The newly-released, fuel-efficient 2008 Isuzu Ascender was recently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 25 “Midsize Affordable SUVs” in the U.S. In terms of safety features, the 2008 Ascender received the same rating as the 2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer and the 2008 GMC Envoy.
U.S. News & World Report noted that the 2008 Isuzu Ascender fared well in crash tests conducted by the federal government, particularly in side-impact crashes. According to the article in U.S. News, the Ascender received five out of five stars in government crash tests (if you’d like to see for yourself, check out the Ascender’s page on the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s website for the full report) for both front and rear-seat passenger safety. One of the many reasons the Isuzu Ascender earned such a favorable rating is that side-impact airbags now come standard in the 2008 model.
The Ascender comes standard with fog lights and daytime running lights, and also includes a specialized stability control system called Stabilitrak StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control. The system combines traction control with stability control systems, as well as anti-lock brakes. Together, the three are designed to help the driver maintain directional command of the vehicle.
In addition to its active safety features, the 2008 model also has upgraded passive safety features. The 2008 Ascender offers air bags for both the driver and the front passenger, as well as standard head-curtain side-impact air bags. These air bags were options on the 2007 model. The newer Ascender also features an automatic air bag suppression system designed to deactivate the front-passenger airbag and reduce airbag-related injuries.
The Isuzu Ascender also has a body style that allows for exceptional visibility from the driver’s seat. In comparison, U.S. News & World Report noted that, with regards to the 2008 Mazda CX-7, “test drivers have expressed concern, however, about impaired front visibility due to the sharp design of the CX-7’s windshield.”
But safety isn’t the only reason to get behind the wheel of an Ascender. U.S. News & World report, in the overall impression of the 2008 Isuzu Ascender, noted that the Ascender “delivers and an outstanding warranty and smooth ride…” and also pointed out the SUV’s superior towing capabilities. The 2WD model can tow, when properly equipped, up to 5,800 pounds.
In general, reviewers were impressed with the Ascender’s V6 engine power and the way the SUV handles. Kelley Blue Book noted that “the Ascender feels controlled and agile.” Another reviewer from Auto Media pointed out that the Ascender runs “smoothly and quietly” and “accelerates vigorously from a standstill.”
According to a review in the Orlando Sentinel, the Ascender beats the Ford Explorer when off-roading. Comparing the two, the reviewer praised, “… the solid rear axle of the Ascender is a better arrangement, giving the Isuzu more agility in severe off-road traction situations.” U.S. News also noted that the 2008 Ford Explorer’s “heavy steering detracts from overall performance.”
Intellichoice has not yet rated the 2008 Isuzu Ascender, but did recognize Isuzu’s entire 2006 line up as best in their class for low costs.