Four million units.

That’s how many units of the City Honda has sold worldwide. It’s not hard to believe that figure too. The subcompact sedan is one of the brand’s best selling models in the South East Asian market. Whether it’s in Thailand, Indonesia or even in the Philippines, you’ll surely be able to see a Honda City around the block.

Honda City has accumulated 4 million sales since 1996 image

While the name City has actually been around since the 1980's, it became a more popular name in the ASEAN region by the mid-90's. The first-generation (or third-generation if you count the first two hatchbacks) splashed on to the ASEAN market in 1996, and has become a popular choice in its class since. Honda enthusiasts also call this the SX8, its internal chassis code. Also, a fun fact: the first City sedan was actually based on the 1987-1992 Civic, which some of you might know as the EF.

There were two engine choices available, a 1.3-liter and a 1.5-liter VTEC mill. There was even an automatic option, which was something of a novelty in its segment back in the day. A few years after its initial launch, a facelifted version called the Type Z was then released soon after. 

Honda City has accumulated 4 million sales since 1996 image

In 2002, the second-generation City was introduced and launched in the Philippines a year after. From this moment on, Honda's popular sedan would now be based on the Jazz. It looked totally different from its predecessor, with its wedgy shape and curves. It was also the first Honda model offered in the Philippines with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Not only that, it also had a novel twin-spark plug engine for the 1.3-liter models dubbed i-DSi. This model was also offered in Japan as the Fit Aria.

Honda City has accumulated 4 million sales since 1996 image

Honda then introduced the third-generation City in 2008 (2009 in the Philippines), which one of the more common models we still see on the roads today. By this time, the City had become a staple in ASEAN countries, and was the first City model to be built and exported outside of Asia. Again, 1.3 and 1.5-liter engines were offered, although the twin-spark engine was dropped. It was also noticeably larger than its predecessor, offering more room inside. Curiously, Honda put in a conventional five-speed automatic instead of a CVT for this one. 

Honda City has accumulated 4 million sales since 1996 image

On to the fourth-generation City sedan and, by this time, it was topping sales segments in parts of the region. Again, larger and roomier than the preceeding model, this era of City has proved a hit for buyers all over ASEAN. It's more upmarket too as Honda has totally dropped the 1.3-liter option for it, leaving it with just one engine option, the 1.5-liter i-VTEC. Honda then put back the CVT in the City, replacing the five-speed automatic. This generation also ushered in big car features such as six airbags, navigation, Eco mode, cruise control, and stability control. 

Now that the fifth-generation City has officially made its global debut, expect Honda to hit the five million mark for the City easily. The new City sure looks good, styled somewhat like a smaller Civic. Inside, it’s all-new as well. There’s a new dashboard that’s more upright with a new climate control interface. Higher-end variants get leather trimming throughout the cabin. A larger infotainment display now comes available with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Like the Jazz, the City is now powered by a new turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder mill producing 122 PS and 173 Nm of torque. This gives it roughly the same power output as its 1.5-liter predecessor. Power is sent to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission.

Before you say 4 million says is nothing big, do remember that the City is not a global market vehicle. It is only sold only in South East Asian, as well as Australia and select countries in South America.