Honda S-MX

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Honda S-MX
Honda S-MX 001.JPG
Production 1996 - 2002
Body and chassis
Class Compact MPV
Body style 3-door hatchback
5-door hatchback
Layout FF/AWD
Related Honda CR-V
Engine 2.0 L (1972cc) B20B DOHC I4
Transmission 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2,500 mm (98.4 in)
Length 3,950 mm (155.5 in)
Width 1,695 mm (66.7 in)
Height 1,750 mm (68.9 in)
1,765 mm (69.5 in) (4WD)
1,735 mm (68.3 in) (Lowdown)
Curb weight 1,390 kg (3,060 lb)
Successor Honda Mobilio Spike
Honda FR-V
Honda Fit

The Honda S-MX[1] (Japanese: ホンダ・S-MX) is a compact MPV produced by the Honda Motor Company, sold between 1996 and 2002.


The S-MX was based on the S-MX Concept model first exhibited at the 31st Tokyo Motor Show in 1995, and was similar in appearance to the larger Honda Stepwgn, shortened substantially in length and height. Whereas the Stepwgn had three rows of seating to accommodate eight passengers the smaller S-MX has two rows of seating for four or five passengers. In order to maximize space for passengers the S-MX uses a front bench seat and a column shifter for the four-speed automatic transmission (the only available transmission).

The S-MX was powered by a 2.0 L version of Honda's B-series engine featuring double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder; it did not use Honda's VTEC system. Peak power output was 128 hp (130 PS; 96 kW) at 5,500 rpm and peak torque was 135 lb·ft (18.7 kgf·m; 183 N·m) at 4,200 rpm. This engine was shared with the Honda CR-V and Honda Stepwagon compact crossover. Similar to the CR-V and Stepwagon, the S-MX was available with front-wheel-drive or optional four-wheel-drive.[2]

As was customary of minivans of the time the S-MX features only one (conventional) rear door on the passenger (left) side of the vehicle. Ostensibly this feature was for the safety of passengers, to prevent them from stepping out into traffic.

All chassis codes start with RH1 for the Base model and Lowdown (Lowdown is also printed on the chassis plate). All 4WD models have the chassis code starting RH2

1st Generation[edit]

The S-MX went on sale in November 22, 1996 as the fourth product of 'Creative Mover' series, which were Honda's automobiles with the aim of 'Lifestyle Enhancing Vehicles' that expand the users' lifestyles with more fun and richness.[3]

The vehicle was available in three different trims:

  • Base trim with front-wheel-drive
  • 4WD, which featured four-wheel-drive, a 15 mm higher ride height and added gear selections for the transmission
  • Lowdown, which featured a 15 mm lower ride height compared to the base model, a front chin spoiler, a rear spoiler, side skirts and unique 3 spoke 15 inch wheels

Colors available: White, Black, Orange, Silver, Blue

Optional Extras[edit]

  • Sunroof
  • Rear Spoiler (Lowdown only)
  • ABS Braking system
  • Orange Interior Sears, Speaker Grills, Air-Vents, Door Handles (Lowdown only)
  • Clear Indicators
  • Wind Deflectors
  • Floor Mats
  • Rear Headrests
  • Chrome Door Mirror Covers
  • Remote Central Locking
  • Mudflaps
  • Parking Assistance Pole
  • Front Fog Lights
  • Electric Folding Mirrors
  • Rear Tinted Windows
  • Wood Effect Dashboard

2nd Generation Facelift[edit]

The S-MX was slightly restyled in 2000. The revised model went on sale in December of that year. Coinciding with the release of the new exterior a new trim, Custom Basic, was introduced. This new trim was lower-priced and eliminated several of the once-standard features such as a CD player, electric mirrors and tinted rear windows for privacy.[4] Improvements where made to the styling with re-modeled headlights and front bumper.

Honda S-MX Facelift
Honda S-MX Facelift

Colors available: White, Black, Silver, Blue, Purple, Red, Green, Grey

The following changes were made[edit]

  • Body colored bumpers
  • Overdrive Gearbox
  • Improved B20 Engine (140 PS/133 hp)
  • Black plastic interior panels
  • Orange Lowdown upgrades now replaced with red.
  • 4 and 5 seater option on Lowdown and 4WD models

Optional Extras[edit]

  • Blue seat coverings (Base/4WD)
  • Grey with red dots, Grey Hatched Seat coverings (Lowdown)
  • Satellite Navigation
  • Electric Folding Mirrors
  • Remote Central Locking
  • Rear Tinted Windows
  • Sunroof
  • Roof Spoiler
  • Climate Control
  • Fog Lights
  • Armrest (5 Seater Only)
  • 3 Spoke Steering Wheel
  • Red Carpet (Lowdown)
  • Wood Effect Dashboard
  • Exhaust Trim

Special Editions[edit]

Two special editions were introduced:

Aero Style - This included: More aggressive front lip, rear lip, spoiler and side skirts. larger alloy wheels, silver dashboard trim and leather interior.

Casual Style - This included: Wooden effect dashboard, black seats, different alloy wheels

End Of Production[edit]

Production of the S-MX ended in 2002, and the vehicle was replaced by the Honda Mobilio Spike in 2002. Many were exported to other countries, with the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada being the most popular.

There is currently a large UK following and Honda S-MX Owners Club[citation needed]

Aftermarket Modifications[edit]

As with many Japanese cars there was large amount of aftermarket parts and modifications. These included, bodykits, interiors, wheels, suspension and engine.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "[Honda Auto Archive—S-MX]" (in Japanese). 
  2. ^ "[1996 S-MX specifications]" (in Japanese). 
  3. ^ "Honda Releases S-MX, the New Trend Passenger Car" (in Japanese), November 18, 1996
  4. ^ "[2002 S-MX equipment]" (in Japanese).