Honda City

Honda City
Honda City
Honda City (fifth generation)
Manufacturer Honda
Production 1981–1994
Assembly Ayutthaya, Thailand
Alor Gajah, Malaysia
Greater Noida, India
Guangzhou, China
Campana, Argentina
Lahore, Pakistan
Sumaré, Brazil
Santa Rosa, Laguna, Philippines
Adapazarı, Turkey
Class Subcompact

The Honda City is a subcompact car manufactured by the Japanese manufacturer Honda since 1981. Originally made for the Japanese, European and Australasian markets, the City was retired without replacement in 1994. The nameplate was then revived for use on a series of compact four door sedans particularly aimed at developing markets, mainly sold in Asia outside of Japan but lately also in Latin America and Australia.

From 2002 to 2008, the City was sold as the Honda Fit Aria in Japan domestic market. It is a subcompact sedan built on Honda's Global Small Car platform, which it shares with the Fit/Jazz (a five-door hatchback), the Airwave/Partner (a wagon/panel van version of the Fit Aria/City), the Mobilio, and the Mobilio Spike—all of which share the location of the fuel tank under the front seats rather than rear seats. By mid-2009, cumulative sales of the City has exceeded 1.2 million units in over 45 countries around the world since the nameplate was revived in 1996.[1]

In 2011, the City is sold as Honda Ballade in South Africa.


First generation (1981–1986)

Honda City (AA)
Body style 2-door convertible
3-door hatchback/van
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Engine 1,231 cc ER I4
Transmission 4-speed manual
5-speed manual
4+3-speed Hypershift manual
3 speed Hondamatic automatic

The first Honda City (AA for sedans, VF for vans and FA for the wider Turbo II and Cabriolets) was introduced in November 1981 with the innovative "Tallboy" design; of unusual height it enabled four adults to fit comfortably in the very short City (under 3.4 m/11.2 ft).[2] Produced as a 3-door hatchback in a variety of trim levels, the City was also available together with the Motocompo, a special 50cc 'foldaway' scooter designed to fit in the City's small luggage area.

Honda City Cabriolet

In September 1982 a turbocharged version of the 1231 cc Honda ER engine was introduced. A Pininfarina designed drop-top Cabriolet utilized the wider fenders and bigger bumpers of the Turbo II "Bulldog", but was only normally available with the naturally aspirated 67 PS (49 kW) engine. There was also a Pro-series of van versions with either two or four seats. A high-roof "R Manhattan Roof" version with a 10 cm taller roof also appeared.

Exports of the City were primarily to Europe (where it was renamed Honda Jazz, due to Opel having trademarked the City name), Australia (in two seater 'van' form, to circumvent Australian import restrictions on passenger vehicles at the time) and New Zealand (where it was locally assembled). Production ended in late 1986 with the introduction of the GA type City.

Second generation (1986–1994)

1988 Honda City (GA2)

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 markets, the City's market position was left open until filled by the Honda Logo in 1999.

Third generation (1996–2002)

Third generation (3A#)
Honda City third gen.jpg
Facelifted third generation Honda City
Also called Honda City Z
Production 1996-2002
Body style 4-door sedan
Platform 3A2/3A3
Engine 1.3 L D13B I4
1.5 L D15B I4
1.5 L D15B VTEC I4
Transmission 5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2,500 mm (98 in)
Length 4,225 mm (166 in)
Width 1,690 mm (67 in)
Height 1,395 mm (55 in)
Curb weight 940–985 kg (2,072–2,172 lb)
Related Civic EK

The third generation Honda City, codenamed SX8 but with chassis codes 3A2 (1.3) and 3A3 (1.5), was based on the EF Civic platform. It was designed for and sold in the South East Asian market only, launch with slogan "Smart for the new generation" in 1.3-liter version launch, 1.5-liter version are launch with "Top-in-class smart" slogan . First production began in an all-new plant in Ayutthaya, Thailand, in April 1996. From the beginning, these Thai Citys had more than 70% local content. The bumpers were constructed in three separate pieces to allow for easier shipping from Japan. There were originally a lower grade LXi and a higher-spec EXi available. This generation vehicle was sold in Japan alongside the Honda Domani at Honda Clio dealerships in Japan.

