Even if four-door sedans aren’t your jam, you probably already know about the Honda Civic and its incredible popularity. It’s a top-selling car that satisfies nearly every consumer itch when it comes to value, comfort, convenience, and reliability in its segment. But you might not be so knowledgeable about the Civic’s little brother, the Honda City.
The Honda City is an unusual little car in that it looks like a Civic with far fewer amenities. It’s simple and, to many, underwhelming. But it’s not intended for the American market. And that’s alright because we don’t need the Honda City since we have the more impressive Honda Civic anyway.
Meet this low-spec version of the Honda Civic
The 2021 Honda City is landing in Mexico, according to MotorTrend, and consumers there appreciate the low-spec Civic sibling. Honda officials say this car positions between the subcompact Honda Fit and the larger Honda Civic. The Honda City may look like a tenth-generation Civic, but it’s equipped with far less.
The 2021 Honda City is available in three trim levels — Uniq, Sport, and Prime. But don’t expect all that much in the way of driver aids or extras. The high-end Prime trim comes with an 8.0-inch display, Apple and Android connectivity options, and a push-button start. It’s the only trim that offers a backup camera and the old LaneWatch side-view camera tech.
It comes in a hatchback, too
Jalopnik talks about the available hatchback version of the Honda City, as well. No matter what trim consumers choose, they’ll only have power from the one 1.5-liter, DOHC i-VTEC, four-cylinder engine capable of harnessing 119 horses. The Honda City comes with a six-speed manual transmission, too, a preferred driving preference in non-American markets.
The Honda City hatchback debuted first in Thailand, and reports suggest it may be headed to Mexico next. Subcompact hatchbacks seem to sell well in Latin American markets. Motor1 says this Thailand variation of the Honda City comes with a turbocharged 1.0-liter engine and 120-hp.
There are a few more aesthetically pleasing extras, as Honda says the hatchback has more legroom and “Ultra Seats” with different modes for adjustment.
Why Americans don’t need the Honda City
If you’re unfamiliar with the Honda City, it’s likely because we can’t buy the little cars here in the states. And let’s be honest, we probably don’t need a low-spec Honda Civic when we can just buy the Honda Civic we want.
The Honda City won’t drive like the Civic, and it certainly doesn’t present the hefty roster of features, driver aids, and tech the Civic does either. American consumers tend to prioritize these extras and won’t buy cars without at least entry-level safety and standard basics.
Where the Honda City is sold
Honda isn’t looking for the Honda City to be a game-changing introduction to its lineup. In fact, the City was specifically developed as an emerging market offering only. Thailand and Mexico car-buying markets, for example, embrace this little car. And it’s in those emerging markets that the Honda City continues to charm.
The Honda City does well in other global markets, too. It was named the “Best-Selling Executive Sedan” in India just a few months ago. GaadiWaadi.com reported Indian sales of the Honda City were up by more than 171% in December. The fifth-gen Honda City was the most sold mid-size car there.
As popular as the Honda City is for foreign markets, it’s not one of those cars sold overseas that we wished we could buy stateside. We have the more complete version with the Honda Civic, after all.