1 of 135: 2000 Isuzu VehiCROSS 4×4

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Looking somehow tough and cartoon-like at the same time, the Isuzu VehiCROSS is one unusual vehicle. I can’t think of the last time I’ve seen one on the street, which isn’t surprising since they made just over 4,100 of them over five years for the U.S. market. This 2000 Isuzu VehiCROSS is posted here on eBay in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, and the seller has a $9,900 buy-it-now price listed or you can make an offer.

The seller touts the rare Kaiser Silver Metallic paint on this example, and it is rare, they only made 135 of them with the black and gray interior. If it would have had a black and red interior that would have been rarer, with only 57 of those made in 2000, the second-rarest model. The 2000 VehiCROSS in Ebony Black with a red and black interior is the rarest, with 51 made – if you can find one of those, buy it. This one is sitting on Toyota 4Runner wheels, just for the record.

Isuzu made the VehiCROSS between 1997 and 2001 and the rear-3/4 angle is my favorite, other than maybe the full-on side view, as seen here. The built-in spare tire compartment on the rear hatch, split at the halfway point with the black cladding on the bottom to match the cladding over the rear tires, is a nice touch. They only came in one body style, a two-door, and if I could figure out how to add a couple of rear doors, I’d try my hand at a Photoshop version.

That screen wouldn’t be distracting for any drivers in 2023, I’m fairly sure (crickets). I know, most new vehicles have them and some are even bigger, no wonder insurance rates are through the roof and body shops are backed up several months. That’s clearly an add-on piece as there weren’t even smartphones in 2000, let alone giant screens in vehicles.

The seller says that it’s “an ATOTO S8 Gen 2 headunit with Android Auto and Apple Carplay (fully wireless), and a wide-angle backup camera.” I can see where that would be handy for hands-free driving and the backup camera is a nice touch. The black and gray two-tone seats look good, and get ready for some acrobatics if you’re relegated to riding in the back seat. The interior looks good, though, including the rear cargo area. I didn’t say perfect, but good. It’s a little rugged back there, but this thing is 23 years old and has 186,000 miles on it. Speaking of that, the seller says that the underside was sandblasted (!) and undercoated.

The engine is Isuzu’s 3.5-liter DOHC V6, which was rated at 215 horsepower and 230 lb-ft of torque when new. It’s backed up by a GM-sourced four-speed automatic transmission, which along with a two-speed transfer case sends power to all four wheels. When was the last time you’ve seen a VehiCROSS in person, if ever?

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  1. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    You know how to pick ‘em, Scotty! Another polarizing design, it was WAY up on the list when new (short wheelbase, amazing though complicated 4×4 system) until the sticker shock hit. Very capable in tight washes, quick on dry lake beds but they never came down to being personally affordable at a good time.
    Some Shared underpinnings with the Trooper, the biggest challenge was having some one in, say, Battle Mountain work on a transmission/AWD computer issue. And IIRC the shocks look like they’d been designed by a offroad racing guru. An article sometime back said that only about 4100 of these made it to the US of a total run of around 6000 total production.
    I like it, my wife rolls her eyes when there’s one up for sale and brought to her attention.

    Like 11
  2. Rumpledoorskin

    Neat rig, but all my mind keeps hearing is “Hi, I’m Joe Isuzu.”

    Like 7
    • TheOldRanger

      Yep, I remember Joe, and how he couldn’t pronounce Isuzu, and the Japanese guy said, that’s ok… I can’t say Chevrolet….

      Like 1
  3. Tony Primo

    The first time I ever seen one of these for sale was last night. Two for sale in the same week!

