2005 Isuzu Ascender Limited V8 from North America


A very well-rounded vehicle that meets all my needs with style and comfort


Nothing at all so far :)

General Comments:

I am reviewing the Isuzu Ascender Limited. I also test drove similar versions of the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Chrysler Pacifica and the “Twin” vehicles to the Ascender - GMC Envoy Denali XL and Chevy Trailblazer EXT.

Very comfortable. Nice ride – nice comfy seats – nice handling, though it has taken some time to get used to the weight and length of it. Very different from my Jeep Grand Cherokee. The center console is a bit lacking compared to the Honda’s fabulous one, but it is not unusable, just lacking the multitude of cupholders and hidey-holes of the Pilot.

The seat belts are easy to use and comfortable. Much better than the Pilot where I found the roof mounted seatbelts a hassle for my kids to put on, and annoying to see in my rear-view mirror while driving.

The 3rd row seat and its ease of use was a major selling point for me. I can easily get my aged parents into the 3rd row seat without them having to step over the second row like the Highlander, whose 3rd row is almost unusable, or squeeze through a tiny gap between the seats like the Pilot. The seat itself is comfortable and roomy. Not just a “kid” seat like everything else I considered.

Visibility is a minor issue. I am short and I have found backing up to be a bit scary, even with the curb assist mirrors. I had similar visibility issues with the Pilot, though not the Highlander, which is much smaller. The visibility in the Pacifica was terrible, and ultimately scratched it from my list.

A minor annoyance has been the rear-view mirror which is a bit too low even for my short self. I find myself having to duck to look around it. Not really a problem, but felt it worth mentioning since my husband who is 6’ has the same issue.

Gas mileage is not great. I did not expect it to be in a vehicle this size and weight, though I did expect it to be a bit better. So far in a 5 month period with ~65% city and ~35% highway driving, it has averaged 15.2 miles per gallon. Both the Highlander and the Pilot get better gas mileage, but not so much better that it crossed the twins off my list.

The safety rating was a mark towards Honda and Toyota, both with 5 stars, and the Ascender only 3. It seems those breakaway motor mounts and front-end crumple zones make a difference. Side impact ratings were the same in all.

Price was very nice. Both the Pilot and the Highlander were priced much higher and were lacking at least one key feature that I felt essential to me. That left me with the twins to consider. Ultimately, the reason I bought the Ascender not the Envoy was price and warranty. Several thousand more for roughly the same vehicle and the Isuzu warranty is much better. The Trailblazer was crossed from the list simply because my husband did not like the Chevy body styling, much preferring the other two, though I will mention for those that covet cupholders - the Trailblazer has one extra cupholder in the console than both the Envoy and the Ascender.

Overall, I have been very happy with my choice, and consider it to be a very well-rounded vehicle that meets all my requirements with comfort and style.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 13th July, 2005

22nd Nov 2005, 14:35

Why would anyone buy an Envoy or Trailblazer when you can get this truck for less money and you get the 7/75K warranty. This truck looks better than both of the others and there isn't one every where you look. We have the two tone green/ tan and it is really sharp looking. I am not sure how people are driving these though... We get at least 19 mpg overall and well into the 20's on trips due to the extremely lazy overdrive that turns around 1800 rpm's at 70-75 mph. Just remember to put it in 3rd for towing or you'll tear up the tranny. That is why the majority of owners who tow things have transmission problems with these vehicles. Ours pulls our boat at 65 with no problem in 3rd...and you shouldn't be going any faster than that towing anyway!