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).
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
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.
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
Rear Spoiler (Lowdown only)
ABS Braking system
Orange Interior Sears, Speaker Grills, Air-Vents, Door Handles (Lowdown only)
Chrome Door Mirror Covers
Remote Central Locking
Parking Assistance Pole
Front Fog Lights
Electric Folding Mirrors
Rear Tinted Windows
Wood Effect Dashboard
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. Improvements where made to the styling with re-modeled headlights and front bumper.