So I got new tires for my Fit today. Wow. What a difference. I knew philosophically that tires are important to many aspects of car performance, but I guess I never quite realized the general shittiness of Honda's OEM Dunlops. I called Costco a week ago to see what they had, and the choice was between Bridgestone Ecopias and Michelin Pilot Sports. Obviously my heart wanted the Michelins, but my brain ultimately prevailed on the grounds that the Ecopias were cheaper and that Pilot Sports would be of limited usefulness on the gutless wonder that is the Fit.
Strangely enough, in all my years of driving, this is the first time that I've actually had to replace all four tires on my car. My old '96 Civic needed it about the time that I traded it in, but there were so many other things wrong with the car at 14 years old, that it didn't seem wise to spend the money on tires. This time though, after about 29,000 on the OEMs, they were down to the wear bars, and I'd been nursing a patched flat on my left rear for the past 5000 miles until I could afford new rubber.
The general review so far, after about 30 miles of driving on the new shoes, is surprisingly excellent. I was hesitant to go with the Ecopias because I was worried that the whole "low rolling resistance" thing would severely compromise handling. I couldn't have been more wrong. The car has handled better than it ever has before, sticking to the corners (that I've been actively seeking out) like glue. Acceleration and braking are also significantly improved, in both low-speed and highway settings. Perhaps some of this is just placebo due to how bad my old set had gotten, but I'll be damned if I haven't actually enjoyed my car today for the first time in a while.
PS - If you need tires and don't have facilities to do it yourself, take a serious look at Costco. The tires are a bit more than on TireRack (~5% premium), but they carry top brands (Bridgestone, Michelin, BF Goodrich), including serious performance options (Potenzas, Pilot Sports). On top of that, rotation/balancing is included FREE every 7000 miles, which more than makes up for the slight premium on pricing and for the membership fee. Oh, and if you keep them maintained and they wear out prematurely, they are warrantied for pro-rata replacement.