Premium midsize SUV; Built in Japan
  • 2-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $3,800 – $6,200*

2000 Isuzu VehiCross

2000 Isuzu VehiCross

2000 Isuzu VehiCross interior

2001 Isuzu VehiCross

2001 Isuzu VehiCross

  • Acceleration
  • Cargo room
  • Maneuverability
  • Entry/exit
  • Noise
  • Visibility

Not a hot prospect for most people’s want-to-buy list, the curious-looking VehiCross might be viewed as an answer to a question no one had asked. Priced against roomier, more traditional four-door SUVs, any value that it has–or had–must be emotional in nature rather than rational.


Billed as a “high-performance sports vehicle,” Isuzu’s limited-production compact SUV had two doors and four-wheel drive. It actually evolved from a 1993 concept vehicle, seen at the Tokyo Motor Show. Although the VehiCross was more unique than most, sport-utility vehicle rivals included the Ford Explorer Sport, Isuzu’s own Amigo, Jeep Wrangler, and Subaru Forester.

About five inches shorter in wheelbase and overall length than its Amigo stablemate, the VehiCross was much heavier and more expensive, thanks to a bigger engine, more sophisticated 4WD system, and longer standard-equipment list. The steel body was complemented with unpainted, composite plastic (polypropylene) lower cladding for chip/scratch resistance. Black matte paint on the hood was intended to cut down glare. Swinging open to the left, beneath a top-hinged rear window, the tailgate enclosed the VehiCross’s spare tire.

Appearance aside, the VehiCross was mostly distinguished by its running gear (borrowed mainly from the big Trooper), including a 3.5-liter V6 with four-speed automatic transmission and “terrain-sensing” Torque-On-Demand four-wheel drive. The 4WD system did not need to be disengaged on dry pavement. It continually evaluated axle speeds, throttle position, and brake/ABS use, adjusting front/rear torque distribution every 20 milliseconds. A dashboard readout indicated how much torque was being sent to the front axle.

All-disc antilock braking was standard, along with 16-inch tires. Recaro-brand front bucket seats were leather-upholstered in distinctive red/black. Only the right front seat slid forward for access to a split folding rear bench.

Yearly Updates

2000 VehiCross
Nothing other than new colors marked the 2000 models. Halfway through its second season, 18-inch tires replaced the previous 16-inchers. At the same time, standard air conditioning was upgraded to automatic climate control. Isuzu’s powertrain warranty was doubled this year, to 10 years or 120,000 miles. An Ironman option package included a roof rack along with special badging and graphics.
2001 VehiCross
Except for the addition of rear child-seat tethers, nothing was new for the VehiCross in what turned out to be its final year.


longitudinal front-engine/4-wheel drive

A 215-horsepower, dual-overhead-cam V6 engine, generating 215 horsepower, worked with a four-speed automatic transmission.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/213
Engine HP 215
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 230
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic



Road Test

Although the VehiCross might look unorthodox, it’s among the better-performing SUVs, delivering good acceleration, accurate steering, and good grip and balance in turns. Better yet, you get those benefits without excessive body lean. Ground clearance close to 8 inches helps enhance its offroad capabilities, too.

On the down side, the V6 engine sounds coarse under even moderate throttle. In addition, a test model suffered plenty of intrusive gear whine, as well as a wind leak from a driver’s window. Fuel economy in early testing averaged 14.7 mpg.

Although the VehiCross suffers from a choppy ride over uneven pavement, most bumps are easily absorbed. Braking performance and pedal feel are satisfactory, but nothing special.

High step-in and a low roofline translate to difficult entry/exit, though seats are comfortable–especially the Recaro-brand front buckets, which are emphatically a rarity in vehicles of this sort. The cabin is roomy enough, too. Shared with Isuzu’s Amigo, the dashboard has hard-to-reach audio and climate controls. The rear bench splits 50/50 and folds flat, but cargo space is tight.

Visibility is dangerously obstructed over-the-shoulder. Worse yet, the slotlike rear window and intrusive spare-tire shell conspire to hide virtually all objects behind the vehicle.


Model Tested: 2000 Isuzu VehiCross

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 5
Fuel Economy - 4
Ride Quality - 2
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 2


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 7


Value - 3

Total: 43


2-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
91.8 162.6 70.5 66.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
50.4 22.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.2 35.4 43.1 29.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Audio system
Description: A defective connector behind the radio causes poor reception of AM stations from lack of amplification. (1999)
Rough idle
Description: Intake manifold gaskets on V6 engines crack resulting in poor idle, rough running, and check-engine light. (1999)
Description: Aftermarket remote-starting devices may cause the transmission to upshift roughly. Removing the remote kit will correct the condition. (1999-2000)

Recall History

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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