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 Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and India. A revised, face-lifted third-generation City was released in 2000, called the "City type Z" in some markets. By 2001 a model powered by Honda's 1.5 liter VTEC engines (VTi) appeared, featuring a rear-stabilizer for better handling. The facelift model received new front- and taillights, as well as one-piece bumpers.

The third generation city had fuel injected SOHC 16-valve D-series engines, namely variations of the D13B and D15B. The original 1.3 L (1,343 cc) D13B produced 95 PS (70 kW) at 6,400 rpm for a claimed top speed of 171 km/h (106 mph) and 0–100 km/h in 11.3 seconds.[3] This was later complemented by the 1.5 litre D15B, which was reduced in power for the Asian markets where the car was sold, but had a power-to-weight ratio superior to the competition nonetheless. The D15B engine also arrived in a version featuring VTEC, with an output of 115 PS (85 kW). The VTEC-engined City has a 0–100 km/h time of around 10 seconds.

Rear view of pre-facelift City EX
(note three-piece bumpers)

The car had a sporty suspension set-up. In many of its intended markets it was one of very few 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)

Fourth generation [GD8/GD9]
Honda City (fourth generation, second facelift) (front), Serdang.jpg
Also called Honda Fit Aria
Guangzhou-Honda City
Honda City ZX
Production 2002–2008
Assembly Ayutthaya, Thailand
Alor Gajah, Malaysia
Greater Noida, India
Guangzhou, China
Lahore, Pakistan
Santa Rosa, Laguna, Philippines
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout FF layout (GD8)
4WD layout (GD9)
Engine 1.3 L L13A i-DSI SOHC I4
1.5 L L15A2 i-DSI SOHC I4
1.5 L L15A1 VTEC SOHC I4
Transmission 5-speed manual
7-speed Multimatic CVT
Wheelbase 2,450 mm (96 in)
Length 4,390 mm (173 in)
Width 1,690 mm (67 in)
Height 1,485 mm (58.5 in)
Curb weight 1,090 kg (2,400 lb)
Related Honda Fit/Jazz
Honda Airwave

At the Thailand International Motor Expo 2002 in November 2002, the fourth generation City made its world debut, now also offered as a four-wheel drive version. It was imported from Thailand and launched as Fit Aria in Japan domestic market[4] from December 20, 2002. In the People's Republic of China, the model got the name Fit Saloon and was sold from September 2003 to the December 2008. The Honda City was initially launched with a twin-spark, lean burn ‘i-DSI’ engine producing 88ps that was primarily designed to provide outstanding fuel economy. The VTEC version of the Honda city is launched later. The VTEC trim of the Honda city is offered with 15 inch alloy rims compared to the 14 inch offered in the i-DSI. The rear brakes are solid discs instead of drums in the i-DSI. In September 2005, a face-lifted version of the City was launched in Thailand, Malaysia in October 2005, and Indonesia 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 65 mm (2.6 in) while the rear has been extended by 15 mm (0.6 in). The side mirror is electronically foldable. Both the i-DSI and VTEC trim levels have 15-inch (380 mm) alloy wheels as standard equipment. Interior changes are minor but it does include an armrest for the driver and additional map lights. The interior colour tone of the VTEC variant is now black.

The L-series engine remained but the intake manifold has been modified, resulting in a 10% temperature drop in the intake air temperature (IAT),[5] the suspension has been upgraded as well.

rear view

Honda City in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, Singapore and Malaysia uses the 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.

This model also saw limited availability in certain RHD markets outside Asia such as Egypt and GCC countries.

