The first generation Honda City was a subcompact hatchback aimed mainly at the Japanese domestic market. The somewhat ungainly designed City, referred to by Honda as "Tall Boy" style, was also marketed abroad and was available in a number of versions. First introduced in November 1981 it carried the model codes AA for sedans, VF for vans, and FA for the wide track Turbo II and Cabriolets. It was sold at the Honda Japan dealership sales channel called Honda Clio.
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.
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.
At the Thailand International Motor Expo 2002 in November 2002, the fourth generation City made its world debut, now also offered as afour-wheel drive version. It was imported from Thailand and launched as Fit Aria in Japan domestic market 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 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.