Car Video:  Oversteer

Video | The Isuzu VehiCROSS Is the Weird SUV You've Forgotten About

RELATED READING
See all Isuzu VehiCROSS 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 Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen 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 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 Doug DeMuro February 2018

I recently had the chance to drive a 2001 Isuzu VehiCROSS, which is a sport utility vehicle that is absolutely bizarre. The primary reason it's bizarre is its styling: The VehiCROSS is a 2-door SUV with massive wheels, weird curves, horns on the headlight and gray plastic cladding that rings the entire vehicle. No one will ever make another vehicle like the VehiCROSS. Fortunately.

Actually, I say "fortunately," but I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the VehiCROSS -- and for virtually all weird, rare cars. So when I was out in California a few weeks ago, I jumped at the chance to review the 2001 Isuzu VehiCROSS you see above -- not just because it's a VehiCROSS, but because it's the last VehiCROSS ever made.

Yes, that's right: I've now driven the last Isuzu VehiCROSS ever manufactured. The final one ever given to our world. I borrowed it from a viewer in Castaic, California, just north of Los Angeles, who previously owned a Dodge Dakota Convertible. Not surprisingly, we got along well.

Anyway, we know it's the last VehiCROSS ever manufactured because the owner of this car has a letter from Isuzu with the VIN certifying it as such. The letter also refers to the VehiCROSS as Isuzu's "halo product" designed to show off the brand's capabilities as a manufacturer of sport-utility vehicles, which seems a little less believable.

I say this because the VehiCROSS is, well, weird. There's the styling, for one. But how about the fact that the spare tire is hidden inside the rear tailgate? Which then curves in a bizarre manner to accommodate it? The headlights have horns on them. I wasn't making that up. Also, the rear seat is inaccessible, there's a "TAILGATE" button on the key fob that has no actual purpose, and Isuzu insisted on calling it the "VehiCROSS" with "CROSS" capitalized.

All of these things would've been really weird at the time -- especially considering the original price of around $32,000, which made the VehiCROSS double the price of a Jeep Wrangler and thousands more than a Ford Explorer. With this in mind, it's no surprise the VehiCROSS lasted only three years, it's no surprise most people don't remember it, and it's no surprise it wasn't renewed for a second generation. And yet…

Come on, just look at it! It may be weird, but it's also endearing -- and it's especially endearing considering you can pick one of these up for like $6,500 in nice shape. There aren't many other eye-catching SUVs you can say that about. There are also the off-roading capabilities: The owner told me he off-roads his VehiCROSS and he can usually hang with Jeeps; the VehiCROSS has 4-wheel drive with low range and a relatively powerful 215-horsepower V6, along with reasonably good approach and departure angles.

As for the rest of the driving experience, it's also endearing. Though I always assumed the VehiCROSS was sort of a weird, oddly shaped cutesy SUV that was more of a bizarre marketing gimmick than anything, it actually drives like a surprisingly substantial vehicle, feeling more like a Toyota 4Runner or Nissan Xterra than a Ford Escape or Mazda CX-5. The VehiCROSS isn't fast and it doesn't handle well, but it's nice and robust. Sure, there's no rear visibility, but you don't have to worry about seeing other drivers, because they're already seeing you. And staring.

In the end, I can see why the VehiCROSS didn't sell: It was impractical, expensive and oddly styled, and you generally can't combine all three of those things into one and have a successful vehicle. But I'm sure you can also see why I like it: It's just weird, and weird is fun, especially in today's world of lookalike crossovers and family SUVs. Buy a VehiCROSS and stand out -- for better or worse.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
There Is a Batmobile Tumbler For Sale on Autotrader
The Hyundai Galloper Was a Rebadged Mitsubishi Montero
Video | I Bought the Cheapest Chevrolet Corvette Z06 in the US

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.
Video | The Isuzu VehiCROSS Is the Weird SUV You've Forgotten About - Autotrader