The Isuzu Wizard, a 5-door compact SUV manufactured by Japanese automaker Isuzu and introduced for the first time in 1990. It was launched one year after the release of 3-door Isuzu MU, though both went out of production together in 2004. A wide range of variants were produced by Isuzu and offered in different export markets.
The 5-door, long-wheelbase version was offered under Isuzu Wizard name in Japanese market, while it was marketed under Isuzu Rodeo and/or Honda Passport names in the US market. The vehicle was also sold by Opel/Vauxhall and Holden rebadged as the Opel Frontera, Vauxhall Frontera and Holden Frontera. In Egypt, it was sold under Chevrolet Frontera name; in Thailand, it was known as Isuzu Cameo and Isuzu Vega; in South America, it was marketed as Isuzu Frontier, while in Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador, it was known as Chevrolet Rodeo.
The 3-door, short-wheelbase version was available as the Isuzu MU and Honda Jazz in Japanese market. In United States, this version was known as Isuzu Amigo and Isuzu Rodeo Sport. In continental Europe, this version was sold as Opel Frontera Sport, while in United Kingdom, the vehicle was sold as Vauxhall Frontera Sport. It was marketed in Australasia as Holden Frontera Sport.
First Generation (1989–1998)
The first generation Wizard was offered as a 3-door SUV for the first time in 1989. In 1990, the 5-door Isuzu Wizard joined the Japanese lineup of Wizard. It was built on Isuzu Faster (1988) pickup truck’s platform. There were several features and components identical in both the vehicles including bodywork and interior enhancements. The Wizard/MU was offered in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive setup similar to the Isuzu Faster pickup.
In North America, the 3-door version of first generation was launched in 1989 as Isuzu Amigo. It was powered by the 2.3-L 4ZD1 inline-4 engine, delivering 102 hp (76 kW). It was offered both as rear-wheel and all-wheel drive, where all-wheel drive received a 2.6-L 4ZE1 engine.
The 5-door version was launched as Isuzu Rodeo in US market in 1990. It was offered as 1991 MY (model year) and came with two engine options, i.e. the 2.6-L inline-4 engine delivering 89 kW (119 hp) or the 3.1-L V6 engine developed by General Motors (GM). The V6 engine was mated with automatic transmission.
The earlier European versions that were offered up till 1995 were equipped with the 2.4-L petrol (C24NE) and a 2.3-L diesel engine. The Frontera Sport received the 2.0-L petrol Vauxhall Cavalier engine (C20NE).
The Wizard was facelifted in 1995 and received new 2.0-liter petrol (X20 series) engine for short-wheelbase version, while the long-wheelbase version received a 2.2-liter petrol (X22XE) and the 2.8 diesel 4JB1-TC engine.
Second Generation (1998–2004)
The Wizard was completely redesigned for the second generation which was introduced in 1998.
In 1998, the General Motors took hold of the IBC Vehicles factory and the company decided to shift the production of Fronter to GM’s Vauxhall plant situated in Ellesmere Port. But the shutting of the Vauxhall Luton plant forced General Motors to take their decision of shifting the Frontera production back. A series of new models were launched in 1998 which was powered by a 2.2-L petrol or 2.2-L diesel (X22DTH) and 3.2-L petrol engines. In 2001, diesel engine was modified and the whole range got the 2.2-L (Y22) version.