Essential Tips For Buying And Owning A Used Honda City

by Mohammed Burman | 12/09/2019
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If you are looking for a sedan, especially a used sedan in the Indian auto market, a Honda City proves to be a good option. Here are some tips that you should know when considering buying and owning a used Honda City.

If you are looking for a sedan, especially a used sedan in the Indian auto market, a used Honda City proves to be a good option. Here are some tips that you should know when considering buying and owning a used Honda City. The sedan segment in India is losing in popularity in recent years with few models introduced to the market. In this case, buying a second-hand sedan, from a well-known auto manufacturer for this type of car, like Honda, is a good way to go. Some of the famous sedans from the Japanese carmaker include Honda Civic, Honda Amaze, Honda Accord, etc. However, the most popular one must be the Honda City and well-maintained Honda City cars still attract Indian sedan enthusiasts.

If you are a Honda City fan or just looking for a preowned City in the market, this article is sure to be of great use to you as it will provide you with all you need to know about this sedan and also the tips to keep in mind before buying a used one.

honda city black front with letters

This article is going to provide you with some tips on buying and owning a used Honda City.

What is actually a Honda City?

First launched in 1998, the Honda City is one of the most old-aged models in India. The car is currently in its fourth generation with the fifth-gen model being likely to be showcased at the Auto Expo 2020.

Being the pioneer in the C-segment market and ruling it for the years after that, the Honda City fiercely competes against the cheaper Maruti Ciaz as regards monthly sales even today. Since 1998, the Japanese automaker has updated the Honda City to a new model every five years, which means that it’s time the current-gen City received a thorough update.

The Honda City was initially a performance sedan but gradually, it has transformed into a mainstream sedan which offers a mixture of space, comfort and driving pleasure. Today, despite its highest price in the C-segment sedan segment, from INR 9.8 lakh onwards for the petrol version and from INR 11.1 lakh for the diesel version, the Honda City still protects its dominating position in the segment with the prestige and respect that it has created for many years.

How many generations has the Honda City gone through?

In India, the Honda City has experienced a total of four generations with each of these receiving considerable upgrades as per Indian auto customers’ demands and interests. Let’s have a brief look at the history of the Honda City in India.

The first-gen Honda City was launched in India in 1998 and went on sale in India until 2003. This model received its power from 1.3-litre and 1.5-litre gasoline burners. Two years after its launch, the City received the VTEC motor which could generate a maximum power of 106 HP. This motor became extremely popular among racing enthusiasts for its impressive performance. Totally 59,378 units of this model were sold by Honda. Until today, many sedan enthusiasts still have to admit that they used to be a fan of this amazing Honda City.

1998 honda city silver side profile angle

The first-gen Honda City is the most powerful sedan in all generations.

In 2003, the City was considerably updated to become an amber, comfortable and fuel-efficient sedan with a totally new design. This model was powered by a new 1.5-litre i-DSI motor with 77 HP. It was such an intense disappointment for racing enthusiasts, but for Honda, it was a refined and economical product. In 2005, Honda introduced the new 1.5-litre VTEC motor with a new badge, the City ZX. For this generation, a CVT unit, for the first time, was introduced in a car in India. The 10th-anniversary edition of the Honda City was also launched in 2007 and got ABS, a segment-leading feature at that time. More than 177,742 units of the second-gen Honda City were sold.

2003 honda city zx white front angle

From the second generations, Honda has paid more attention to the passengers' comfort instead of the performance.

In 2008, the third-gen Honda City was launched and soon became the most popular model of all the generations. Like the other previous generations, the Honda City was given a totally new design this time. Specifically, the radical Arrow-Shot design was warmly welcome by Indian auto customers. The standard safety features included airbags and ABS. Nevertheless, the most outstanding alteration had to be the brand-new 117 HP 1.5-litre iVTEC motor. This Honda City offered a good-looking, powerful, comfortable, fuel-efficient and well-refined option for Indian sedan enthusiasts. Receiving some mid-life updates, with the introduction of a CNG variant and a touchscreen AVN system, Honda City witnessed 192,939 units being sold until the fourth-gen City was launched in India in 2014.

