Good evening and welcome to Masterpiece Theatre: Classic Car Focus with your friend, Raphmoe. Today and tonight we will fix our gaze on a lovely example of a great car designed for true automotive enthusiasts and affiio-cigar-anados: The Isuzu VehiCROSS.
The VehiCROSS is the cherry on top of the "fuck it, we don't care anymore" design language of the late 1990's. Coupling bad ass off-road handling capabilities, a pleasantly revving and torquey V6 with a two door body style only a blind internet commenter could love; the VehiCROSS did not sell well. Isuzu says this was done intentionally, but that's just nonsense. If this was a car people wanted, more of them would have been made.
Basically the VehiCROSS is the FRS/BRZ of the 90's; a car that car enthusiasts lust after, but car enthusiasts do not buy because bloviating and reminiscing is not a form of currency at car dealerships (yet). Remember friends, one of the key components to car culture and being a car guy/girl is telling people how much you are a car person. Narrative and message is everything in journalism and car culture is no different. Some times, you need to buy a car just to drive around and say to people "look at me, I am a car person, this car means that I am a car person". This what makes America great: cockiness and a fuck all attitude towards being an ass. If we are all asses, is nobody an ass? Nay, we are Horses, not men.
This peyote is delicious.
A good summary of what could be found on the VehiCROSS can be found at Encclyopdia Wikipedia, version 7.9:
The Isuzu VehiCROSS is a compact SUV from Isuzu. Produced from 1997 (Japanese market 1997-1999) through 2001 (US market 1999-2001), it shares much of its components with the Trooper, including both its 3.2 L and 3.5 L V6 engine that produces 215 bhp (160 kW; 218 PS) at 5400 rpm and 230 lbft (312 Nm) at 3000 rpm of torque. The vehicle also features the Torque on Demand (TOD) 4-wheel-drive system produced by BorgWarner. It is a small, sporty 2-door crossover vehicle with aggressive external styling, including short overhangs, an aggressive forward stance, titanium "teeth" in the grille, a black hood-insert, and black plastic cladding over the entire lower half of the vehicle. The US VehiCROSS came equipped with 16" polished wheels in 1999 and 18" chrome wheels during the remainder of production. The Japanese version came equipped with 16" alloys with chrome center caps.
The VehiCROSS was highly regarded for its cross-terrain performance. It combined a computer-controlled AWD system for on-road driving and a locked-differential low-gear 4WD system for off-road driving. The Japanese version offered a 2WD non TOD or 4WD TOD option. The US-only constant 4WD TOD, with 12 independent sensors for detecting wheel spin and capable of redirecting power to the wheels with the most traction, gives the VehiCROSS a high level of traction on wet and icy roads. It also has a high level of performance for its height. While possessing on-road nimbleness, its body-on-frame truck construction, suspension and 4WD gearing make it very capable off-road. Sales were intentionally limited, with only 5958 vehicles being produced between 1997 and 2001; 1805 were produced for the domestic Japanese market and the remaining 4,153 sold in the United States. As it stands, the vehicle has an obscure role in history.
Furthermore, the VehiCROSS will attract women in Bikinis:
This is good.
She also looks good from the other side:
The VehiCROSS, not the lady. Although the lady looks good and is also mysterious because she is wearing sunglasses, and she will cut you if you get to close:
Why is the VehiCROSS a Classic Car? Great question, and here is my answer: Because it is a rare care, it is sought after by enthusiasts, it is durable, hard to find parts for, and is impractical. All things that make a car a classic.