The Isuzu Piazza is a small, sporty 3-door liftback coupé which was manufactured by Isuzu from 1981 to 1992 in two generations. The Isuzu Piazza was marketed as the Isuzu Impulse in North America and as the Holden Piazza in Australia.
The first generation Impulse was a rear-wheel drive car, and in the United Kingdom it was the first widely available Isuzu passenger car. The second generation was available as front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. It was the basis for the lower-priced Gemini Coupé, known as the Geo Storm in the US market.
As of 2010, the number of registered Impulses in North America totaled only 2,300, making Impulses very rare. The car was produced in very low numbers, totaling slightly over 13,000 units, with that number including the production of the Isuzu Stylus.
In the UK the Piazza was sold in only one trim level and only Turbo form, with a 147 bhp 2.0 Turbocharged engine (4ZC1-T).
The Piazza had a shaky start in the UK with the first importer Isuzu GB, based in Maidstone, Kent going out of business in 1986, and London car dealer Alan Day bought the remaining stock of Piazzas at a bargain price. These cars were sold by Alan Day at significantly reduced price; the main reason Isuzu GB went out of business was due to high unit price. In 1987 International Motors Group of West Bromwich (IM Group) were awarded the official Isuzu franchise for the UK. (They also at the time represented Subaru and Hyundai in the UK.) IM Group still marketed the Piazza in single trim/engine form, but they only sold the updated 'Lotus' Piazza. The earlier cars sold by Day became known as 'pre-Lotus' cars; the suspension and handling of these pre-Lotus cars was derided by UK Press as poor, especially the live axle arrangement at the rear, which by the late '80s was seen to be antiquated. The updated 'Handling by Lotus' car was available from 1987 and the handling, although keeping the live axle arrangement, was transformed by Lotus in the UK after significant development work, involving modified suspension layouts, larger brakes, specially produced dampers and Goodyear tyres. The 'Handling by Lotus' cars had updated interior and exterior equipment. The exterior having a redesigned rear, with a large 'hoop' spoiler, new rear lamps, new rear badging with 'Handling by Lotus' badges and removal of the rubber side bumper strakes for a cleaner, more modern look. The updated interior trim was mainly 'tweed' check fabric, an updated centre console, but the loss of air conditioning to keep the price down for the UK market.
Isuzu (UK) Ltd, the West Bromwich-based importer, sold the Lotus Piazza from 1987 to 1989, before concentrating on the 4WD Isuzu Trooper. They never sold the second generation Piazza in the UK, nor was it sold in any European market.
In Australia, the Piazza was introduced very late (April 1986), and offered only in Turbo form. It was badged as a Holden Piazza. The first generation Piazza was replaced by the Opel Vectra based Holden Calibra in Australia.
Performance of the Turbo model was comparable to the Mitsubishi Starion/Dodge Conquest, as demonstrated by the fact that the acceleration and handling numbers reported by the auto enthusiast magazines were within 0.1–0.2 seconds between the vehicles.
In the US, the Impulse was replaced by the second generation Impulse after the end of the 1989 model year. However, in Japan, the first generation Piazza continued production and was available through the 1991 model year.
1988 Isuzu Piazza XE Handling by Lotus (JDM)
1994cc I4 Turbo Engine generates 148hp 5-Speed Manaul Transmission
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