Modern collectibles revealed: 1999-2001 Isuzu VehiCROSS


When asked about the Isuzu VehiCROSS – most people either start scratching their heads, get a glossy look, or just say “Isuzu What?” or “Huh?”.  It quickly becomes apparent that this vehicle has obscurity on its side, which is a useful feature for a future collectible.

This little truck has a weird name that doesn’t easily roll off the tongue, but there is substance beneath its stylish skin.  Isuzu made a bold move in 1997 when it commissioned its VehiCROSS Concept into production.

This not-so-practical but cool looking two door off-roader finally landed on United States shores in 1999 for a three year production run.  This truck had familiar and proven Isuzu Trooper underpinnings, and an eye for high speed desert racing.  It employed a computerized torque on demand four wheel drive system, a lockable differential, and external reservoir off-road shocks.  Modified versions had impressive racing success with class wins in the 1998 Paris-Dakar and the 1999 Australian Safari rallies!

There is definitely more here than meets the eye.  This truck deserves a closer examination as a potential modern collectible.



While most cars lose their conceptual flair during the translation to mass production, this Isuzu delivered auto show glamor to the dealership showroom.

Around the same time that Pontiac and Chevrolet were unsuccessfully experimenting with plastic body clad vehicles, the VehiCROSS’s smooth and tight fitting panels pulled off the look well.  Its futuristic exterior is still interesting 12 years after the fact, and it still has that beach-going lifestyle appeal.

Besides the capable off-road hardware this truck employed the most powerful light duty engine in Isuzu’s arsenal at the time (the 3.5 liter V6 with 215 hp).  This does not sound like a lot, and it’s not, but it is on par with other vehicles in this class.

The Dakar rally winning spirit is not evident when looking at VehiCROSS’s 18 inch chrome wheels and street tires; instead – the overall image is pointing to the luxury end of the spectrum.  Nonetheless, the critics noticed, and it appeared on the May 1999 cover of Motor Trend as it won the 1999 Most Unique Styling award.

This truck is not the quickest (or fastest or even the most capable off-roader), but it is always noticed no matter where it goes. For many this is a desirable attribute.



The VehiCROSS definitely has the rarity factor.  Isuzu delivered a total of 5,958 examples with just 4,153 of those reaching United States between 1999-2001.  There are also especially rare Yellow, Green and Red colors – as well as an interesting Ironman edition with White exterior and special badges.

Also, there is the ever elusive Pearl White Metallic truck (yes, the only one made).  Check out the production number reference here.



One interesting fact pops out when searching used cars listings for a VehiCROSS: there are no low mileage examples for sale.  There is one 1999 model with 72,000 miles, and the rest have more than 100,000 miles (some with more than 130,000).

I expected to see at least a hand full of examples with very low mileage, but I saw none.  It’s not clear whether this is because none of these trucks were preserved to begin with, or whether these preserved ones are extremely difficult to find?


This is intriguing.

Also, when compared with the Isuzu Amigo two door of the same vintage, the VehiCROSS enjoys a 33% higher average asking price.  If you see one of the rare colors or any example with low miles (less than 40,000 miles), then it is definitely worth a call to the seller.

Andre-Smirnov-1Andre Smirnov is a Software Engineer by trade and a life-long automotive enthusiast.  On the weekends – you may find him at a car show, an auction, watching a race, or tinkering in the garage.  When not working or spending time with the family – he often scours the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.

Follow on twitter @TFLcar or watch latest car review videos on YouTube.