Honda is introducing an all-new redesigned version of its highly successful subcompact car, the Fit. Already on sale in Japan, as well as other places around the world, the 2009 model will make its American debut at the New York Auto Show later this week. It is expected to show up in dealerships in April.

Known elsewhere as the Jazz, the new Honda Fit will feature an expanded platform with a longer wheelbase than the current model. The wheelbase is extended to 98.4 inches, and the windshield is moved forward nearly 5 inches. The change will result in more interior space, particularly in terms of legroom. The cabin will also feature a clever and handy swiveling front passenger seat. For power, the new Fit will be outfitted with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 118 horsepower—about 10 hp more than the current model. The engine will be mated to a continuously variable transmission to achieve a hybrid-like 40-plus miles per gallon. The current Honda Fit has government fuel economy ratings of 28 in the city and 34 on the highway.

As for styling, the new Fit has been sculpted with sharper lines and harder angles. It looks definitively sportier than its predecessor, with a more athletic stance and a higher back-end. These changes accentuate the Fit’s personality: small and smart. Just in time for $4 gasoline.