Isuzu's latest sport utility vehicle went on sale for the 2003 model year, replacing the company's long-lived Trooper. The Ascender shares its platform with GM's midsize SUVs. Competitors include the Dodge Durango and Ford Explorer. For 2008, side-impact airbags are standard.
Ascenders come with either rear-wheel drive or on-demand four-wheel drive. The four-wheel-drive system has four modes: automatic, 4-Low, 2-High and 4-High.
Several option groups that are comparable to additional trim levels are offered. The LS package includes traction control, a limited-slip differential, a sunroof, a six-CD changer and a roof rack. A Luxury package is available, but the leather package has been discontinued for LS models.
Exhibiting a traditional two-box SUV profile, the Ascender features 17-inch alloy wheels, overfenders and bodyside moldings. For 2008, Midnight Metallic and Black Garnet Metallic are new colors. The Ascender features body-on-frame construction and rack-and-pinion steering.
Second-row passengers get a 65/35-split folding seat. The second-row seats have a flip-and-tumble feature. Ascenders have dual-zone air conditioning, power windows and locks, and a CD player.
Under the Hood
The Ascender's 4.2-liter inline-six-cylinder engine was recalibrated for 2008 and recertified by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The engine delivers 285 horsepower, a slight decrease from the 2007 model's figure. Each engine teams with a four-speed automatic transmission.
Daytime running lights, an electronic stability system and antilock brakes are standard. Two-row side curtain airbags are newly standard. A tire pressure monitoring system is also standard.