I recently lamented the slow and steady upmarket slide of the newest Civic because as the little Honda matured, it changed. Now, a similar thing has happened to the Honda City with its 2021 model year debut in Mexico.
Unlike the Civic, though, the City has managed to hold on to some of its small car charm. Somehow even today, the new City is still the plucky subcompact it set out to be for emerging markets.
Keep in mind that the Mexican 2021 model year City is not a new car from a global perspective. The redesigned model was officially unveiled in 2019 for the market in Thailand. It’s only now making its way to North America for sale in Mexico, but it looks very close to the 2022 Civic sedan leaks we just saw. The similarity is uncanny and shows where the Civic strayed, namely in proportion! It’s just a big ‘ole Civic.
I never thought I’d describe a Honda Civic like that. The City, on the other hand, is still puttering along as a small city car with its 1.5 liter DOHC i-VTEC inline-four engine, with its six-speed manual transmission for drivers who row gears, and with a nice-but-average interior that reminds me of the late-aughts Civic interior.
There is no market pretense in the new City, which translates to an affordable car, with the 2021 model starting at $306,900 MXN or just under $15,000 USD, which is about $1,100 USD more than before. Not great, but not bad.
I already know that as the cars roll off lots south of the border and Mexican drivers bring them to the U.S. I am going to feel elated to see the new Cities. It will be fun to drive past them, even in their latest guise because it’s still a little sedan with Honda charm.
What I desperately need to do now is find a 2021 City in a shopping mall parking lot parked next to a 2022 Civic rocking a matching paint finish, preferably in that sterile white. That would be like winning the car spotting lotto and I could finally rest easy being certain that the City is today’s Civic, with pics to prove it happened.