1983 Isuzu Impulse SE 4 cul from North America


It was fast, sexy, and great on gasoline


The car was hit once, with minor body damage. But it was also sandwiched between two cars and collapse. Despite the unibody construction which should not have allowed for repairs - the body shop repaired it. (I accidentally signed an authorization right after the accident without realizing it was their right to cash the insurance check.)

Anyway, even after the repairs - the car ran well, and performed well.

However, after 100,000 miles, everything started breaking down. We finally sold it for scrap at 110,000 miles because all the rubber and plastic (hoses, transmission, etc.) was degrading and would have cost thousands to replace.

Until then, it was great.

General Comments:

If I could find this car being made now - I'd buy it in a minute.

Since it was a hatchback, it could carry the most amazing sizes and amount of furniture. Great for moving and traveling. Front seats lie nearly flat. Back seats disappear for cargo.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th March, 2004

1983 Isuzu Impulse JR 2.0L G200Z I4 from North America


Great bang for your buck, very fun to drive!


Blown head gasket due to previous owner's negligence...running an engine without coolant and oil is not a good idea. Rack and pinion mount bushings generally need replacement if the R/P or engine leaks on them and is a common problem, making the steering seem like it is very loose. Plastic trim parts get brittle over time and break easily. Door panel armrest lids tend to wear out and break off over time and aren't replaceable. Windshield wiper blades are almost impossible to find, they're a different design than any standard wiper on the market(personally, I used a matching length standard wiper blade and drilled new holes in the wiper arm to fit properly).

General Comments:

The JR series Isuzu Impulses are a work of automotive art by a master craftsman. They're very unique and have angular good looks like no other car in it's class. It handles awesome, has enough power to get out of its own way, and looks great.

Impulse JR's are rear wheel driven with four wheel disc brakes, fuel injection, either an auto or manual transmission, great weight distribution and room for four people. Impulse JR's were produced from 1983 through 1989, with the 1988 and 1989 models being the most sought-after cars due to redesigns and additional features not found on some older models.

The dash instrumentation and layout is excellent and the cars came very well optioned. A trip computer (odometer/tripmeter/clock/fuel economy/fuel tank level) and stereo with equalizer came standard, as well as a full complement of guages for engine monitoring purposes as opposed to standard "dummy lights". Cruise control, power windows, power door locks, A/C, and rear defroster are all standard options. 1988-89 models had the option of a sunroof. The cargo area has ample room for anything you need to travel with, and the seats are comfortable, though they tend to wear out a bit faster than other seats I've seen. The 1988-89 models came with Recaro designed bucket seats in front.

The 2.0L naturally aspirated engine only makes around 90 HP, but due to superior gearing, it moves very fast when you need it to. The 2.0L turbo version produces 140 HP and is a very fast compact car. The turbo engine can be tweaked to an easily attained 200 HP with the right parts and engine management. Expect at least 25 MPG from either engine.

The suspension by Lotus is probably one of the most memorable and interesting features of the JR Impulses. Lotus Cars of Britain lent a hand in the engineering of the suspension of different models of Isuzu cars (Impulse JR, I-Mark RS, and Impulse RS), making them handle like much more expensive cars. In return, Isuzu designed and built engines for the Lotus Esprit line of cars with a 220 HP four cylinder DOHC turbocharged engine. The cars that came equipped with the Lotus tuned suspension were sold with special green and gold badges on the front fenders and rear of the car denoting the Lotus name.

One drawback to owning an Isuzu car is that the dealerships have all, but discontinued support for them, being as they don't build anything, but trucks and SUV's for the general public any more. Therefore, some parts may be difficult or damn near impossible to find... and when you do find them, they'll usually be expensive.

I would buy another one given the chance without a second thought. I've owned three Impulse JR's, one 1983(current car), one 1985, and one 1989. My most recent car was purchased for $100 from a junkyard in near-running condition. It took less than $200 to get it moving under it's own power and is now in the process of being cleaned up and working out mechanical bugs. They're very fun to drive, take to modifications fairly easily, and are great for practicing drifting on rainy parking lots. ;)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th November, 2003

13th Jul 2005, 18:15

Excellent review--much more in debth than most reviews and full of very useful information. Kudos!

24th Feb 2007, 19:54

I have a 1986 impulse turbo, I wish still ran, its just been sitting to long, and I have not had to much time to play with it. It is one fast car for being "bone stock". When it was running, I could smoke the tires and then it would start slidding side ways! What honda has that power stock? Umm, none!

24th Jul 2007, 21:06

Hey. I also have a 89 turbo impulse that I bought for $800 bucks 4 years ago. I drove it with the turbo broke for 2 years not knowing. Raced a Z28 and blew the motor due to back pressure. Luckily I found a JDM with the turbo, and now I am in the process of detailing the motor, working out the bugs, and getting a new paint job.