The Honda SMX Owners Club.

Honda SMX overview


Honda SMX / S-MX

Manufactured : 1996 to 2002
UK equivalent model : None
Engine : 2.0 litre, 4 Cylinder petrol
Transmission : 4 speed auto + o/d
Power : 140 bhp
Torque : 137 lb ft
0-60 : ~ 10.5 seconds
Top speed : ~110mph
Fuel economy : 32 mpg (avg)
Dimensions : 3935mm (L), 1695mm (W), 1735mm (H)
Typical standard equipment : PAS, ABS, 4WD, CL, E/W, A/C, Driver and Passenger airbags, retractable mirrors, privacy glass

The Honda S-MX shares many of the characteristics of the latest range of mini/midi MPV's currently coming out of Japan, including the Nissan Cube / Cubic, Toyota bB / Scion xB and Honda Stepwagon / Stepwgn but the Honda S-MX has a couple of big advantages for a mini MPV - it has a LOT of room and it's great to drive!

Like the Nissan Cube / Cubic, Toyota bB / Scion xB, the Honda S-MX is a boxy, cool-yet-quirky, functional mini MPV that's popular with the younger market but, because of its cavernous interior, it's also appealing to more demanding family buyers too, who appreciate the extra passenger room and boot space.
Don't be deceived by the Dinky-toy look of this car, it would be more at home on the Scalextric track - certainly there, rather than off-road - yes - it has 4WD, but with a low-slung ground clearance of just 145mm, the only hills you'll be climbing are the speed bumps!

Many of the new range of mini-MPV's coming out of Japan have their own quirky features and the Honda S-MX is no exception, from the 'missing' offside, rear passenger door, with its neat fold down utility table, to the unique matched colour combinations carrying the external body colour option through to a number of interior components.

In common with most current Japanese imports, the 'standard' Honda S-MX boasts generous features and equipment levels from ABS and PAS as standard to dual front airbags and more! The Honda S-MX has a huge market in Japan for customising, meaning that, by the time they leave Japan, it's unlikely that there'll be any two identical. The only disappointment, as with all Japanese market vehicles, is the (optional) SAT-NAV system - useless outside Japan, with no option to modify it to work elsewhere, the only alternative is to fit a locally compatible flip-down unit in its place.

Where the Honda S-MX really stands head and shoulders above the competition is the cavernous interior - once inside, you'll be amazed by the sheer amount of head and leg room, with an extraordinary range of flexible seating arrangements, including an option to fold the rear bench up on its hinch to provide a useful cargo area or, go one step further and lay all the seats almost flat to make a double bed!

The ride quality, performance and handling of the Honda S-MX haven't been compromised by the quirky features - far from it! The low ride height, comfortable driving position and well-thought-out controls make this car a pleasure to drive and, with the 16v 2.0 litre 140bhp engine under the bonnet, matched with a competent four speed auto gearbox, (offering sports-mode), there's plenty of pulling power! The biggest surprise is the ride quality, where Honda have managed to take the edge over Nissan and Toyota.

For the environmentally conscious and the thrifty alike, there's good news - an official 32mpg! No doubt this was obtained in a very controlled environment, but there's no reason to doubt that, with a light right foot, 30+ mpg should be achievable

What about running and maintaining the car? Insurance is a doddle, with many specialist brokers offering great deals for import owners. As for parts ... the S-MX's B20 engine is the same unit used in the UK production Honda HR-V and CR-V, so no problems there, although some of the parts, such as brake components are unique to the model and may be available through specialist pattern parts suppliers or 'special order' through Honda dealerships.

Is the Honda S-MX for you? it's a great car in the range of mini-MPV's currently coming out of Japan - probably one of the best - the challenge is, to find the one you like at a price you're prepared to pay.

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