Isuzu VehiCross Origins
The VehiCross was first introduced as a concept car at the 1993 motor show. Isuzu realized that to capitalize on the SUV trend, the VehiCross needed immediate distribution. Isuzu stipulated that the vehicle would have quick approval in design, finance, and distribution. A dedicated team was established to bring the VehiCross to the market to cut down on development time. A ceramic die system was created to build the pieces of the vehicle. Although quick, the ceramic die process means that only a limited amount of vehicles can be made in comparison to cast iron dies. The VehiCross was limited to a 2400-vehicle run a year before the die would wear out. Isuzu said that a two-year run was possible, and it wasn’t lying.
The VehiCross was discontinued in 2001, just eight years before Isuzu left the U.S. market. About the Isuzu VehiCross
The VehiCross was built on top of a truck chassis. The VehiCross had incredibly deep wheel-wells that housed big 16-inch wheels. In 2000, the wheel size increased to 18-inches. To accent the large wheels is a black polypropylene strip that wraps around the vehicle. There isn’t any paint on the strips, so scratches and chipping would not appear.
Other features on the outside of the vehicle include aerodynamic headlights running on a halogen lamp, a black-hood insert, and a fancy fuel filler door that locks. A rear spoiler also provided some extra flair.
Under the hood was an impressive torque on demand system that allowed the driver to increase torque when pulling a heavy load and transfers power between the four-wheel drive system evenly during slipping. A 3.5-liter V-6 engine produces a heavy 215 horsepower. The engine had a four-speed automatic with a gear selection. The car was also fitted with automatically-locking hubs. The suspension was front independent, giving the VehiCross some off road ability.
The VehiCross Fuel economy was pretty terrible even as far as SUVs go, getting 13/17 mpg city/highway.
The funky style of the car is sometimes a drawback for potential buyers. The body is space aged. The back cargo door has the spare tire mounted inside, meaning there is a large bulge in the door that sticks out like a sore thumb. The inside of the car is a bit cramped for most drivers. Also, visibility out the VehiCross is miserable.
The VehiCross came with four-wheel anti-lock brakes standard. An anti-theft system was also installed as standard. The brakes were vented to prevent overheating and electronic brake force distribution prevented skidding. The halogen lamps were fitted with fog lamps and driving lights. The VehiCross also had rear limited slip differential.
Inside the vehicle are front Recaro bucket seats trimmed in red and black leather. The back seat is a bench but with a 50/50 split and a recliner feature for the weary traveler. The door trim is faux-carbon for a futuristic look. Isuzu VehiCross Features
The vehicle is perhaps best known as a movie star; the VehiCross appeared in the 2000 smash hit, ""Mission to Mars"" as a modified convertible.
The VehiCross had the feel of a gimmick car. The strange design and lack of any real ""wow"" features, except for the engine, made the VehiCross a bit of a tough sell. The VehiCross felt like an SUV, but lacked all the strength and workhorse characteristics of a real SUV.
Entertainment options on the VehiCross were fairly standard for the time. An AM/FM radio with cassette player and four speakers came standard on the 1999 model. The Tape player was upgraded to a single CD-player in 2000. Two extra speakers were introduced in 2001, bringing the total up to six. A multi-CD carrier was mounted into the dash as well.
The steering wheel had tilt-adjustment. Cruise control was standard as well as speed proportional power steering. Power mirrors were heated to prevent ice buildup, power locks and one-touch power windows were standard, and keyless entry was also provided.
Only purchase the VehiCross if you are married to the design of the vehicle. Performance is lackluster, and the resell value is low. Due to the low numbers of vehicles built, however; the VehiCross can be seen as a collector’s item.