Overview & Reviews
The Isuzu Ascender was a product of Isuzu's alliance with General Motors. In terms of design and running gear, it was pretty much identical to GM's other truck-based SUVs such as the Chevrolet TrailBlazer. Only in terms of styling and trim levels did the Ascender offer any significant variation.
The Isuzu Ascender lacked brand recognition, a third-row seat and some desirable features. It also lagged in terms of overall refinement. Only its low price stood out. Given that Isuzu no longer sells cars in the United States, this is a lame duck best avoided.
Most Recent Isuzu Ascender
The Isuzu Ascender was launched in 2003 as a seven-passenger extended-wheelbase model only. The smaller five-passenger version was first released in 2004. Both rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive variants were available. Power for the Isuzu Ascender came from a 4.2-liter, inline six-cylinder engine. It produced 285-291 horsepower (depending on year) and 277 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission was standard. Older models had the option of a 290-hp 5.3-liter V8. In 2005, the V8 was equipped with Displacement on Demand technology to improve fuel economy. But the V8 and seven-passenger Ascender were discontinued for the 2007 model year.
Trim levels were added and subtracted over time, as were equipment items. Generally, though, base Ascenders were sparsely equipped, while upper trims were borderline luxurious. Standard equipment included dual-zone manual climate control (with rear-seat controls), power locks and windows, power accessories and a CD player stereo. Available items included power mirrors and driver seat, power-adjustable pedals, keyless entry, cruise control, sunroof, leather upholstery, heated seats, driver memory functions, a six-CD changer and upgraded audio.
In road tests, we found the Isuzu Ascender to offer a comfortable ride and decent power. However, the Ascender's handling was rather sloppy. Feedback to the driver was numb and slow. Buyers looking for an urban-oriented SUV might be disappointed and would be better off looking at more evolved midsize SUVs or crossovers. Off-road, the 4WD Ascender comes more into its own given its body-on-frame construction and low-range gearing.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 124.00
Never Again!! - 2005 Isuzu Ascender
By bamaboy36863 - November 11 - 1:00 pm
This car has been nothing but problems. First year we had it, AC motor went out and it took over a week to repair. Blower motor will start to weaken when AC runs for an extended period of time. Third year, speakers in rear and left front began working intermittently or not at all. At the same time the front passenger, rear driver side and hatch locks have worked intermittently. Both underneath panels under front seats where seat adjusters are located have broken loose due to inferior construction. We are NOT rough on this vehicle at all and it has not held up "cosmetically". Engine-wise, no problems, yet.
Isuzu Ascender - 2004 Isuzu Ascender
By Jim McLoughlin - September 30 - 10:00 am
Gas mileage is better than expected. Comfort on long trip is very good. Plenty of power in the hills, pulling a trailer or passing.
Best Car So Far - 2004 Isuzu Ascender
By berndogsurfer - September 23 - 10:00 am
Much better looking than a GMC Envoy. Has style to it. A real touch of Class. I have the preferred equipment package and that is just right for me. I highly recommend it. Looks great in gold.
2003 ISUZU - 2003 Isuzu Ascender
By Batman16 - September 9 - 10:00 am
We have only 500 miles on our Isuzu so far, but this feels like a quality piece of work. Everything about this auto is smooth and quite. The ride is great.
Check Engine Light - 2004 Isuzu Ascender
By Chelo - August 4 - 11:46 am
Overall, I adore my Ascender-Limited! Purchased January 2004. She is loaded, drives smooth, exceptional Bose sound system, Onstar - everything I wanted in an SUV. Only one problem; 7 visits to dealer because of the "check engine light". Replaced ignition, cooling fan system, battery replaced and new battery was drained, and only has 16K miles.
Great value and a true workhorse - 2003 Isuzu Ascender
By Katmandu-1 - August 3 - 2:00 am
If you like the GMC Envoy XL or the Chevy Trailblazer EXT then check out the Isuzu. The Isuzu specific version including unique front grill, headlights, bumpers, and fenders. Most of all, we liked paying 4 grand less than for the GMC/Chevy, and getting a better warranty! We wish front seats were not so stiff, but incredible mix of interior features more than makes up for things.
Great Buy - 2005 Isuzu Ascender
By Gail ETaylor - August 1 - 7:40 am
This is my second Asscender. I love them its very dependable I have had this one soon to by 5 years other than regular maintenance only one shop repair has occurred in 5 years. This is the best SUV I have owned. I would recommend it to anyone.
Warning Will Robibson - 2004 Isuzu Ascender
By jmingo - May 25 - 4:13 pm
Had nothing but problems with my Ascender. Major vibrations at 65 mph .2 new rearends, 2 new transfer case .2 new driveshafts.Broke down on Hwy, blew transmission transfer case, Customer support from isuzu is pitiful and downright rude. never buy from Izusu.
good SUV - 2005 Isuzu Ascender
By Scott - May 5 - 10:13 am
I'm not a big fan of any SUV basically because they all look the same. Having said that, my 2005 Ascender runs perfectly. The suspension is just fine; it's one of the few SUVs that have a truck suspension rather than an automobile suspension. Oh and by the way it has the best turning ratio than anything I've ever driven, and I used to have a Chevette.
One great SUV! - 2003 Isuzu Ascender
By Scottl29 - March 28 - 2:00 am
I purchased a 2002 axiom and had it end up being a lemon. Don't believe that it can really tow what it saws. I towed my boat at 2500 lbs total and it bent the axles, ruined the brakes, and had problems with the drive shaft. I stepped up on trade to the Ascender. Awesome. You can tell it is manufactured differently. A lot sturdier, more power, and more comfortable as well. I love everything about this SUV and would buy another one in a heart beat!