Did you know that the Honda Jazz was once a midsize SUV? 

Updated Jun 18, 2021 | Same topic: Automotive FYIs

It even came with a ladder-frame chassis and four-wheel-drive. 

Honda is known for elegant and efficient gasoline-powered passenger cars, while large, robust rigs resonating with diesel clatter are Isuzu trademarks. That’s the story many gearheads grew up with, and they’re sticking to it.

Honda Jazz

The Jazz wasn't always this compact or cute  

Except that it hasn’t always been the case. Take the Honda Jazz, for instance. If you think it started as a cute little front-driven hatchback at the turn of the millennium, cue the game show buzzer and get ready to lose a turn. It actually goes way back, right to the early years of the previous decade. 

See, in 1993, Isuzu entered into an unlikely vehicle exchange program with rival automaker Honda, where the two would share specific models from their respective rosters. The deal came about as Isuzu stopped making passenger cars on account of its corporate restructuring. Meanwhile, Honda was desperate for a contender in the growing SUV segment, following its disappointing partnership with Austin Rover that resulted in the widely panned Honda Crossroad rebadge of the Land Rover Discovery.  

Jazz rebadged MU

A truck-based platform underpinned the very first Honda Jazz    

One of Isuzu’s offerings chosen for an alternate identity was the MU (Mysterious Utility) midsize SUV, specifically the three-door, short wheelbase version. And the name chosen for the Honda-fied truck-based wagon? You guessed it: the Jazz. This was the first known appearance of the nameplate anywhere, as a burly SUV sold to Japanese customers from 1993 to 1996. 

Honda marketed the vehicle as the Passport in the U.S. market, assembled by Subaru Isuzu Automotive in Lafayette, Indiana. The Isuzu Trooper would follow suit, renamed the Acura SLX for North America. In return, Isuzu repackaged its former Gemini subcompact as the Honda Domani, along with the Honda Accord as the Isuzu Aska in Japan. Stateside, it sold the Honda Odyssey minivan as the Isuzu Oasis.    

Passport rebadged Trooper

Even the Isuzu Trooper was renamed the Honda Passport for North America 

The partnership came to an end in 2002, when Honda replaced the Passport with its own Pilot midsize SUV that featured a unibody chassis. By then, the Jazz had already been reassigned as a name for overseas versions of the Honda Fit five-door subcompact. Thus, the two Japanese automakers went their separate ways once more, coming back together just last year to collaborate on hydrogen-powered trucks.    
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Know more about Honda Jazz 2022

Honda Jazz

The Honda Jazz 2022 is a discontinued model in Honda Cars Philippines, Inc.'s (HCPI) lineup which used to compete in the hatchback segment. Honda Jazz 2022 Philippines price that ranges from Php 918,000 to Php 1,090,000 through the model's three variants. Powering the Jazz is a 1.5-liter Chain Drive SOHC i-VTEC 4-cylinder gasoline engine that is capable of delivering 118 hp and 145 Nm of torque. Only an Earth Dreams Technology Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is the available transmission option.

Dimensions-wise, the Jazz is 4,035 mm long, 1,694 mm wide, and 1,524 mm high, with ground clearance and wheelbase rated at 150 mm and 2,530 mm, respectively. This Japanese hatchback used to compete against the likes of the Suzuki Swift, Mazda2 Hatchback, and Toyota Yaris.

₱ 1,090,000

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Joseph Paolo Estabillo


Joseph holds a degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines Diliman and has been writing professionally since 1999. He has written episodes for CNN Philippines' motoring show Drive, and has worked on corporate projects for MG Philippines and Pilipinas Shell. Aside from being Philkotse.com’s Content Lead, he also writes content for numerous car dealerships in the U.S., spanning multiple brands such as Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Maserati, among others.

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