2008 Isuzu Ascender Review


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2008 Isuzu Ascender Overview

Faced with dwindling sales and an aging design, Isuzu soldiers on with its 2008 Ascender, a value-oriented, midsize, five-passenger, four-door SUV. Offering no third-row seat and uninspiring interior quality, the ’08 Ascender is aimed at smaller families on a tight budget with large cargo-carrying needs. The Ascender is delivered in only one trim level, the base S, but is available in either a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) or four-wheel-drive (4WD) configuration. A single engine and transmission are offered with the ’08 Ascender.

For ’08, the Isuzu Ascender comes equipped with a 4.2-liter inline six-cylinder (I6) engine that puts out 285 hp and 276 lb-ft of torque. The I6 is paired with a four-speed automatic transmission, and this combo is rated to tow a semi-respectable 5,800 pounds when equipped properly. The EPA estimates 14/20 mpg, which compares poorly with much of the Ascender’s competition.

The ’08 Ascender is described as lacking the handling and ride quality of more refined competitors such as the Ford Explorer and Toyota 4Runner. Though the ‘08 Ascender’s highway ride is noted as comfortable enough, steering is remote, and cornering is iffy. Serious off-roading is not recommended with the Ascender 4WD trim.

The cabin in the 2008 Isuzu Ascender is spacious, with some 80 cubic feet of cargo space available with the rear seats down. Cabin storage space, however, is at a premium. Standard comfort, convenience, and appearance features for the ‘08 Ascender include 17-inch alloy wheels with all-terrain tires (4WD only), dual-zone climate control with rear-seat controls, velour cloth upholstery, 60/40 split rear seats, power windows and door locks, tilt-wheel steering, and a single-CD player.

Option packages for the ’08 Ascender include the popular Preferred Equipment Package, with rear privacy glass, power driver’s seat, remote keyless entry, and cruise control, as well as the LS Package, with a limited-slip rear differential, power sunroof, heated outside mirrors, 6-CD changer, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. There’s also the Luxury Package including color-keyed exterior trim, leather seating, with heated power front seats, power adjustable pedals, driver’s seat memory, and a premium Bose audio system. A satellite radio is also an available option with the ’08 Isuzu Ascender.

Standard safety features for the ’08 Ascender include four-wheel disc ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, traction and stability control, newly standard front and rear head airbags, seatbelt force limiters, child seat anchors, and child safety locks.

Owners of the 2008 Isuzu Ascender lament its poor mileage figures, shoddy interior material quality, its lack of third-row seating, and “lagging” transmission. Value, however, along with one of the best warranties available, is what draws owners to the ’08 Ascender, along with roominess, ride comfort, and adequate, if not inspired, performance.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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