Fifth generation (2008–present)

Fifth generation
Honda City 5th gen face.jpg
Also called Honda Fit Aria
Guangzhou-Honda City
Honda Ballade (South Africa)
Honda City S
Production 2008–present
Assembly Ayutthaya, Thailand
Alor Gajah, Malaysia
Greater Noida, India
Guangzhou, China
Lahore, Pakistan
Campana, Argentina
Sumaré, Brazil (until 2011)
Santa Rosa, Laguna, Philippines
Adapazarı, Turkey
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout FF layout
Engine 1.3 L I4
1.5 L I4
Transmission 5-speed manual
5-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2,550 mm (100 in)
Length 4,395 mm (173.0 in)
Width 1,695 mm (66.7 in)
Height 1,470 mm (58 in)
Curb weight 1,150 kg (2,500 lb)
Related Honda Fit/Jazz
Honda Airwave
Honda Freed

The new Honda City was unveiled in Bangkok, Thailand at Siam Paragon on 10 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. Poland is among the first European countries to receive the new City.[6]

Guangzhou Honda started selling the Honda City in China from 12 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.[7]

Guangzhou Honda is also 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 R18 1.8 litre 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 PS (88 kW), and both are available in manual and automatic transmissions.

Honda City Rear

Honda launched the new City in the Philippines on 7 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 promotes a more sporty driving experience. All variants are now equipped with a SOHC, 16-valve i-VTEC L-series engines, creating an all-i-VTEC roster for Honda Cars in 2009.[8] The Thai built model will also be sold in South Africa as the "NEW" Ballade, to fit below the Civic and above the Jazz (Fit) sold there.[9]

It was launched in Malaysia on 18 December 2008.[10] It is scheduled to arrive in Singapore by the end of September. Honda launched the new City in Pakistan on 31 January 2009. It is being produced at the Honda plant in Lahore and is available in two variants; 5 speed automatic and 5 speed manual. Both models feature the 1.3 liter i-VTEC engine, producing 73 kW (98 hp) at 6,000 rpm.[11]

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's boss, Yasuhide Mizuno, the City will compete with other light sedans such as the Japanese built Toyota Yaris, the Korean-made Holden Barina and the Nissan Tiida (also Thai).[12] This will be the first City released in Australia since the 1980s. It replaces the formerly smaller-sized Civics.

In July 2009, the City was for the first time to be built and marketed (in large numbers) outside Asia, with production in Sumaré, Brazil. The car was available for sale in the Brazilian market first, with exports to Mexico and other markets in Latin America beginning from September 2009.[1][13] For 2011, there are four trim options (DX, 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 available in India with the engine of the 1.5 i-VTEC. This car is available in four variants, namely E, S, V, and the V AT (automatic). The E variant was launched recently based on customer feedback asking for changes to the interior colour and the cost. Since it was launched in November 2008, Honda City became the best selling model of the company in the country, with sales volume even surpassing that of Thailand, previously the best selling market for the City.[14] There are also two accessories packages, Elegance and Inspire. In India Honda City has been awarded as the "Car of the Year".[15] About It is reported that Honda City has been the leader in the premium mid-sized sedan segment for a decade, with 35% market share in 2010.[16]

The Honda City is sold in México with the same 1.5 litre four cylinder engine. It is sold in two trims: LX and EX both available with either an automatic or manual transmission.

Since March 2011, with the opening of a new factory, the Honda City also began to be manufactured in Argentina.[17] It is the first car built by Honda in Argentina (and the first Japanese passenger car made in Argentina) and will be exported to the all countries of South America alongside with Citys built in the Brazilian Sumaré plant.

It is sold as the Honda Ballade in South Africa from March 2011.[18]


In September 22nd, 2011, Honda Automobile (Thailand) Ltd are reveal the revamped Honda City, with new front grille design that change to glossy style, new front and rear bumpers, new taillamps design, new cloth fabric, small chromium decoration for interior, new meter design that change from orange in old models to blue in new models, new alloy wheels, eco driving indicator, dual front airbags to every models lineup and new 2 color Carnalion Red metallic and Sparking brown metallic[19] Available in 3 lineup, S are the low-end models, available in manual or automatic, have a power equipment (windows, locking and mirrors), USB radio, keyless entry, steel wheel cover, ABS and dual front airbags ; V, available with added of audio switch control, vanity mirror for driver and passenger, alloy wheels, auto door lock and top model ; SV ; available with electric retractable mirrors with side repeater lamps, electro-chromic rear mirror, height adjustable rear headrest, split fold seat, rear armrest with cup holder, tweeter speaker, 16" alloy wheels and exclusively in class of reclining rear seat [20] Honda City Models in India[21]

