The 2008 Isuzu Ascender is a midsize sport utility vehicle (SUV) manufactured by General Motors for Isuzu Motors. The first generation of the Isuzu Ascender was introduced in the U.S. in 2003. The 2008 Isuzu Ascender was the last generation Isuzu vehicle before the company announced its departure from the American market. In keeping with the company’s exit strategy, Isuzu Ascender’s production was stopped in June 2008.
The Isuzu Ascender is also considered to be a traditional truck-type SUV. The Ascender is a re-trimmed version of the GMC Envoy and Chevrolet Trailblazer. Despite poor sales, the predecessor of the 2006 model was celebrated as a winner in its class for lowest operating cost and lowest fuel cost in 2006.
Body Styles: midsize SUV
Engines: 4.2-liter six-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Isuzu Ascender S
The 2008 Isuzu Ascender has largely remained unchanged. It has all the characteristics and features of its predecessor. Some of the new additions in the 2008 Isuzu Ascender are reconfigured option packages and standard side-curtain airbags.
The exterior of the Isuzu Ascender has remained largely unchanged since its introduction in the market. General Motors has slightly tweaked the styling of the 2008 Isuzu Ascender to make it look different from its predecessor. Some of the exterior design refinements include Isuzu-specific wheels, unique lighting, and a different front grille and bumpers.
Based on a 113-inch wheelbase, the 2008 Isuzu Ascender measures 191.6 inches in length, 76.1 inches in width, and stands 71.9 inches tall. Some of the exterior enhancements are available with different packages. The Preferred Equipment Package has body-side moldings. The mid-level LS Package has a limited-slip rear differential, a sunroof, and heated exterior mirrors. Meanwhile, the Luxury package has color-keyed bumpers.
The interior design of the 2008 Isuzu Ascender appeals to young families and value conscious buyers who do not require third row seats. The comfort and convenience offerings are available in different packages such as the Preferred Equipment Package, mid-level LS package, and the top-of-the-line Luxury package.
The Ascender offers generous legroom, although the low mounted rear-seat cushioning can be uncomfortable for bigger adults. The item storage space provided is too small and can be inconvenient. The rear seat can be folded to extend the cargo space. In fact, the Ascender has the largest cargo space in its segment with rear seats folded.
The basic S trim level features dual-zone air-conditioning with rear-seat controls, 60/40-split bench rear seat, power windows and locks, a CD stereo, and velour cloth upholstery. The Preferred Equipment Package has power mirrors, power driver seat, cruise control, rear privacy glass, remote keyless entry, and other convenience features.
The mid-level LS Package has a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a six-disc CD changer, while the Luxury package offers leather seating with power/heated front seats, power-adjustable pedals, a premium Bose audio system, and driver seat memory.
Performance & Handling
Powered by a 4.2-liter inline-six engine generating 285 horsepower and 276 lb-ft of torque mated with four-speed automatic transmission, the 2008 Isuzu Ascender is capable of towing up to 5800 pounds. The Ascender is available with four-wheel drive or rear-drive powertrain options. The 2008 Isuzu Ascender comes with an impressive seven-year or 75,000-mile and basic three-year or 50,000-mile warranty.
The 2008 Isuzu Ascender is equipped with a fair list of safety features. Some of the noteworthy features that are standard in the Ascender are four-wheel anti-lock braking system, child seat anchors, front and rear ventilated disc brakes, engine immobilizer, and dusk-sensing headlamps. The SUV also comes with two front and rear headrests, rear-door child safety locks, daytime running lights, stability and traction control, tire pressure monitoring, and electronic brake force distribution.
The 2008 Isuzu Ascender also has front and rear head airbags along with passenger airbag occupant-sensing deactivation. The Isuzu Ascender received good ratings in passenger safety tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
EPA Fuel Economy
Isuzu Ascender: 14/20 mpg city/highway
- Comfortable highway ride
- Generous cargo and passenger room
- Good performance
- Trailer-towing capability
You Won't Like
- No third row seating
- Aging design
- Some average-quality interior materials
- Unsettled and vague handling
- Average fuel economy
- Hard seat buttons
- Poor resale value
With many faults and the exit of Isuzu from American market, not a good choice for buyers.
If You Like This Vehicle
- GMC Envoy
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
- Kia Sorento
- Ford Explorer