2008 honda city red front angle

The third-gen Honda City is the most popular in all generations.

The fourth-gen Honda City received an addition of the diesel engine to its motor options. This is the first time that the City had ever been powered by an oil burner, which has contributed a great deal to its sales number. The diesel motor is a 1.5-litre i-DTEC unit. The City also keeps under its hood a 1.5-litre i-VTEC gasoline burner. A new-gen CVT unit was also offered in this City and delivers better fuel mileage than the MT one. From then on, the Honda City has received two updates, one in 2016 with the addition of ISOFIX and the other one in 2017 with more features. This proves to be the most successful Honda City ever.

2014 honda city black front angle

The current-gen Honda City is the most successful model to date.

Going through four generations and is about to enter its fifth generation, the Honda City still manages to maintain its dominating position in the C segment in India.

Also read - How To Buy A Well Maintained Used Honda City At A Good Price?

What do the Indian auto buyers think about the Honda City?

In the first years of its life span in India, the Honda City used to be one of the most highly-priced locally produced cars in India. All the Indian auto customers wanted to become the owners of this sedan one day since owning this is considered to be a milestone in their life and helps them upgrade their social status.

Even today, the Honda City is still known as the most popular C-segment sedan in India, especially with customers in metro cities. The Honda Brio or Amaze owners also have a tendency to upgrade to the Honda City after three-to-four-year ownership.

The Honda City, both used and new ones are aspirational cars in India. A second-hand Honda City is an ideal option for people who are looking for a chauffeur-driven vehicle for weekdays. The rear seat offers segment-leading spaciousness and comfort.

honda city generations

Going through four generations, the Honda City still manages to protect its dominating position in the Indian auto market.

Also readTop 10 Honda City Sedans With Stunning Modifications

What are Honda City's pros and cons?


The Honda City is well-known for its flexibility as it can satisfy various demands of a consumer. It is easy to drive with light steering and energetic motors. Moreover, it also offers a spacious and comfortable cabin for the passengers with an impressive list of features. The boot is also one of the largest ones in the segment, measuring up to 510 litres.

The diesel version, which has been available from 2014 until now, provides a torque drive and a decent fuel mileage. The petrol CVT version offers pleasant driving experience, but we can still feel some loud noise with the MT version.


The build quality of the Honda City has suffered from a decrease for the past years. The previous models of the last-gen City also have numerous issues.

Despite a spacious knee and legroom in the rear, the headroom is restricted. The handling quality is neither too bad nor too good, but it does not live up to sedan enthusiasts’ expectations. The diesel motor emits a loud noise and the petrol motor is not energetic enough on low-end punch. The ground clearance is low, which means that even average speed brakes will hit the underbelly. Finally, the Honda City is priced at a far higher range than its direct competitors like the Maruti Ciaz by about INR 2 -3 lakh.

Which is the ideal used Honda City for the mainstream customers?

The current-gen model which started to go on sale in January 2014 onwards is the ideal option for the buyers with an average budget. This model has been available for five years, so it is possible to find one which costs INR 4.5 lakh.  In 2017, the model received a major update, which increased the car price to INR 6.5 lakh, which is equal to that of a premium hatchback. You can pick this one if you have a looser budget. Please keep in mind that a used diesel Honda City is only offered on the current model. Despite City’s good resale value, you can still get the price down with good bargaining skills.

2014 used honda city white front angle

The 2014 Honda City onward is the perfect choice for you.

If possible, you should avoid the earlier units of this generation since they have a tendency to have small niggles which can cause nuisance after a certain period of time. It will be ideal if can prepare an INR 6 - 7 lakh budget to buy a new compact sedan or a premium hatchback. In this budget, it is possible to buy an MT petrol, an AT with a CVT or even a diesel one.

A preowned third-gen Honda City is not a bad deal at all. Nevertheless, in metro cities, most of these models are powered by aftermarket CNG kits, which should be avoided. Moreover, please ensure that the car has been regularly serviced at authorized garages.