    Like 8
    • Gunner

      That one is super nice Tony. Celebrity stuff out of the way, it would definitely be my choice. 👍

      Like 4
  4. mrgreenjeans mrgreenjeans

    There was a dealership locally where I saw their first arrival. A GMC truck/Isuzu family owned store that got in a silver truck. It sat there at least 6 months before they themselves began using it as a Dealer Demonstrator. They had it 2 years later. I saw 2 recently here; both were white, one for sale with a ‘mystery title’ which was said to be in transit. Both were running, driving machines and appeared well cared for; it worried me a bit they were being run in salty weather but had far less corrosion underhood than this grey unit. In the land of ‘weird SUVs’ I think owning a Laforza would be cooler with less made and an American Mustang engine and Italian leather inside

    Like 5
  5. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    The last one I seen was a convertible and a color was yellow with yellow and black interior. That was many many years ago. I remember when they first hit the streets near me they were weird looking. But I wouldn’t expect anything less from Isuzu. They will always ahead of the times. This one here for sale looks great. But the old saying goes when you have that many miles you’ll be replacing parts. 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 2
  6. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac DivaMember

    I love these! They are so quirky. That front with the vampire teeth, the rear built-in tire, just cool vehicles.
    Anyone see the movie “Mission to Mars?” They took one of these and chopped the top off. They make a nice open car vehicle.

    Like 7
    • Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

      Good eye!!! I never made the connection until you pointed it out.🤓👍🏻

      Like 4
  7. DA

    If you’ve ever driven one, they are quite squirrelly because of the short wheelbase and suspension. Butt-ugly, to boot – like a hippopotamus.

    The engines (like all of the 3.5L) drank oil like there was no tomorrow, had carbon buildup issues, ring problems; had repeat intake gasket leaks, and the transmissions were failure prone.

    Unique, definitely. Reliable, not at all. Add in expensive, and it is no wonder nobody kept them long.

    Like 6
    • Kevin

      Had my 01 for years. 140k and not a single issue. Bought an 01 white Ironman over the winter and putting in a 3800SC for power.

      Like 10
    • Jon

      I had 2 Isuzu Rodeo
      A 1993 with an engine that was bulletproof, gave it to my son and still running.
      A 2000 with this garbage GM engine. It had an oil consumption issue.
      Isuzu replaced both the engine and transmission for free, then I sold it.
      A friend had a VehiCROSS, it was fun to drive.
      He also had both the engine and transmission replaced.

      Like 4
      • DA

        Sorry, Jon – Isuzu made the 3.5L. The transmissions were GM (France), but the failures were often (but not always) due to owners failing to get leaks repaired in a timely manner.

        Like 1
    • Gary J Lehman

      Managed an Isuzu store and actually had a Vehicross for a demo in 99. NEVER heard of ANY of the issues you mentioned. The Isuzu line of vehicles were reliable and pretty damn trouble free.

      Like 1
  8. alphasudMember

    Like a Hippopotamus with Vampire teeth. Hungry hungry Hippo as the kids toy commercial used to say.😂

    Like 4
  9. Rw

    Used to see one in Goshen KY pulling farm trailers.

    Like 1
  10. RJ

    My dad test drove one and was ready to sign the paperwork to buy until the dealer leveled with him and said ‘Bill, I’d love to put you in this rig, but honestly if something major should happen to it mechanically, we’re probably not going to be able to service it here, and you’re a repeat customer and I don’t want that for you.’ He ended up buying a 99 Wrangler Sport 4.0 and never had a bit of trouble with that. And when he sold the Wrangler in 2010 he did very well on it as it only had 46,000 on it (he lived a mile from work and only took it on vacation a few times). The VehiCROSS always reminded me of a bloated Bronco II or better yet a gen 2, two door S10 Blazer.

    Like 3
  11. SteVen

    Very unique. But NINE owners from new? Hmm.

    Like 6
    • Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

      I missed that! Good eye, SteVen.

      Like 4
  12. Car Nut Tacoma

    Not a bad looking rig. I remember when the Isuzu VehiCROSS was first intro’d to the public. I didn’t know what to make of it. From some angles I thought it was a good looking vehicle, while other angles, I found it hideous to look at. From the side, I thought it looked great. From the rear, I thought it looked really good. From the front? Super mega fugly! Ugh! What were they smoking when they designed the front?

    Like 0
  13. Leslie MartinMember

    The perfect garage mate to park next to your Pontiac Aztek!

