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

2008 Isuzu Ascender Interior

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

Reviewers praise the 2008 Isuzu Ascender's interior for its spaciousness and five-passenger capacity, but heavily criticize its quality of materials.

Auto Media says "Glancing back from the driver's seat, the Ascender's interior looks virtually cavernous--if anything, even more van-like than its Chevrolet and GMC counterparts. For owners who intend to haul a full load of passengers and cargo, that's a bonus." But reviewers quibble over the quality of the materials. Auto Media continues, calling the interior "attractive and appealing," while Consumer Guide says "Utilitarian describes the truck-like cabin decor and workmanship."

Several reviewers agree, with The Tennessean commenting "I really wish Isuzu had invested more in creating their own interior environment. I'm really tired of GM's predictable plastic look throughout all its sport utilities. If Isuzu and GM want to create more upscale SUVs--which the Ascender appears to be--they need to acknowledge some of the real refinement they're up against from the Japanese and the Germans."


The 2008 Ascender boasts "above average" interior volume for both passengers and cargo, according to The Family Car. While pre-2007 models offered a third seat option with seating for up to seven, the 2008 Ascender comes in one version only -- with seating for five. Front comfort is more than adequate for most, with Consumer Guide noting "Good head and leg room, even for taller folks," and About.com commenting "The front seats are exceptionally comfortable and the view out is fantastic."

The rear seat doesn't disappoint either. Consumer Guide continues "Six-footers enjoy ample head room and OK knee room, plus good under-seat foot space despite stepped floorboard. Split bench seat comfortable, fairly supportive, and wide enough for three adults with a little squeezing." Reviewers appreciate the 65/35 split folding rear bench, which has a flip-and-tumble feature for easy use. However, some are not impressed with overall comfort. Auto Media complains "Seat bottoms are somewhat hard, with virtually no side bolstering to keep occupants in place through curves and corners," and Cars.com echoes with a strikingly similar statement. While seats come standard in Moquette cloth interior trim, leather-appointed seats come optional on the LS model and standard on the Luxury model.


The 2008 Ascender provides 43.7 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the rear row and 80.1 cubic feet behind the first row with the rear row folded down. Consumer Guide calls this capacity "generous" and appreciates the easy-fold 65/35 split folding rear seat with self-stowing headrests, but notes a few caveats: The "resulting load deck is uneven and so can frustrate packing. Liftgate's separate opening glass is fairly high, thus partly negating its usefulness." The Family Car had the same experience, commenting "instead of a flat load floor with all seats folded, the Ascender's floor is slanted and uneven."

As for cabin storage, Consumer Guide says it "has good array of pockets and compartments for small items." Of general cargo room, New Cars concludes "There's no clear winner between the Isuzu Ascender and the average midsize SUV as far as transporting cargo." However, families take note: "The average midsize SUV will doubtless prove handier than the Isuzu Ascender for those of you with frequent child-cargo," New Cars continues.

Standard Features

The 2008 Isuzu Ascender base model comes with manual driver and front passenger seats, height-adjustable front headrests, a second row folding bench seat, power windows and door locks, a tilt steering column, air conditioning with CFC-free refrigerant, manual dual-zone climate control with rear switch, and an AM/FM stereo and CD player with six speakers. Buyers who choose the Preferred Equipment Package also get an 8-way power driver's seat with lumbar support, remote keyless entry, cruise control, and a cargo cover, among other conveniences.

While the base Ascender is adequately equipped, About.com notes that the high-end models are "lavishly equipped." The LS and Luxury models get all of the Preferred Package features standard, along with leather-appointed trim (optional on the LS), and an AM/FM stereo and 6-disc in-dash CD changer with six speakers. However, buyers opting for the base model should beware. The Family Car notes "The option packages are so large that they make individualizing the Ascender nearly impossible."

Stereo and Entertainment

Audiophiles, take note: The Family Car cautions that the Ascender's base stereo system and speakers are "sub-standard" and adds "Unfortunately, unless you opt for the deluxe stereo package, don't expect much quality from the base unit." However, an audio upgrade is not even available on the base model or the next-level LS, but just on the Luxury trim. While the LS and Luxury models come standard with the addition of a 6-disc in-dash CD player, Luxury buyers can also upgrade to a Premium Bose® audio system with six Bose® speakers. XM Satellite Radio is optional on LS and Luxury models.

As for other forms of entertainment, Ascender buyers are out of luck in that department as well. "Just make sure your kids bring books or Game Boys, because a DVD entertainment system isn't offered," advises About.com. "And take your maps: There's no GPS navigation system either."

Additional Features

The Family Car notes that the Isuzu's interior has a few important drawbacks to its features, especially for women drivers. The reviewer complains, "One of the most bothersome Isuzu features was the power window controls that are difficult to activate if you have long fingernails. In addition, the rear hatch handle seems as if it is always dirty due to its open location above the rear bumper. Finally, the cup holders are too shallow for large drinks or wide coffee cups." The reviewer concludes that "None of these items by themselves would be enough to remove the Isuzu from consideration, but they clearly indicate that there is a need for more women to be involved in product development."

Review Last Updated: 2/18/09

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