The second-gen model (2003 - 2008) is a quite popular car in the Indian market. Nevertheless, unless you have a less-than-2-lakh budget, you should avoid this at all costs.

The first-gen Honda City provided an impressive performance but with the sacrifice of comfort and safety. You can still catch sight of these cars in the used car markets, but it might have run plenty of miles and a lot of parts might have to be replaced. So you had better avoid this one.

Therefore, once again, we want to emphasize that the 2014 model is the most recommended and set aside some money for aftermarket parts. There are a variety of affordable aftermarket products in the South East Asian market for updating the brakes, suspension and performance.

What are our recommendations?

What to keep in mind when considering buying a preowned Honda City

You should avoid the used Honda City models in the first two generations. Try to look for the 2014 model. However, despite the brand prestige, this model is not error-free. It might face twitching behaviour when running at a high speed, poor headlamp throw, body rattles and water leakage, etc. Moreover, due to the low ground clearance, second-hand Honda City also suffers from underbody damage. So, check these things carefully before making a decision to invest in a used Honda City.

However, if you have no choice but to choose the car which suffers from one of the abovementioned issues, these are the solutions for you.

  • Twitching at a high speed can be explained by various reasons, which include a flawed steering column joint, steering rack or even incorrect wheel alignment. Therefore, when you drive a used Honda City, you should choose the roads with light traffic to drive the car at a high speed and keep an eye on this problem.

  • Weak headlamps can only be resolved by substituting them with aftermarket bulbs, which have the same wattage but different illumination.

  • Owners have no choice but to live with rattles and squeaks. Try travelling over broken roads to sense the noises from inside and outside the car. A careful examination and tightening of bolts and nuts at a garage can help but only to a certain extent.

  • If water leaks from the car, change the door beadings.

  • Flawed and noisy alternator belts have also been reported with some used Honda City. When the car is started, it there is a sharp grid crumbling noise from under the hood, the alternator belt might need replacing.

Some garages are not good enough. Remember to consult with other Honda City owners who live nearby to find high-quality service centres.

Also read10 Cheapest Cars in India With Sunroof - Hyundai Venue to Honda City

Is the service cost of the Honda City reasonable enough?

The service cost of the Honda City is, fortunately enough, not too high. For a car which needs a regular service after running for 50,000 km, just INR 3,500 would be spent for the petrol version and less than INR 5,000 for the diesel one. Similarly, the service needed when your car surpasses 1 lakh km would cost more than INR 7,000 and less than INR 10,000 for the petrol and the diesel versions, respectively.

In the meanwhile, the spare parts’ costs vary. While door beadings or alternate belt are not too expensive, a new steering column or rack can cost you a great amount of money, consisting of labour cost.

Today, service cost is displayed transparently on Honda website, which allows the owners of second-hand Honda City in the third-and-fourth-gen City to be clear about the maintenance cost of the used models. Since the regular maintenance cost is not too high, it is highly recommended that you choose official Honda workshops to have your car serviced.

honda city workshop

You should choose an authorized service centre to have your Honda City serviced.

What are the alternatives in the market?

The Honda City’s major competitors in the C-segment sedan market is the Maruti Ciaz. The Ciaz is a good alternative to the City with similar used specifications but a lower price. A preowned Hyundai Verna is also a good alternative with excellent performance and smoothness for the diesel version and a lower price. However, its space and rear seat comfort cannot be compared to those of the Honda City. You can buy both of the above models at only INR 5 lakh. There are also other options like the Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen Vento and Skoda Rapid; however, all of which have a poor sales number so they usually have a low resale value.

Also readHonda City vs Toyota Yaris: Segment-leading car vs new cool kid on the block

Above is a thorough guide for buying and owning a used Honda City. Hope that with these tips, you can find a perfect second-hand Honda City for yourself at a reasonable cost and own it wisely. If you are interested in buying a new Honda City, you can pay a visit to our article on Honda cars discounts, including the Honda City.

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