Pre-loved: Honda City 2009-2020

2009 Honda City 1
2009 Honda City


Honda City is a four-door sedan that shares most of its underpinnings with the Honda Jazz.

But it has a completely different body and sits on at longer wheelbase.

The sedan is almost as large as the five-door Honda Civic, though slightly narrower inside.

Having said that, it might be worth checking out a used Civic if you’re planning to use a Jazz as a family car. 

As they tend to be bought by sensible people, City is often looked after, driven gently and serviced strictly by the book.

So used-car buys can be in very good condition for their indicated mileage.

However, we still recommend a full professional inspection, just in case.

City was late arriving in Australia when it came here February, 2009 as it had been been sold in other countries for many years.

Small sedans aren’t big sellers here as many prefer hatchbacks or small to medium SUVs.

Interior space in the Honda City is impressive, with good head and legroom front and rear.

The low floor in the back seat means three adults can be carried, though two and a child makes more sense.

There’s a rigid structure under the back window of sedans, rather than a very large hole in hatchbacks.

So, there’s a quieter, more comfortable ride in the four-door than a five-door — particularly on harsh roads.

The boot of this Honda sedan is impressive at 506 litres. In fact, it’s bigger than the big Aussie rear-drive family sedans of the time. 

We were told that Honda engineers were briefed by Honda Australia chiefs on the desires of local motorists, and were told that Aussies like big boots.

So, an esky was sent to Japan, and the original rear end styling was raised to make room for it. True story.

A facelift in 2012 saw a bright chrome grille, redesigned front and rear bumpers and revised rear lights.

Inside, there’s aluminium-look details on the panels, and new seat fabrics.

Thicker window glass and enhanced carpets improved cabin quietness.

May, 2014 saw Honda launch the second generation City.

Slightly larger than before, with a boot capacity up by 30 litres to a whopping 536-litre capacity, Honda rates it as “four in the golf bag scale”. 

It was fitted with a comprehensive kit of active and passive safety features as well as advanced communication technology.

Power comes from a high-revving engine displacing 1.5 litres.

This was refined in the 2014 gen-two City to give more performance with slightly less fuel use.

The biggest change under the bonnet was the fitment of a CVT automatic in place of the conventional unit on early cars.

Handling is pleasant enough, with the City being happy to turn into corners and stable once in them.

It’s happy to change direction and only when you are pushing it hard does understeer come into the equation.

In late 2019 the gen five Honda City was introduced in Japan.

However, it won’t be imported to Australia as buyers are opting for the extra convenience of SUVs rather than sedans.

Honda is thoroughly established in Australia as a mainstream player so there are plenty of dealerships.

Spare parts prices are about average for the class and we hear of few problems with availability.

Though a good home mechanic can do routine servicing and minor repairs, it really is best to leave the work to a qualified mechanic.

Insurance costs are slightly lower than average with many companies, reflecting the conservative nature of buyers — and therefore low claim history.

2012 Honda City 1
2012 City



A City that has been poorly repaired after a smash may attract rust.

However, we’ve never seen rust in an undamaged City. 

Make sure the engine starts promptly and idles evenly pretty well straight away.

If possible, arrange to start it when it’s cold after an overnight stop. 

An engine that hesitates when revved suddenly may have problems.

Manual gearchanges should be light, positive and quiet.

Problems will usually show up first on fast third-to-second changes.

The clutch pedal should be smooth in its operation.

A conventional automatic transmission should be crisp in its changes and not hold on to any gear for too long. 

A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) feels different in its operation so have an expert check it out if you are not confident it’s working correctly.

2014 Honda City 1
2014 City



Budget on paying from $3000 to $8000 for a 2009-2012 Honda City VTi; $6000 to $9000 for a 2103 VTi-L; $7000 to $11,000 for a 2015 VTi-L; $9000 to $14,000 for a 2014 VTi; $10,000 to $16,000 for a 2016 VTi-LM; and $11,000 to $17,000 for a 2018 VTi-L.

2017 Honda City 4
2017 City


Fancy yourself as a smart guy who knows how to check out a used car?

Okay, that’s your choice and we wish you well . . . Here’s a bit of advice for the rest of our readers.

Used car prices have generally increased during the period of new car stock shortages so hunt around for the best deal.

Start looking at adverts for used vehicles several months before you intend buying.

That way you can see the prices being asked and whether they are rising and falling as dealers need to clear stock due to overcrowding.

Keep an eye on adverts for new cars that say there are specials on particular models.

These can mean a lot of traded-in cars are taking up too much space in the yards and will be discounted to get rid of them.

If checking a used car at a dealership look at other cars on the lot. 

This can give you an insight to the quality of vehicles in which the dealer specialises.

If buying privately ask for proof of ownership of the vehicle and make sure it is covered for you taking a test drive.

Take a slow walk around any car you’re considering, looking for obvious defects.

It amuses us how many people dive into tiny details, only to later discover a major ding somewhere on the other side of the car.

Ideally any road test of a car you’re getting serious about should be done with the engine stone cold. Early morning is best.

If you’re serious about buying a vehicle, tell the seller you would like to take it for a good long test drive.

If they insist on coming that’s understandable, but try to avoid them ‘selling” the car to you.

Put bluntly, ask them to shut up,

In their later years, cars with a reputation for being long lived and trouble free sometimes attract buyers who have no intention of ever servicing them.

The next owner may suffer as a result.

city boot



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