan, but it handles corners like a sports sedan.

The Fit is powered by the latest in Honda's new generation of compact, lightweight i-series engines. The 1.5-liter four-cylinder VTEC produces 109 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 105 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Married to a five-speed manual transmission, the low-vibration front-drive unit delivers strong power and torque response from low down in the rev range right up to the 6,500-rpm redline — surprisingly low for a Honda. The torque curve is flatter than most rivals and comes on power like a much larger engine. To add to the thrill factor, Honda is offering steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters on the automatic. Obviously, the manual extracts the most performance out of this engine, with its tightly spaced ratios and short-stroke gearshift, but the auto's paddles and unexpectedly quick gearchanges make you feel like an Indy driver, and in a minivan!

So the Fit's VTEC power unit might not be as dramatic as that of the Civic Type-R or NSX, but the little hatch's gearbox ratios are superbly matched to its 1.5-liter's torque curve, thus delivering surprisingly quick acceleration.

But it's not just the well-balanced, fuel-efficient engine and transmissions that enhance the Fit driving experience. A quantum leap in chassis and suspension rigidity takes the Honda into a league of its own in the handling department. One minute of driving is all that is needed to realize just how rigid this minicar is. You soon find yourself leaning into the next corner a little quicker. With bend rigidity jumping 210 percent and twist rigidity up 116 percent, the car feels planted to the road. Completing the Fit's underpinnings in a very un-minivan-like style are MacPherson struts and coil springs up front, an H-pattern torsion beam setup at the rear and side-force-canceling springs — which work to counter body roll.

The speed-sensitive electric power steering is well weighted, if a little heavy, and could do with a touch more natural feedback from the road. Ride quality is stiff but compliant enough for U.S. roads.

The end result is that you can throw the Fit into corners at speeds you shouldn't be able to. Choose your line and enter a corner at 50 mph, and the Fit traces the arc with perfect balance, with just the slightest hint of understeer.

Honda has also incorporated its G-CON high-integrity body frame, which passes the world's most stringent crash standards, including 40-mph offset, 35-mph side impact, and 31-mph rear-collision absorption. Dual front and side-impact airbags, antilock brakes and Electronic Brake Distribution with brake assist have all been fitted as standard equipment.

On the earth-friendly side, HC and NOx emissions have been reduced by 50 percent and more than 90 percent of the Fit is recyclable.
 

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AlSi said:
The end result is that you can throw the Fit into corners at speeds you shouldn't be able to. Choose your line and enter a corner at 50 mph, and the Fit traces the arc with perfect balance, with just the slightest hint of understeer
I can attest to that statement, the little car is extremely rigid for its class... I once tried catching a corner at around 50 mph on a Korean car, I can friggin see the chassis wrapped and moved around the corner! Okay, it's a city car with 1.1L of engine but please... With my Jazz however, I can take the corner with confidence and some more.
 
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