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The Honda City is a subcompact car manufactured by the Japanesemarker manufacturer Honda since 1981 for the Asian market.

Since 2002, the City is also known as the Honda Fit Aria. It is a subcompact sedan that uses Honda's Global Small Car platform, which is also used by the Fit/Jazz (a five-door hatchback), the Airwave (a wagon version of the Fit Aria/City), the Mobilio, and the Mobilio Spike. One of the characteristics shared by the Fit/Jazz, City/Fit Aria, and Airwave, is the location of the fuel tank. Rather than placing it under the rear seats, it is located under the front seats, thereby freeing up valuable room in the back.

First generation (1981-1986)

Honda City AA
The first Honda City was made in 1981. It was innovative due to its tall seating arrangement, creating comparable legroom to a car many times its size. Produced as a 3-door hatchback and 2-door cabriolet in many trim levels, it proved a popular car on the Japanese market. Options for the City included a turbocharged Honda ER engine that displaced 1,237cc (one of the few Honda models to be turbocharged)(Pro-T, Aus), and - unique to the City - a 50cc 'foldaway' scooter, designed to fit in the City's small luggage area.

Exports of the City were primarily to Europe (where it was renamed Honda Jazz, due to Opel using the City name on the Kadett hatchback), Australia (in two seater 'van' form, to circumvent Australian import restrictions on passenger vehicles at the time) and New Zealandmarker (where it was locally assembled).

Second generation (1986-1994)

A 1988 GA2 Honda City.

Honda replaced the original City in 1986 (designated GA1), with an update in 1989 (GA2). This model was produced until 1994. The Fit name also first appeared as a trim variant of the City. There was no convertible model. In most European and Australasian markets, the City's market position was filled by the Honda Logo in 1999.

Third generation (1996-2002)

A face-lifted third-generation Honda City
The third-generation Honda City, codenamed SX8, was based on the EF Civic platform. It was designed for and sold in the South East Asian market only.

This City is still a subcompact slotting beneath the Honda Civic, but a four-door sedan model instead for developing markets in Asia, and was built in Pakistanmarker, Thailandmarker, Malaysiamarker, Indonesiamarker, Philippinesmarker and Indiamarker.A revised, face-lifted third-generation City was released in 2000, and included a model powered by Honda's 1.5 L VTEC engines.

The third generation city had the D-series engines, namely variations of the D13B and D15B.The D15B was reduced in power for the Asian markets where the car was marketed, but had a excellent power to weight ratio. The kerb weight of the car was 985 kg, and the output of the D15B was . The car had an impressive 0-100kph time of around 10 seconds.

The car had a sporty suspension set-up. It was one or the rare sub-compacts with fully independent rear suspension (dropped in the later models due to its high cost) which allowed for greater feedback and enhanced handling.

Fourth generation (2002-2008)

Philippine Market Honda City.

In November 2002, the fourth generation City was released and included a four-wheel drive version. Like the contemporary Honda Jazz, the Jazz is actually a rebadged Honda Fit, in the City's case a rebadged Fit Aria.

In September 2005, a face-lifted version of the City was launched in Thailandmarker, Malaysiamarker in October 2005, and Indonesiamarker in November 2005; it is known as the City ZX in Thailand, India, the New City in Indonesia and Malaysia, and City in Singapore and Pakistan. The most significant changes are a new exterior (new front grille, new headlamps, new fog lights, new taillights and bumpers). The front end has been extended forward by while the rear has been extended by . The side mirror is electronically foldable. Both the i-DSI and VTEC trim levels have alloy wheels as standard equipment. Interior changes are minor but it does include an armrest for the driver and additional map lights.

The engine remains the same but the intake manifold has been modified, resulting a 10% temperature drop in the intake air temperature (IAT), the suspension has been upgraded as well.

Honda City in Thailandmarker, Indonesiamarker, Philippinesmarker, Pakistanmarker, Singaporemarker and Malaysiamarker are using CVT gearbox for both i-DSI and VTEC variants. The CVT gearbox simulates a 7-Speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic style override using paddle shift buttons. This is very rare for a subcompact of its class.

Fifth generation (2008–present)

The new Honda City was unveiled in Bangkok, Thailand at Siam Paragon on the 10th of September 2008 followed by New Delhi, India on 25 September 2008. and January 2009 in Pakistan and Indonesia. Honda also announced that the City will be offered in selected European countries with a 1.4 liter i-VTEC engine mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed i-SHIFT automated manual transmission.

Guangzhou Honda will be developing a Honda Civic-sized sedan based on the Honda City chassis for the Chinese market. It will have a new name and a new shape but will use the City's underpinings and a 1.8 liter engine. This new car will compete against Dongfeng Honda's Civic and FAW Toyota's Corolla.

The Thai market Honda City comes in three variants - S model, V Model and SV model. The Indonesian market was offered with two trims, the lower-spec S and the higher-spec E with reclining seats. Both are powered by a 1.5 engine putting out 120 bhp, and both are available in manual and automatic transmissions.

Honda launched the new City in the Philippines on the 7th of January 2009 with four variants; the 1.3 A with manual transmission, 1.3 S with manual and automatic transmissions and the 1.5 E, whose automatic gearbox is equipped with paddle shifts that promote more sporty driving enjoyment. All variants are now equipped with a SOHC, 16-valve i-VTEC engines, creating an all-i-VTEC roster for Honda Cars this year. As a result, drivers need not to worry about the lack of horsepower.

It will be launched in Malaysia on the 18th of December 2008. It is scheduled to arrive in Singapore by the end of September. Honda launched the new city in Pakistan on 31 January 2009. It being produced at Honda plant at Lahore and is available in two variants, 5 speed automatic transmission and 5 speed manual transmission. Both models have a 1.3 liter i-VTEC engine.

Guangzhou Honda will be selling the Honda City in China from the 12th of December 2008 onwards. Unlike other markets where the largest engine option is a 1.5 liter, the Chinese market Honda City will have an R18A 1.8 liter engine option.

In February 2009, Honda Australia have released the Thai made City into the Australian market in two 1.5 litre variants (VTi and VTi-L). According to Honda Australia boss, Yasuhide Mizuno, the City will compete with other light sedans such as the Japanese made Toyota Yaris sedan, Korean made Holden Barina and the Thai made Nissan Tiida. This will be the first City released in Australia since the 1980s. It will replace the market position used to be occupied by a former generation smaller-sized Civic.

For the first time, the car is built and sold outside Asia, being made in Sumaré, Brazil since August 2009. There are three trim options (LX, EX and EXL), all of them with the i-VTEC 1.5-liter flex-fuel engine that is shared with the Brazilian Fit. The power output is 115 hp with petrol and 116 hp using ethanol. Manual and automatic gearboxes are available.

This Honda City is also present in India with the engine of the 1.5 i-VTEC. This car is in two variants : namely S MT which is manual gear and the S AT which is the automatic version.


The music group Madness appeared in a Japanese TV ad campaign for the Honda City. The jingle was written by the entire band, which also appeared in the TV ad, doing its famous "nutty walk". The band apparently liked the jingle so much that they expanded it into a three minute pop song and released it as a b-side (B/W "Cardiac Arrest") that reached #14 in the UK charts. It was also included on Complete Madness, the band's best-selling greatest hits compilation from 1982. The track version of "In The City" replaced the repeated brand name "Honda Honda Honda..." with the more generic "doomba doomba doomba". The TV advertisements were included (though not listed) on the Divine Madness VHS video in 1992.


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