First run cars

My 11 year old car is on its way out after years of faithful service. I don’t drive enough to really warrant a Prius–although I am still considering it–and have more or less settled on a 2009 Honda Fit. My only hesitation (other than not being a hybrid) is that it is the first run of the new version–and as far as I know it’s not just a cosmetic change vs. the 2008. I know Hondas are rock solid, but I’m cautious because I don’t know if all the kinks have been worked out yet. My brother’s Ford Contour–undoubtedly a lemon of a car–barely made it to 60k miles. I’m looking for longevity…

Anyone have any experience, good or bad, with first run models?


Buying the first year of a new model is a lot less risky than it used to be, and Honda tends to be pretty good at working out the kinks before introduction.

I was going to comment that it seems a little early for them to be changing the Fit already, but then I remembered the vehicle has been around for a while in other countries.

The first model year “work out the kinks” thing doesn’t really apply these days because most new models are made out of mostly off-the-shelf components. Every now and again you’ll see some problems with early versions of an engine or transmission, but I would guess you are correct that the FIT update is mostly cosmetic. They used to change the styling on cars every year!

I will also mention that pretty much every Honda component that winds up getting sold here gets sold in other markets for a couple of years before hand, with the exception of SUV’s and other models primarily sold in the US market. This is part of why the Japanese carmakers have such a stellar reputation-- we never got any of their flops!

I can only say it would not stop me. It might make a difference if I was looking at two cars and I considered them equal otherwise.

I think you’ll get a decent life out of a 09 Fit even if it has some teething problems. Any first-model-year problems will occur withing the warranty period anyway, so you won’t be on the hook for repairs. And since the Fit has been sold in North America for a couple years now, and overseas for some time longer, I would suspect all, or very nearly all, the kinks will have been worked out.

And to the OP: do you happen to have a bunch of pets called Eric?

GreasyJack is correct.

What appear to us as “new” Japanese designs have actually been marketed in Japan for at least a year or two, prior to being introduced to the US market. Even Europe tends to get Japan’s newest designs before we do.

The 2009 Fit will be new to us, but it will have had its possible “kinks” worked out in other markets before it arrives on our shores.

And to the OP: do you happen to have a bunch of pets called Eric?

If he does, I just hope he doesn’t know them semi-carnally!.

Comparing a Contour to a Fit is apples and oranges. Ford has a long-standing reputation for putting cars on the market before the bugs are worked out. Honda does not. I own a first-year Honda vehicle, and it has been trouble-free reliable for 11 years and counting.

I would not hesitate one second to buy a first-year vehicle from either Honda or Toyota. I might even consider Hyundai, since they have improved so much.

I’ve used this moniker on several sites and you are the first community to pick up on the Monty Python reference! I am impressed.
Thanks for everyone’s input. The 09 fit has a new engine and I think a new transmission…but they are Honda parts in the end. I’m looking for something with solid gas mileage, hatch back and four doors. Plus Japanese–I’m only getting rid of my Nissan because because it’s been hit several times this past year and the insurance money is better used for a new one. (none of the accidents were my fault) The Yaris lift back looks good but is only 2 doors. The 4 door hatchback available outside of the US suits my needs as well.

Agree; US manufacturers use customers as debugging staff; I would never buy a first year car fron a US manufacturer. Consumer Reports is arch-conservative, and does not even recommend the new “unproven” 2009 Corolla. But it toprated the Hyundai Elantra which has only been on the market for 2 years, as well as the Honda Fit, now in its second year.

The Fit is not exactly new and has had sterling reviews from everyone. I’m considering buying one for my wife! It’s probably the best and most versatile small car you can buy. Yes, it has enough room to bring home that 60" widescreen TV, a new dishwasher or electric range!

Given what you’re looking for, a Fit is an excellent, well, fit. Other options include the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe, but from what I’ve heard, the Fit is better.

And the reason we get the Monty Python reference is because we’re smarter and more cultured… or maybe we’ve been said “Ni!” to too many times…

Comparing a Contour to a Fit is apples and oranges. Ford has a long-standing reputation for putting cars on the market before the bugs are worked out.

The first year of the Ford Escape there were something like 10 safety recalls. There were more safety recalls in that truck then all the Japanese manufacturers SUV’s COMBINED.

Honda has historically had a shorter development cycle cycle than the tradition US manufacturers. This means that they can do more testing before releasing the car as part of their development program than some other manufacturers; it leads to fewer new model problems.

Some time back I Googled the safety recall and dealer service bulletins. At that time, Lexus had 4 bulletins and no safety/recall bulletins and the Ford Taurus had 152 dealer notifications!! No wonder the dealer’s service department is often stumped as to what to do.

Japanese companies tend to do it right the first time.

Many years ago just before Chryco came out with the Intrepid there were a few interesting articles in Popular Mechanics and other Mags about how Chryco was engineering a totally new process in designing cars. This new breakthrough was going to revolutionize the car manufacturing process. They were spending a lot more time in up front cad design and simulations so when the car was finally manufactured all the bugs will be worked out and the final result will be a car unsurpassed in quality…well we all know how that turned out. It might have been a revolution for Chryco…but the quality was still far far behind mid size vehicles by Honda, Toyota and Nissan. I think it was a GREAT idea…but the up front cost was too much. The stock-holders wanted to see a product instead of a design. So many of the GREAT INNOVATIONS were skipped…so typical.

I looked at a Matrix too but found the MPG…and potential MPG pretty low. The 2008 Fit was fun to drive and very responsive in a stick plus has great cargo potential. The only thing I liked better about the Matrix was an AWD option–which comes in handy if you run into the Black Night in a muddy forest and need to get away before he bites my legs off. I’d gladly sacrifice a couple of MPG to get AWD in a Fit…but just don’t feel it’s an even trade going so far down in MPG with Fit vs. Matrix.