Original MSRP: $27,149 - $29,149
MPG: 14 City / 20 Hwy

2008 Isuzu Ascender Review

This review was written when the 2008 Isuzu Ascender was new.

The Ascender delivers an outstanding warranty and a smooth ride, but it can't match the fuel economy or interior quality of rivals.

Introduced in 2003 to replace the Isuzu Trooper, the Ascender gets minimal changes for 2008, although side-impact air bags are now standard. About.com explains: "The Ascender combines jumbo-SUV room with mid-size SUV maneuverability. Though similar to GM-branded SUVs, it gets a longer warranty (3 yrs/50,000 miles) and lower starting price." Noting its low fuel economy, the reviewer adds, "I have often said that I have no room in my soul for huge SUVs that can barely squeeze 15 miles from a gallon of gas...But I will admit that for the right vehicle, I might just be able to clear out a little corner... and the Isuzu Ascender has its own reserved parking space."

The majority of reviewers say the Ascender is a good deal because of its seven-year/75,000-mile powertrain warranty, but some still see the Ascender as too costly for what you get. Another drawback is that Isuzu is closing its doors in the United States and the Ascender is being discontinued after the 2008 model year. While some dealerships will remain, servicing the Ascender could be difficult. For smoother-riding off-road vehicles, consider the Ford Explorer or Toyota 4Runner.

The 2008 Ascender comes in one trim with a choice of either rear- or four-wheel drive.

  • "If you're into big trucks and don't mind the slightly gawky exterior, then the Ascender doesn't look a bad deal. Until, that is, you open the door and realize that you're plunking down a minimum of $28,000 for a vehicle that has the interior quality of my daughter's Barbie car." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The Isuzu Ascender 5-Passenger SUV is among the best of the mid-size sport-utilities. Its standard inline six-cylinder engine is smooth and powerful. It rides and handles well. And its interior is convenient and versatile." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "This Isuzu is strictly a price vehicle in my book. If you can get a good deal on it, don't depend on using a SUV as a babe magnet, have a habit of owning them for a long time so depreciation is not a problem, and don't drive enough miles to be bothered by the poor gas mileage, you might just want to give this model a drive." -- The Family Car
  • -"Speaking of price, I'm sorry, but $32,000 seems awfully steep for a sport-ute without four-wheel drive. For the money, I can get a nicely equipped Explorer or a Jeep Grand Cherokee -- with the all-wheel drive. That seems like a no-brainer, big warranty or not." -- Detroit News
Review Last Updated: 2/18/09

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