The fourth generation City made its world debut at the Bangkok International Motor Show in November 2002. It was now offered as a four-wheel drive version. It was imported from Thailand and launched as Fit Aria in Japan on December 20, 2002. The word "aria" is a type of expressive melody, usually heard in opera. Honda chose the word, continuing its musical naming tradition used with the Honda Prelude, the Honda Accord, the Honda Ballade, the Honda Quint, and the Honda Concerto. In China, the model was named Fit Saloon and was sold from September 2003 to December 2008.
The Honda City was initially launched with a twin-spark, lean burn ‘i-DSI’ engine producing 88PS that was primarily designed to provide outstanding fuel economy. The VTEC version was unveiled late in the 4th generation City's lifespan in 2004. The VTEC trim of the Honda City is offered with 15-inch alloy wheels compared to the 14-inch offered in the i-DSI and the rear brakes are solid discs on the VTEC variant instead of drums in the i-DSI. Also, the VTEC model uses a 7-speed Multimatic CVT automatic transmission.
In September 2005, a facelifted version of the City was launched in Thailand, in October 2005 in Malaysia, and in November 2005 in Indonesia. In Thailand, it is known as the City ZX. The most significant changes are a new exterior (new front grille, new headlamps, new fog lights, new taillights and bumpers). The front end has been extended forward by 65 mm (2.6 in) while the rear has been extended by 15 mm (0.6 in). The side mirror is electronically foldable. Both the i-DSI and VTEC trim levels have 15-inch alloy wheels as standard equipment. Interior are the changes are minor but it does include an armrest for the driver and additional map lights. The interior colour tone of the VTEC variant is now black.
The L-series engine remained but the intake manifold has been repositioned, resulting in a 6 °C drop in the intake air temperature, the suspension has been upgraded as well.
Honda City in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, Singapore and Malaysia uses the CVT gearbox for both i-DSI and VTEC variants. The CVT gearbox simulates a 7-Speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic style override using paddle shift buttons on the steering wheel itself.
This model also saw limited availability in certain right-handed traffic markets outside Asia such as Egypt.
The fourth generation was resurrected in China as the Everus S1, a new budget car brand for Honda models discontinued elsewhere. The S1 stopped production in 2014.