1999 Isuzu Vehicross

I looooove these things! They're on my list to own someday. I'm one of the people that cringes at most sport utility vehicles. Let's face it: despite their girth, most are pretty un-manly and get used to haul groceries and soccer equipment. On top of that, they consume heinous amounts of fuel per gallon. And they look ugly.

The Vehicross gets my vote for Coolest SUV however. In fact, it's probably the only cool SUV, except perhaps for stuff like the Mercedes Galendenwagen or Land Rover Defender 90, but those are ridiculously expensive to acquire and maintain.

I'll be the first to admit part of the charm is the otherworldly styling, looking like it was something designed for a cross between Blade Runner and Baywatch. But I like Blade Runner and I like some of Baywatch. I mean, the year was 1997, if you're gonna make a two-door SUV, it's got to stand out and Isuzu did an excellent job because not only did it stand out, it remarkably still looks good today.

Underneath the spacey metal is equally impressive technology. While Japan was privy to either a 2WD or 4WD version, Americans were thankfully just given the amazing 4WD version. The unique Torque-On-Demand (TOD) system had 12 different sensors detecting which wheel was experiencing the most amount of spin and redirected power to the wheel with the least. This made handling and control over even the most wet and icy of roads manageable.

The engine was a 3.5-liter V6 good for about 215 horsepower. It got the job done. I've heard people say it's even sporty feeling.

Inside, the interior was the only week spot, with a dashboard recycled from the Isuzu Trooper or something. But they spiced it up with cool two-town seating and doors, this one in red.

Sadly, only around 5,000 were produced between 1997 and 2001. These are hard to find now and command a premium when they do hit the market because the loving owners almost always know how rare they are. Fortunately, the price is usually worth it. These were solid, reliable cars with no glaring issues over time. They can go for 100k-200k+ miles before major repairs. Isuzu was a good brand. There is nothing quite like the Vehicross anymore.

Available here on ebay with bidding starting at $10k.

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