Honda City 1.5 E MT It is the base variant of Honda City.
Honda City 1.5 S MT It comes with some additional features that are Multi Functional Steering Wheel, Rear Cup Holder, Integrated antenna and CD/MP3 audio system with four speakers.
Honda City 1.5 V MT It is the top end variant of Honda City that offers some additional features like Alloy Wheels, Seat Back Pocket, Silver Colored Inner Door Handle, Fog Lamps, Stylish Exhaust Pipe.
Honda City 1.5 V AT All features same as Honda City 1.5 V MT only the difference is that, it comes with automatic transmission gearbox.
Honda City V MT Exclusive This variant is added with leather seats, leather steering, leather gear knob, chrome trunk garnish, Chrome door sash moulding,'Exclusive' rear badge and body coloured mud flaps.
Honda City V AT Exclusive This top end variant sports all the features of the V AT variant and V MT Exclusive features except the leather gear shift knob.

HONDA CARS Philippines Inc. announced a voluntary safety recall of Jazz and City, explaining that small engine components in the models could create problems and stall their engine. Four pieces of the lost-motion-spring retainers had to be in the cylinder head of the 1.5-liter Honda Jazz(distributed from September 2008 to April 2010) and the 1.5 liter Honda City(distributed from January 2009 to April 2010) had to be replaced right away.The Honda Jazz subject of recall was imported from Thailand while the City is a complete knock-down unit assembled in the Philippines. The recall targets 5,468 units of both distributed at the time. Also, no crashes or injuries were reported.


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.

In 1996-7, 3rd generation Honda City are advertised with 1.3-liter launch in Thailand, and famous advertisement in 1.5-liter version launch that presenter are on airplane and talks about safety and comfort in Honda City that broadcast in Thailand

In 2002, Honda City are teased in TV before Thailand International Motor Expo 2002, where that it's world premiere launch

In 2008, Current generation are also get teased on television with red arrow, the launch TV out with slogan "All-new City, Always ahead."


  1. ^ a b Honda Begins Production and Sales of City in Brazil. . Honda Motor. 2009-07-24. 
  2. ^ Car Graphic: Car Archives Vol. 11, '80s Japanese Cars. Tokyo: Nigensha. 2007. p. 145. ISBN 978-4-544-91018-6. 
  3. ^ Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed (March 6, 1997) (in German/French). Automobil Revue 1997. 92. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. pp. 291–292. ISBN 3-444-10479-0. 
  4. ^ World of Cars 2006·2007. Warsaw, Poland: Media Connection Sp. z o.o.. 2006. p. 272. 
  5. ^ "Honda City MMC – Mid-Term Face-Lift". TOVA. Retrieved 2007-12-07. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Honda Poland City website". 
  7. ^ "2009 Honda City launched in China with 1.8L engine". 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  8. ^ "Comprehensive Look at the 2009 Honda City". Retrieved 2009-01-14. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Honda Ballade returns". iOL. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  10. ^ "2009 Honda City 1.5 E and S launched in Malaysia". 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  11. ^ "Specifications: City". Honda Atlas Cars (Pakistan). Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  12. ^ "Honda City sedan confirmed for Oz". Retrieved 2009-02-15. 
  13. ^ "Honda Begins Production and Sales of City in Brazil". Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  14. ^ "New Honda City Base Model". Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  15. ^ CarDekho (2010-09-08). Honda City India
  16. ^ Surajeet Das Gupta and Sharmistha Mukherjee (2011-05-13). "Honda has planned a diesel powerplant to help the City fend off competition". Business Standard. 
  17. ^ "HONDA ABRIO A INDUSTRIA LAS PUERTAS DE CAMPANA | honda city | honda planta de campana | honda argentina". Tiempomotor.Com. 2011-01-25. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  18. ^ Miles Downard (2011-03-01). "Honda Ballade Launch". Drive RSA. 
  19. ^ Motor Trivia team (2011-09-22). "2011 Honda City". Motor Trivia team. 
  20. ^ Honda (2011-09-22). [1]
  21. ^ CarDekho (2011-04-02). Honda City India

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