    Like 9
  14. rodknee

    I LOVE the Vehicross. In a world where every manufacturer tries to develop a certain ‘look’ and make their lineup somewhat homogenous (or in Tesla’s case, just make exactly the same car either inflated or stretched 3″) the Vehicross STILL stands out as a unique design. Who wants to drive something generic? I wanna have the car that makes everyone at the car show say, “What the HELL is that monstrosity?” cause I like laughing.

    Like 0
  15. Steve

    Ornery-looking vehicles but their bark was worse than their bite.

    Like 0
  16. CCFisher

    Body by Rubbermaid.

    Like 3
    • 370zpp 370zppMember

      Ribbed, for her pleasure.

      Like 5
  17. CarbuzzardMember

    I liked them but wouldn’t want to ride in the back seat. I drove one pre-release for Road & Track:

    Like 1
  18. Karl

    “Title in transit”, is the polite way to say “Run like H**l !!!

    Like 2
  19. Editor_ReidMember

    I owned one of these. The WTF Factor is high. After that, not much positive to say. I took it on a rally on snow-covered gravel roads (Washington state) and it spun twice even at tiptoe speeds. It was genuinely difficult to keep it between the ditches. I traded it for an Audi A3 with the 3.2 liter six. For once, a GOOD TRADE.

    Like 2
    • CarbuzzardMember

      What tires did you have on it in the rally?

      Like 0
  20. Randy

    I’ve owned two and loved them. I had a ‘99 Ironman Edition and a 2000 like this one in the same color scheme. The motors were crap. I spun a rod bearing at around 40,000 miles. Out of warranty and being you and dumb I shoehorned an LS1 from Z-28 into it, all mechanically done and then ended up getting rid of it before the electrical was done. Live and learn. I found them to be more than adequate in the snow, ice, and mud. Very good off road. Held my own with my Jeep friends… they didn’t understand. 🙄

    Like 2
  21. Mountainwoodie

    I hate to say this but I like these things…..I’m not sure why. I’m not a mini SUV guy. Nor was I a Three Dog Night guy.little too pop for me but……….

    .I’d definitely look at Huttons as its a West Coast car. Interesting to learn that the engine was a lump. Both of these made almost 200 K so thats clearly indicating future engine replacement. Maybe an SBC? Hearing from folks who owned one is always the way to go.

    With the short wheelbase and high profile I can imagine the ride would be squirrely and sudden turns problematic.
    But still………………

    Like 2
    • Randy

      I always felt mine handled well. Yes they are short and somewhat tall but they could carve better than you’d expect. Definitely a whole lot more stable than it looks. And yeah, putting an SBC is a tight fit but by golly, it fit!

      Like 2
  22. Ike Onick

    The fangs are a nice touch.

    Like 2
  23. theGasHole

    I see one of these every now and then here in North Jersey. Definitely a unique ride. Like the looks a lot (not sure why, but hey I also like the Juke NISMO and the Aztek GT so….).

    Like 1
  24. Editor_ReidMember

    By the way, the opening of this review, “Looking somehow tough and cartoon-like at the same time…” is brilliant and spot-on. Good job Scotty – excellent writing!

    Like 4
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      You are way too kind, Editor_Reid – thanks.

      Like 0
  25. PRA4SNW

    I didn’t realize they made so few of these, but I recall seeing several of them.

    It has a look that is not soon forgotten.

    Like 0
    • Randy

      If I recall correctly, the dies for stamping the sheet metal were made of ceramic. Reduced tooling costs but also limited quantity of stamps. I think the original plans were for around 7500 vehicles plus replacement parts over the planned limited production. The ceramic dies limited the total to 10,000 pieces.

      Like 0
  26. Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

    Update: this one ended with no takers.

    Like 1
  27. Carlos Martinez

    1st time a saw a Vx was back in 98 at a dealership in National City CA.
    test drove it and had dreams about it ($38K) at the time.
    Last year, finaly after many years, got one, then another and another,(now 4).

    These come out fairly low cost (havent paid over $4K) for any of them.
    Be aware you have to be car savy / HO to tackle one of these.
    But once you get to know where to get and from what are same parts
    these are really capable rigs, will beat any stock jeep any day !.

    There are VX facebook groups which are very tight and helpuff, sharing all kinds of tips, information, specs and part location support.

    Like 2

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