Isuzu VehiCROSS – The Innovative SUV
Isuzu VehiCROSS was first seen as a concept vehicle at the 1993 Tokyo International Auto Show and it garnered a lot of attention. Looking at the popularity and appreciation it received, the company planned to put the vehicle into production in 1997 for Japanese market.
This unique SUV once again became popular after production because of its unique outlook and features like Torque on Demand.
The Japanese firm saw this as an opportunity to launch the vehicle in the bigger US market as the face of the company. The vehicle was finally introduced for 1999 model in US.
It is a compact 2-door crossover SUV, which gets sporty styling with aggressive forward stance and shorter overhangs. The titanium teeth seen at the front portion of the grill gives it a killer look, though yellow and other body paints make it livelier.
A touch of black always makes an SUV better than it looks otherwise; this crossover too got its due share of black. The hood insert is all black taking the sportiness all the way to the hood and beneath it; apart from that the entire lower half of the vehicle gets the black plastic cladding.
The Japanese version of the vehicle stands on 16inch alloy wheels with chrome center caps and those meant for US soils had 16 inch alloy wheels in their first year and the bigger 18inch ones for the next 2 years.
What Made VehiCROSS Stand out?
Its cross-terrain platform did the magic for it, which made use of a technology, which combines computer-controlled AWD system for on-road performance and a unique locked-differential low-gear 4WD system for enhanced off-road capabilities.
The Japanese versions of the SUV were manufactured either with 2-wheel drive non TOD option or 4-wheel drive TOD option.
On the other hand, the US versions were designed to offer a better traction on wet and icy tracks. All the models were configured in 4WD TOD style with 12 dedicated sensors meant for wheel spin detection. These unique integrated technologies made sure that the world gets inquisitive about this Japanese crossover.
The Japanese models came either with a 3.2liter engine or a 3.5liter engine, while US got only 3.5liter V6 as the sole engine option. The V6 comes mated to a 4 speed automatic gearbox with integrated winter and power modes. The engine generates a respectable 215 hp @ 5400 rpm and 230 ft-lbs. @ 3000 rpm of torque.
Talking about Isuzu Vehicross mpg details, it offers 13mpg within city limits and 17mpg on highways.
The TOD Technology
It is a unique drive system, also seen on some of the company’s vehicles. The patented technology is an automatic 4WD system, which offers the best experiences of both partial and full 4WD system. It is a standard technology on all VehiCROSS and Trooper models from the company.
The TOD system senses driving situations and accordingly manipulates and balances the torque level in between the front and rear wheels by shifting from complete rear drive to 50/50 four wheel drive in almost no time at all.
Inside the Cabin
The interior of Isuzu Vehicross is completely sporty with black and red leather trim all over the seats. It has a seating capacity for 4 passengers. The SUV gives a perfect blend of luxury and ruggedness with leather-coated tilt steering, tinted glass and collapsible, heated side mirrors. We also see a matte black panel integrated in the hood to minimize glare, aircraft like fuel filler door and a side-hinged tailgate, which carries spare tire inside the cargo door.
Generations of Vehicross
It was introduced in 1999 in US markets as an all new Japanese import, and today a used Isuzu Vehicross model can be bought at around just $3,700.
In 2000, bigger 18inch alloy wheels replaced the older 16inch wheel. The newly added body paints options include Ebony Black, Kaiser Silver Metallic, Dragon Green Mica, Victory White, Foxfire Red Mica and Proton Yellow. The all important A/C was also included as a standard option this year; however the main highlight was a 10-year/120,000-mile powertrain warranty, which happened to be the longest in US. Today, a used 2000 Vehicross would cost around $4,300.
During 2001, the final year of vehicle, we did not see any noticeable changes apart from rear child seat-tether anchors getting standard. A used 2001 Isuzu model would cost you just around $5,000.
Some of the standard features found in VehiCROSS are:
1. Cruise Control,
2. Tilt-adjustable steering wheel,
3. Climate control,
4. Leather Steering Wheel,
5. 6 total speakers, AM/FM in dash-CD stereo and Multi-CD located in dash,
6. Anti-theft alarm system,
7. Electronic brakeforce distribution,
8. Front fog/driving lights,
9. Rear spoiler and
10. Rear defogger
Some Interesting Facts About VehiCROSS
Total of 5958 vehicles were manufactured in between 1997 and 2001, out of which 1805 units were meant for Japanese markets and the rest were exported to US. VehiCROSS SUV also appeared in two major Hollywood movies; Mission to Mars in 2000 and the Vin Diesel starrer Babylon AD in 2008.
About Isuzu Motors
Isuzu Motors is a Japanese auto major with its headquarter situated in Tokyo. It is famous for making commercial vehicles and heavy trucks. The company has got manufacturing and assembly plants in Japanese cities Fujisawa, Tochigi and Hokkaido. The company is also famous for manufacturing diesel engines and by 2009 it had manufactured more than 21 milions of them. Its diesel engines are found in various models from the companies like GM, Opel and Renault. In 2005, the auto brand also became the world’s largest manufacturer of medium to heavy duty trucks. D-Max and Ascender are some of its most recent vehicles in the auto market.
It is true that Isuzu VehiCROSS was short lived, but was definitely one of the most inspiring crossovers in terms of technologies and advancements that it offered.
We’ve heard that 2013 Vehicross is in the making, but then we haven’t learned anything officially from the company; so, we’ll keep you posted as soon as Isuzu gives an official word on that!
Isuzu VehiCROSS Photo Gallery