Used 2006 Isuzu Ascender SUV

2006 Isuzu Ascender
List price range
2006 Isuzu Ascender


  • Strong six- and eight-cylinder engines, simple interior design, plenty of passenger and cargo room, long warranty.


  • Spongy suspension, numb steering, low-grade interior materials, odd exterior proportions, poor expected resale value.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

In addition to strong drivetrains and a roomy interior, the 2006 Isuzu Ascender comes with a generous warranty, which makes it worth considering over its nearly identical Chevrolet and GMC cousins.

vehicle overview

As automakers go, Isuzu has been in a deep rut. A lack of money for both new product investment and marketing has forced Isuzu to rely heavily on its partnership with GM. Both of the company's 2006 product offerings, the i-Series pickup and the Ascender SUV, are derived from existing GM products.

The Isuzu Ascender is very similar mechanically to the GMC Envoy. It comes in two lengths, with seating for up to seven passengers, many standard features and optional V8 power. Compared to the Envoy, the Ascender has slightly different styling, including a different front grille, restyled front and rear bumpers, special headlights and taillights and different 17-inch wheels. The five-passenger model is equivalent to the regular Envoy, while the seven-passenger model is modeled on the Envoy XL. To achieve its seven-person capacity, the extended-length Isuzu Ascender offers a third-row seat that, according to Isuzu, can comfortably accommodate two 6-foot-2-inch, 190-pound adult males. Fold the second- and third-row seats flat, and the bigger Ascender really shows its advantage, offering up to 100 cubic feet of cargo space -- that's almost 20 cubic feet more than a seven-passenger Explorer.

The 2006 Isuzu Ascender certainly one-ups the competition when it comes to seven-passenger comfort and overall cargo capacity. Combined with the powerful engines, it makes quite a case for itself in this hard-fought segment. In most areas, the Isuzu SUV matches up favorably. But as it's pretty much the same truck as the Envoy, we suggest comparison shopping between these vehicles, paying particular attention to final price and warranties. Also bear in mind that given Isuzu's uncertain future, resale value is likely to be lower on the Ascender.

Trim levels & features

The midsize, four-door Isuzu Ascender SUV comes in five-passenger and seven-passenger versions, each of which is available in one basic S trim level with several upgrade packages: Preferred, LS, Luxury and Limited. Two-wheel-drive S models include standard features such as power windows and locks, and dual-zone manual climate control with rear-seat climate controls. Select the Preferred Equipment Package to pick up a power driver seat, keyless entry and cruise control, or order a four-wheel-drive S model to get them standard. Midgrade LS package models get all of the above, plus 17-inch wheels, a moonroof, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and an in-dash CD changer. The Luxury package includes monochromatic paint, leather seating, Bose audio and heated seats. The Limited includes upgraded exterior mirrors, automatic wipers, a power passenger seat, power-adjustable pedals and driver seat memory.

2006 Highlights

For 2006, minor package revisions and stability control highlight the changes for the Isuzu SUV.

Performance & mpg

A 4.2-liter inline six rated at 275 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque is standard on all Ascenders. This engine can outmuscle many of its competitors' V8s, let alone their V6 offerings. Optional on the seven-passenger Isuzu Ascender is a 5.3-liter V8. It generates 300 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque and includes Displacement-on-Demand technology, which saves fuel by using only half of the engine's cylinders while cruising. Both engines come with a four-speed automatic transmission, and both two- and four-wheel-drive configurations are available. With the V8, the Isuzu SUV can tow up to 7,100 pounds.


All Ascender models come with four-wheel antilock disc brakes and stability control. Side curtain airbags are optional. Government crash tests of the Ascender's five-passenger Envoy twin yielded three out of five stars for frontal-impact protection and a perfect five stars for side impacts (when equipped with side airbags). The IIHS rated the SUV "Marginal" (the second lowest of four) in frontal-offset crash testing.


The standard 4.2-liter engine is impressive enough on its own, so there's no going wrong with either of the Isuzu's engine options. Unfortunately, numb steering and an overly soft state of suspension tune make the 2006 Isuzu Ascender feel ponderous during hard cornering. Less enthusiastic driving generates a smooth, comfortable ride.


The five-passenger Isuzu Ascender should appeal to smaller families who don't need a full three rows of seating. Interior materials and detailing are similar to those of the Envoy, which is to say below average, though the Limited trim adds leather and wood trim. Should you need to haul stuff, the seven-passenger Ascender has 22.3 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third-row seat. With the second- and third-row seats lowered, it has 100 cubic feet of capacity, considerably more than most midsize SUVs.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2006 Isuzu Ascender.

Drive it before you buy it
great deal by Jeff,06/27/2006
Large suv, plenty of room for all sized people and cargo. Has plenty of power with 6 cylinder; if you are looking for a large suv check it out but drive it before you buy it. It is large, but you can get a good deal on pricing. Get the preferred package which adds to its good looks and you get lots of extra goodies.
Save Your Money Buy A Dodge!
I was told this is the top of it's class. It had a high towing capacity. I needed something to tow my boat and that would be good on gas. I've owned this SUV for almost 5 months and I had to go back to the dealer 6 or 7 time to fix it. I should of done more research on this SUV. I went to the dealer after the second visit in the first week of owning the SUV and talked to the man and told him if I could have my older car back and he could keep the $3500 I gave them, well I guess you no how that turned out. The Isuzu is a Chevy. I called Isuzu and told them all the problems that I'm having; the man that should help me said "I'm sorry sir, but I pull my boat with a Dodge." Now that was funny to me.
poor quality, not worth the money!
scott kelso,11/01/2006
I have only had my Ascender for 4 months now and I have been back to the dealership 6 times. Driving lamps 3 times, rear seatbelt 3 times, transmission 4 times and body molding 2 times. Transmission shifts hard on long trips. Driving lights keep fogging up. The front bumper moves up and down while driving. Center console wiggles by just putting your arm on it.
Bargain for a solid SUV
A solidly built SUV at a great price is good choice for anyone who wants a basic utility vehicle. The engine is great, with lots of power and good gas mileage. Speaking of gas mileage, remember, if you live in a cold climate and have a lead foot, every SUV will eat gas, but GM's powerful engine lets you use a light foot and still get sufficient power. I average 19 mpg in everyday driving, 21 on the highway as long as you keep it below 80. That's probably as good as real-world results for most crossovers. So if what you want is a car that has more room, get a crossover. If you like to haul, tow and drive on dirt, these GMs are good choices, and the Isuzu has the best warranty (pre 2007).
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Features & Specs

14 city / 20 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
291 hp @ 6000 rpm
14 city / 19 hwy
Seats 7
4-speed automatic
277 hp @ 6000 rpm
14 city / 19 hwy
Seats 7
4-speed automatic
277 hp @ 6000 rpm
14 city / 20 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
291 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2006 Isuzu Ascender SUV features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested

More about the 2006 Isuzu Ascender
Used 2006 Isuzu Ascender SUV Overview

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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Isuzu Ascender?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Isuzu lease specials
Check out Isuzu Ascender lease specials