American Isuzu Motors Inc. announced it will begin production of a seven-passenger large SUV, the Isuzu Ascender, in North America in September 2002 and will make its debut in dealer showrooms shortly thereafter. The Ascender will assume its place at the top of the Isuzu line, following in the tradition of the Trooper, which Ascender will supplant as Isuzu’s flagship. A 4.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine generating 270 horsepower and 275 foot-pounds of torque at 3,600 rpm will move Ascender. Both two- and four-wheel drive models will be offered. Four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock braking system will be standard on all models, along with a towing capacity of 6,500 pounds. The Ascender will ride on a 128.9-inch wheelbase – long enough for a standard third row of seats, allowing the vehicle to accommodate seven passengers. Other comfort, convenience, and safety features will include heated mirrors; roof rack; running boards; daytime running lamps; moisture-sensitive windshield wipers; dual-zone climate controls; overhead console; leather seating surfaces (with heated front seats and driver’s seat memory); front- and rear-side airbags; cruise control; on-board computer; Bose sound system; and OnStar telematics system. Like all Isuzu sport/utility vehicles, Ascender will be backed by a 10-year/120,000-mile power-train limited warranty. The Isuzu Ascender will be based on a General Motors platform, which it will share with the long-wheelbase Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL also scheduled to be introduced during 2002.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials