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2009 Honda Fit

I just bought a 2009 Honda Fit Sport without navigation. (There wasn’t a model with navigation immediately available, and I thought the wait and extra cost weren’t worth it for a feature you can get elsewhere. Needed a new car quickly because my old one wouldn’t pass inspection.) I’ve since learned that the navigation models also come with Vehicle Stability Assist (Honda’s ESC), which certainly would have been nice to have. I love everything else about the Fit, but could someone reassure me that it’s a safe car even without the VSA?

I put VSA/ESC in the ‘nice to have’ category, but not ‘gotta have’, like side airbags.

The Highway Loss Data Institute ( rates the 2009 Fit with VSA as the saftest minicar. Their crash ratings are identical for any Fit, with or without VSA. The Fit is too new to have a HLDI insurnace loss rating yet, so you have to compare it’s crash rating scores to the other cars in the group: Hyundai Accent, Mini Cooper, and Toyota Yaris. Results for 2005 - 2007 are avialable at The Mini is best, followed by the Yaris and then Accent and the Fit is equal to or better than any of them in the front and side crash tests. It should be safer than any minicar. However, you are more likely to sustain personal injury in a minicar as a group than any larger car group. Given that you want a minicar, you did as well as you could.

I think that you are over-thinking this issue. The chance that you will be in a car accident is extremely small unless you drive like a maniac. Given your safety concern, I’m sure you drive gently and defensively. You’ll be just fine.

If the only way you can get VSA is packaged with an expensive Nav. device then Honda is just getting you hooked into more expense. You’ll be fine without it. Small cars are not nearly as unstable as large SUV’s with a high center of gravity. Be reassured you have a safe car.

It depends on where you live and what kind of driving you do. If you live in the Great White Tundra, I would want it. If you live in a city where the roads get plowed regularly, and you have good snow tires, or if you live in the South, you should be fine.

Generally, VSA is good to have in low traction conditions, but if you are a safe driver, you will be fine. The most important factor in safety is how the driver operates the car.

On a car this small and light, I don’t think VSA is a necessity in most climates.

Thanks for the feedback, all! We do get some snow in the winter here in Charleston, WV, but I’m a pretty cautious driver and don’t drive when it snows unless I have to. And they plow well around here, anyway. I got it knowing that subcompacts are inherently more vulnerable in crashes than larger cars, and it definitely handles a lot better than my old Jeep Liberty. It’s a really fun little car to drive. Thanks again for the reassurance!

I hope you buy good winter tires for the car. With a car this light, you can really benefit from increased winter traction.

Yep – I’ve been planning to. Seems like a worthwhile investment.

Reassure Safety? No Can Do. These Teeny Cars Are Safe As Long As You’re Not In A Collision!

I’m glad that you stated, "I got it knowing that subcompacts are inherently more vulnerable in crashes than larger cars, . . . ". These cars appear to be safe when one looks at “barrier crash test” results, but in the real world, not so much. Even colliding with a medium size car results in serious injuries to occupants in a mini car and colliding with a large car, truck, or SUV would produce . . . You get the picture.

I would never allow my family members to ride in a Honda Fit, Smart, Yaris, etcetera, even to go around the block, especially in poor weather conditions. We have none of
these on the road near me and it’s a good thing because there are mostly large cars, trucks, and SUVs.

Since you didn’t investigate this car thoroughly prior to purchase and didn’t get options you wanted, then you have an “out”. I’d sell this vehicle right away and get something safer that you don’t have to worry about. That’s why you asked, “
I love everything else about the Fit, but could someone reassure me that it’s a safe car even without the VSA?
”, correct? You’re concerned for your safety. That’s understandable.

Sorry, but nobody can honestly assure your safety in this little car. My wife and my I both have personally been in unavoidable collisions, while legally stopped and am thankful to this day that we were in large, safe vehicles. We weren’t injured, although the cars were totalled.

One link of many on this topic:


P.S. Sorry, but traction control or fancy tires won’t make this car safe. There’s just not enough car there!

Congratulations. The Fit Sport is the better version of a very good small car.

People drove for decades without stability control systems. Drive sensibly, especially when the road is slippery, and you will be fine.

“My wife and my I both have personally been in unavoidable collisions, while legally stopped and am thankful to this day that we were in large, safe vehicles. We weren’t injured, although the cars were totalled.”

I want to echo what CSA said.
Last year, I was riding with my friend in his '01 Accord. We were about to exit from a gas station when a crazed woman in a Lexus SUV broadsided us while we were still on the gas station property!
In their accident reconstruction, the police estimated that she was driving between 35 & 40 mph when she broadsided us.

The force of the impact spun the Accord around and we actually wound up partially in the right lane of very heavily traveled US Rt. 1 in Central NJ. While the car was totaled, neither of us sustained any injuries.

I am very sure that the passengers in a Honda Fit, or a Yaris, or a Versa would not have fared as well. And, I am even more sure that a Smart car (what a name!) would have become airborne and landed squarely in the “fast” lane of Rt. 1, directly in the path of the trucks that were speeding through the area at the time of the accident. While a Smart car supposedly has a very rigid passenger cage, I don’t think that anyone would want to be in one of them in the circumstances that I just described.

While a Fit, Yaris, Versa, Accent, etc would undoubtedly fare better than a Smart, they clearly do not offer as much passenger protection as a larger vehicle.

Incidentally, I say that this woman was crazed because she had just rear-ended a Ford Escape about 1/8 of a mile before she hit us, then continued merrily on her way, barreled onto the property of the Shell gas station, and broadsided us. She told the cops, “The harder I pressed the brake, the faster the truck went”. The forensic examination of her Lexus revealed that the brakes were in perfect working order. Okay, she might just have been too stupid to know the difference between the brake and the gas pedals, rather than being crazy.

If you can find them, get some steel rims to mount those winter tires to so you don’t have to worry about taking the tires on and off each time.

The Fit is a safe car as compared to other small cars in its category. It’s not very safe when compared to other larger vehicles.

Google Honda Fit crash test. There’s a IIHS head-on test of a 09 Honda Fit V. a 09 Honda accord. The Accord literally drove through the Fit. Actually, here you go:

Thankfully the chances of a crash like that are small. Drive defensively.

I guess the Fit really IS safer than other small cars. Check out the Yaris in the same type of test:


CSA, to me, this kind of reads like a “chicken and the egg” scenario. If we all bought lighter cars (not necessarily smaller), we would all be safer. If some of us make decisions based on fear, we make the roads less safe for everyone else. If we could all move past the “mine is bigger than yours” mentality, the roads would be safer for everybody. I admire the OP for driving a small light weight car and not letting fear dictate her choices. That takes real fortitude.

Commercial trucks are involved in about 2% of the collisions nationwide, and most of those are not the fault of the professional drivers, so let’s leave commercial trucks out of the equation since you have about as much chance of one killing you as being struck by lightning.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not talking about letting government make these choices for you. I think the market and high fuel prices will make it happen naturally. However, when it happens, I don’t think you will have much to fear. Safety equipment will continue to improve, and the weight of the average vehicle will be less than it is now.

[b]I Agree With Most Of What You Have To Say.[/b]

All small vehicles on the road would do more to “equalize” collisions. I’ll take your word for the commercial truck involvement. Safety equipment is definitely improving by leaps and bounds and will someday probably make all vehicles very safe in collisions. I certainly cannot even imagine the technology that will make this happen.

Having been struck by vehicles while legally stopped cause my wife and I to have a skeptical view of little cars. I was struck while stopped at an open draw-bridge by a vehicle that didn’t brake, driven by a woman talking to her mother, travelling at about 45 mph.

My wife was struck by a “2%” vehicle, a large loaded dump truck, the type with a high, large over-hanging front-end. My wife was stopped at a small factory cross-walk, where workers were crossing the street. I know that my wife and child passenger would not have escaped unharmed if they had not been in a large, long car. The over-hanging truck front-end took out the car’s rear window.

By the way we noticed that a few weeks follwing this collision, the driver and truck were involved in another collision. The driver entered a local curve too fast, could hold the curve, crossed the center line and a motorist coming the other way in a small car died in a firey crash.

Our family has boats, sea-doos, and a utility trailer. We haul loads of kids and equipment to soccer, track, basketball, golf, etcetera. I can’t imagine any use we would have for a little car, even if they were safe.

The real problem is that until all the vehicles become safe, I for one am going with the “mine is bigger than yours” mentality. I am not ashamed or embarrassed by my decision, rather just the opposite, I have the resposibility to my family to keep them safe and I need to be around also, to make it happen.

Another thing, we have no asian car or German car dealers with a few hour’s drive from here. Most vehicles we see are large domestic cars, SUVs, and pick-ups. My point is that although only 2% commercial vehicles are involved in crashes, we have “non-commercial” large, heavy vehicles in more like the 50% range, here. We did an impromtu survey at a local parking lot and this is not an exageration. I believe there are pick-ups and SUVs everywhere. We have horendous winters and lots of independent contractors (no major industries) in our resort area economy, to help explain our vehicle mix.

I can’t honestly tell somebody in a little car that they are safe enough. Had we been in little cars over the years, our family would no doubt be different than it is now, and not on a happy note.

It will be years before little cars can pull trailers, haul sports teams and equipment, and provide large-car safety. These little cars are great fun, delivering great MPG and leaving a bitty “carbon footprint”, right up until the occupants are toast in a collision. At that point all the cuteness and savings go out the window.

These cars look good on paper, but are not practical. To think that by driving carefully one can avoid collisions is foolish. Skillful, careful drivers can keep collisions to a minimum for years, but all it takes is for one other idiot to spoil things.

Even should one not have a collision or be injured in a little car, there’s that nagging feeling that one should have when traveling in heavy traffic or in inclement weather, like when one travels in reduced visibility. A little car would make me extremely home-sick. I don’t want to go around worrying about my safety or that of my family. That’s my opinion on small cars.


When I look to see “if a vehicle is safe” I look to see if it has design errors not design add ons.

E-class vs Smart 42

Explorer broadsides a Focus