Car News:  Oversteer

Remember When Isuzu Was a Dumping Ground for Weird Rebadges?

RELATED READING
See all Isuzu Hombre articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Karma cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs MAZDA cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Andrew Ganz December 2019

These days, the only way to get an Isuzu with that new-car smell is to hire movers who happen to have one of the Japanese automaker's box trucks in their fleet.

Isuzu plied its compact cars, off-roaders and pickups for decades in the US, nearly always as a fringe brand that was in the right place at the right time for the initial SUV boom of the early 1990s. The company built cars under contract between the world wars and emerged under occupied Japan in the late 1940s as a heavy-duty truck builder that tried to dip its toes into the new-car market with a series of short-lived agreements with Subaru, Mitsubishi, and Nissan in the late 1960s.

Cash-flush General Motors swept in to acquire 34 percent of the company in 1971, and it was GM that would set the tone for Isuzu's next 40 years before the automaker pulled its passenger vehicles from the US market at the end of 2009. Isuzu's fortunes followed those of GM, more or less, starting with the captive-import rebadged Chevy LUV pickup -- which was really an Isuzu wearing a bowtie -- and continuing through the automaker's early Geo lineup, which included the Isuzu-based Geo Storm.

Isuzu would forever be linked to rebadged vehicles until its final model year in 2009. Let's drive down memory lane to reminisce some of the, uh, finer Isuzu rebadges. Hey, if you want a bargain, you might find one here.

Isuzu Hombre

Isuzu Hombre/Chevrolet S-10

Isuzu made its own pickups, but it turned to GM when it wanted to replace its internally developed truck in the mid-1990s. Sold from 1996 through 2000, the Hombre was built in Louisiana (to skirt hefty import duties) and was available in a far more limited lineup than its Chevy and GMC siblings.

For instance, the base Hombre S cost just $12,000 in 1998, but it counted cupholders, daytime running lights and a tailgate among its luxuries. A radio, carpeting and power features were all optional. Find an Isuzu Hombre for sale

Isuzu Oasis

Isuzu Oasis/Honda Odyssey

Easily the oddest rebadge in this lineup was the Oasis, which was a Honda Odyssey with -- you guessed it -- Isuzu badges. Isuzu got the Oasis in return for supplying Honda with Rodeos (rebadged as Honda Passports) and Troopers (rebadged as Acura SLXs). It was not a great deal for Isuzu, which sold approximately one Oasis for every 33 Odysseys that were moved out of Honda showrooms.

The Oasis is probably best known for its bizarre service as a New York City taxicab in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Hey, the Oasis was a Honda after all, and they held up fairly well to rigorous livery service. Find an Isuzu Oasis for sale

Isuzu Ascender

Isuzu Ascender/Chevrolet TrailBlazer

During the last few years when Isuzu sold vehicles in the US, its showrooms had two models: the Ascender and the i-Series pickups. The Ascender was a mashup of the GMT360 SUVs produced by GM. It had bits of the TrailBlazer, the GMC Envoy, and the Oldsmobile Bravada, and its lineup was initially fairly ambitious, with two wheelbases, straight-6 and V8 power, and a choice of 5- or 7-passenger capacities.

For 2007, the writing was on the wall, and the lineup was trimmed to just the standard 5-passenger model with two option packages, and that was about it. Working in its favor was a slightly more comprehensive warranty compared to those of its siblings, and discounts for buyers who happened to live near Isuzu dealers were substantial. The Ascender makes a decent used buy today thanks to its weak resale value. Find one on AutotraderFind an Isuzu Ascender for sale

Isuzu i-Series

Isuzu i-Series/Chevrolet Colorado

Latching onto the Apple i phenomenon that began with the original iMac in 1998, the i-Series pickups boasted names more akin to highways that loop around big cities. The lineup initially consisted of i-280 (there are actually five Interstate 280s), i-350 (there's no Interstate 50, so there is no connector), i-290 (there are three, most notably the Eisenhower in the Chicago area), and the i-370 (a mere 2.54-mile jaunt around Gaithersburg, Maryland).

Fun facts about Highway history aside, the i-Series was a memorable pickup lineup only because of the available 3.5- and 3.7-liter inline-5 engines, which weren't especially good, but they were at least unique.  Find an Isuzu i-290 for saleor Find an Isuzu i-280 for sale or Find an Isuzu i-350 for sale or Find an Isuzu i-370 for sale

Rest in peace, Isuzu. It feels like we hardly knew you and your many personalities.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Autotrader Find: 2004 Toyota Highlander With 1,200 Miles
Manual Jaguar F-TYPE Models Carry a Substantial Premium Over Their Automatic Brethren
The Porsche Taycan's Range Number Is a Problem

We use cookies and browser activity to improve your experience, personalize content and ads, and analyze how our sites are used. For more information on how we collect and use this information, please review our Privacy Policy. California consumers may exercise their CCPA rights here.
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Remember When Isuzu Was a Dumping Ground for Weird Rebadges? - Autotrader
×