Used 1996 Isuzu Oasis Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

New Isuzu minivan is a clone of the Honda Odyssey, except for the grille, badging and wheels. The Isuzu offers a better warranty, too.

Vehicle overview

For several years, Honda has been purchasing Rodeo sport utilities from Isuzu, and rebadging them as the Honda Passport. Honda dealers were clamoring for an SUV, and rather than spend money developing an all-new sport utility, the company forged a relationship with Isuzu. This year, Honda is selling an upscale version of the Isuzu Trooper as the Acura SLX, to capitalize on the booming luxury-SUV market.

To reciprocate the favor, Honda allows Isuzu to rebadge a Japanese-market sedan for sale across the Pacific, and has donated the slow-selling Odyssey minivan to fill a niche in Isuzu's U.S. lineup. The Oasis has a different grille, different wheels, and an Isuzu-embossed steering wheel center hub. Approximately 5,000 Oasis vans will be on sale during 1996, in S and LS trim levels.

The Oasis is actually a better deal than the Odyssey, mainly because Isuzu offers a more comprehensive warranty, and the few options available are priced by the factory, not individual dealers, which reduces the dealer's ability to rip off the consumer. Powered by a strong 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine and featuring four conventional doors, the Oasis scores well in government crash tests, and offers side-impact protection that meets next year's passenger car standards. Antilock brakes are standard equipment.

The Oasis S can accommodate up to seven passengers, and LS models have center row captain's chairs. The third row bench seat folds forward, flips backwards for tailgate parties, or folds away into the floor to create a flat load floor. With seats removed and folded, the LS model can hold up to 102.5 cubic feet of cargo.

Despite the distinct lack of V6 power, we think the Oasis offers solid value as a family wagon. It's roomy, attractive and well-equipped. Best of all, prices are in line with the new Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable station wagons, as well as the Toyota Camry LE Wagon and Volkswagen Passat GLX Wagon. Oasis offers more versatility and cargo capacity than any of these competitors, an excellent warranty, and proven Honda mechanicals. What's not to like?

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.