Published on December 27th, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Isuzu VehiCROSS, A SUV Ahead Of Its Time
The Isuzu VehiCROSS was a halo car for truck-specialist company Isuzu. Produced from 1997 it shared much of its components with the Isuzu Trooper, including both its 3.2 L and 3.5 L V6 engine that produces 215bhp at 5400 rpm and 312Nm at 3000 rpm of torque. The vehicle also featured the TOD (Torque on Demand) 4-wheel Drive system produced by BorgWarner. It is a small, sporty 2-door crossover vehicle with aggressive external styling, including wheels towards the ends of the vehicle, an aggressive forward stance, titanium “teeth” in the grille, a black hood-insert, and black plastic cladding the entire lower half of the vehicle. The VehiCROSS came equipped with 16″ polished wheels in 1999 and 18″ chrome wheels during the remainder of production.
Sales were intentionally limited, with only 4,309 vehicles being produced between 1999 and 2001. As it stands, the vehicle has an obscure role in history. Upon its unveiling at the 1993 Tokyo International Auto Show and ultimate Japanese production release in 1997, the VehiCROSS was a design ahead of its time. It was the first time that a Japanese automaker had brought a concept vehicle to production with so little design changes and in so short a time (accomplished through the use of inexpensive ceramic body-stamping dies and the reuse of readily-available Isuzu parts) .
The truck was intended to showcase Isuzu’s off-road technology, exemplified by the monotube shocks with external heat-expansion chambers (technology normally reserved for off-road motorcycle racing). There is still a handful of units running in Malaysia. Its rarity has made its asking price move upwards even after all these years.