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Joe Wants an SUV?
2005 Isuzu Ascender
By Alain Gayot

In short: A Utilitarian SUV

With the plethora of SUVs out there, it’s hard to figure out where to start your SUV-hunt these days. With Isuzu the acronym “SUV” could mean: “Sport. Utility. Value,” with value meaning what you get for your money: features, options, warranty and gas mileage. The Ascender does well in all these areas, and you can pick up a base version of the vehicle for about $27,000. However, once loaded with the “Preferred Equipment,” the “LS” and “Luxury Package,” our tester ran up to a cool $35,000.

Yes, it is 4-wheel drive and fully automatic. It comes in 5 or 7 passenger configurations, and 275 or 290 horsepower for the V6 and V8 respectively. Towing capacity varies from 5,700 to 6,800.

As you step in the cabin, all of the luxury additions make the interior very nice, with heat for the bottom and back part of the seat in a spacious environment with a bunch of cup holders. Seats are easy to maneuver, and converting from full cargo to passenger configuration is a no-brainer. You get the feel you are in a Chevy, which is actually exactly what you are getting, since this Japanese-branded SUV is ninety percent North American. All the components are General Motors: engine, switches and knobs. And as with all automobiles in the GM line up, you get OnStar.

Warranty/Service3 year/50,000mile Limited Basic; 7 year/75,000 mile limited Powertrain Roadside Assistance; 6 year/100,000 mile limited anti-corrosion.

Price as tested: $35,230

Technical Specifications

Performance Data

Engine: 4.21 6-Cyl DOHC 275-HP Aluminum Engine

Transmission: 4-Speed Automatic Transmission with Overdrive

Safety: Driver & Front Passenger Air Bags, Front Passenger Airbag Suppression System, Collapsible Steering Column

Top Speed: n/a

Acceleration: n/a

Braking: 4-Wheel Ventilated Disc Antilock Brakes

Fuel Economy: 15 city/20 highway

Handling: Rack & Pinion Power Steering, Coil Spring Front Suspension, 5-Link Coil Spring Rear Suspension

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Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated: 07/24/08 HC)

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