Used 2001 Isuzu VehiCROSS Review

Edmunds expert review

A stylish but otherwise slow-selling SUV that's missing the "utility" in S-U-V.

What's new for 2001

Rear child seat-tether anchors are the only new additions for 2001.

Vehicle overview

Isuzu's VehiCROSS began as an innovative concept vehicle that garnered loads of attention back in 1993 and then entered limited production for the Japanese market. Because of its excellent reception in Japan, the continued popularity of sport-utility vehicles here in the States, and the company's need for an image vehicle in the U.S., Isuzu decided to bring the VehiCROSS across the pond last year.

Powered by a 215-horsepower, 3.5-liter, direct-injection DOHC V6, the VehiCROSS comes with a four-speed automatic transmission with winter and power modes. It also boasts technical innovations like an advanced Torque-On-Demand (TOD) four-wheel-drive system, limited-slip differential and four-wheel ABS. Isuzu's TOD system (the same one found on the Trooper) senses driving conditions and adjusts the torque balance between the front and rear wheels, changing from 100-percent rear drive to 50/50 four-wheel drive in a matter of milliseconds.

Isuzu's front double-wishbone torsion bar and rear four-link coil suspension are enhanced by an industry first: an extruded aluminum shock absorber with attached expansion chamber, which makes for greater endurance and superior shock cooling. On rough roads, the truck's 18-inch alloy wheels and modified steel-belted radial tires are stopped by ventilated 11-inch front and 12.3-inch rear disc brakes.

The truck's capabilities as a trailblazer seem solid, but what most people first notice about the vehicle is its unconventional, techno-styling. The VehiCROSS has an expansive windshield, composite bumpers, underbody moldings, roof-end spoiler, integrated headlamps with marker lights, and unpainted polypropylene covering the lower section of the truck's body. An Isuzu spokesperson said that the truck is meant to appeal to consumers who "want to be different." We'd have to agree. Inside, the vehicle seats four and provides a sports car atmosphere complete with red and black leather-trimmed seating. With tinted glass, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, and collapsible, heated side mirrors, the VehiCROSS mixes ruggedness with luxury. Features include a matte black panel inset in the hood to reduce glare, roof rail system, aircraft-type fuel filler door, and a side-hinged tailgate that carries the spare tire securely inside the cargo door.

The $995 special edition "Ironman" option, available only in white, gets you front seats embossed with the "Ironman Triathlon" label, a special hood insert and a few more decals on the tailgate and beneath the C-pillar.

Available in only three colors: Ebony Black, Astral Silver Metallic and Victory White, Isuzu believes the VehiCROSS is in a category all its own. Not quite a mini-sport-ute or a big SUV, the 2001 VehiCROSS is a contemporary vehicle that isn't quite like any other. Whether you want to buy one or not, this truck will be hard to miss.

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.