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.
The first Honda City was launched in 1981 as a three-door hatchback. It was one of the first "tall" hatchbacks: to maximize interior room without occupying more road space, the body was taller than usual. At the 1981 Tokyo Motor Show, one gimmick was a folding 50 cc motorcycle (also separately marketed under the name Motocompo) that could fit into the City's trunk. A turbocharged version was added to the range in 1982 and a convertible version soon after.
In 1983, the Honda City replaced the Mini in New Zealand Motor Corporation's local assembly line-up. In that same year the car was also released in Australia, although only in a two-seater van variant, to get around that country's import taxes.
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.
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 India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Pakistan. A revised, face-lifted third-generation City was released in 2000, and included sports sedan models 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 good power to weight ratio. The kerb weight of the car was 985 kg, and the output of the D15B was .
In November 2002, the fourth generation City was released and included a four-wheel drive version. Like the contemporary Honda Jazz, the City 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 Thailand and in Malaysia in October 2005; it is known as the City ZX in Thailand, India, the New City in 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.
Honda City in Thailand, Philippines, Pakistan, Singapore and Malaysia are using CVT gearbox for both i-DSI and VTEC variants. The CVT gearbox is equipped with a 7-Speed automatic transmission with manual override using paddle shift buttons. This is very rare for a subcompact of its class.
The newest Honda City was unveiled in Thailand on the 10th of September 2008 followed by India on 25th September 2008.. 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 following are the features of Thailand's Honda City 2008. Thailand's Honda City 2008 would come in three variants - S model, V Model and SV model. Honda might launch the new City in the Philippines and Malaysia by 2009. It is scheduled to arrive in Singapore by the end of September. For the first time, the car will be built and sold outside Asia, being assembled in Argentina from 2009 on.
The arcade game City Connection features a first generation Honda City.