2004 Isuzu Ascender LS 4.2 litre V6 from North America
Reliable and relatively trouble free
Speedometer/tachometer started acting up at about 30000 miles. I did a little research and found that this is common on these cars. I bought a couple of new stepper motors from ebay and replaced the original. This required taking the instrument panel off, but I'm pretty handy, so it only took about an hour.
Overall, it's been reliable. We traded a Rodeo for it because the Rodeo was built on a truck chassis (and rode like it). The Ascender has a much smoother ride. It's a big car, however, and gives me the overall impression of being 'bulky'. My wife loves it, however. The third row of seats is great when family visits, or my kids have friends over, and is easy to fold down.
We've taken a couple of long road trips, and overall it's a very smooth driver. I expected better mileage... averaging 14-17 mpg in mixed city driving. Not long after we got it, my wife wished we had gotten the luxury model, because she realized we would have it for a long time.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th April, 2010
We have a 2004 as well, and it is also built on a "truck chassis" as it is a full frame SUV. It is smooth, but doesn't handle multiple large bumps too well, and hops around, especially on curves. We get around 24 mpg on trips, and don't do a lot of around town, so the mileage isn't too bad.
We just put about $900 into various minor repairs at 85K miles, but now it is making the infamous "jet engine" sound underneath, and research leads me to believe the transmission may have issues as it is coming from under the truck and not under the hood. The two issues are the fan clutch and the transmission that make the sound I am hearing. Both of these are very expensive fixes... especially the transmission. Trailblazer owners are looking for a recall on the fan clutch, and if they succeed, I hope they include the Ascender as it is about 95% Trailblazer.
Unfortunately, I couldn't talk my wife into trading it this year when the minor issues started racking up the bills. She wants to be free of car payments. Now we'll likely be making payments on a new transmission! Could be my last GM product as this will be the second one I have owned that needed thousands in repairs before even getting to 100K miles. My other car was an Olds Cutlass, and I was in about $6,000 of repairs by 98K miles and it was traded with $100's more in repairs still needed. A bit extreme for a highway driven car. Time to try another company.