In 2006, when IntelliChoice, a California-based information company that specifically studies automobiles and the ongoing cost of vehicle ownership, recognized the 2006 Isuzu Ascender 7-Passenger, Ascender 5-Passenger, i-280 Pickup and i-350 Pickup as among the top in their class for low cost, no one at Isuzu was surprised. They were confident they were giving the public high-quality, safe vehicles at affordable prices. The list of IntelliChoice awards went on and on. The Ascender 5-Passenger (the 4WD version) was awarded the "Smart Choice" title in five distinct categories including operating, repair costs, ownership, depreciation, and fuel economy.
The 2 Wheel Drive model was named "Top Winner" in two separate categories in which it competed against utility vehicles, winning for lowest ownership costs as well as lowest fuel costs. In addition to it's wins, it was also named a "Smart Choice" with regards to low depreciation, low ownership costs, and low repair costs. IntelliChoice, at that time, went on to recognize the Ascender 7-Passenger in several categories as well.
The 4WD model was recognized for lowest repair costs, lowest maintenance and lowest operating cost while the 2WD model received kudos for lowest ownership and repair costs, lowest operating costs and lowest maintenance costs. But it wasn't just the SUV that received accolades. Isuzu's pickup line was recognized by IntelliChoice as well. The i-280 Extended Cab LS was named a "Smart Choice" for lowest operating and repair costs, as well as lowest costs associated with maintenance and fuel. The i-280 Extended Cab S was a "Top Winner" in the compact pickup category for lowest costs associated with repair and considered a "Smart Choice" for lowest maintenance, ownership, and operating costs.
It was also named a "Smart Choice" for lowest depreciation. Why was owning an Isuzu vehicle in 2006 economically efficient? According to T. Jerry Maloney, Isuzu Motors America's president and COO, it's because the company pioneered the idea of value pricing. Isuzu doesn't see value as simply a low sticker price.
They try to offer vehicles that are affordable off the lot, but that continue to be affordable every time the owner stops at a gas station or comes in for service. So what does this company that concentrates on value have in store for 2008? More of the same? except better. The automatic transmission 2008 Ascender 5-Passenger 2WD sports a 4.2-liter DOHC Inline 6-cylinder, 285 hp starts at $22,149, a competitive price for SUVs in its category. The 4WD model starts at only $24,149. As for Isuzu's pickup line, it's offering three.
The i-290 Extended Cab 2WD has a 2.9-liter Inline 4-cylinder engine, 185 hp, and is a 5-speed Manual. It starts at $14,399. The 4WD version starts at $15,488. The i-290's bigger brother, the i-370, is available in Crew or Extended Cab.
The Extended Cab model starts at $19,399. All the features that make Isuzu's vehicles valuable are still there: ample passive and active safety features, an impressive 7-year/75,000 mile roadside assistance program, and its incredible towing capacity. If you're looking for a "Smart Choice," starting with Isuzu might be just the way to go.
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