2008 Isuzu Ascender

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2008 Isuzu Ascender Review


Have you been itching to get a new GMC Envoy or Chevrolet TrailBlazer, but you're waiting for some big event to ensure you get the most bang for your buck? We're going to let you in on a little secret: The deal you've been waiting for is at this very moment sitting at the Isuzu dealership. It's the 2008 Ascender, a carbon copy of the GMC and Chevrolet twins, with a nearly-identical price tag but with an additional two years added to the powertrain warranty (seven-years/75,000 miles vs. five-years/100,000 miles). The Ascender is not available with a V8 engine, but it has the same suspension, same interior features and same seating capacity as the GMC and Chevrolet offerings. How can you go wrong?

You'll Like This Car If...

If you love everything about the Chevy TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy but you want a different warranty, slightly different styling and can live without OnStar, the Ascender is the way to go.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need maximum interior space, the five-passenger Ascender may not offer enough seating for your growing family. A sparse dealer network may make servicing a bit difficult, depending upon where you live.

What's New for 2008

Head-curtain side airbags are now standard equipment on all 2008 models.

Driving the Ascender
Driving Impressions

On the road, you'll find the Ascender feels controlled and agile. A five-link rear suspension keeps the rear end from bouncing around on rough and broken pavement, and the shock...

... absorber settings deliver a car-like ride that does not suffer once you move off-road. Four-wheel-drive models feature an automatically-engaged system, which can be left in the automatic mode during normal highway driving, or shifted into four-high or four-low when traversing deep snow, loose sand or off-road trails. The sturdy in-line six-cylinder engine makes a hardy 285 horsepower, providing the Ascender with more-than-adequate response in the areas of acceleration and passing, even when fully loaded.

Seven-year/75,000 Mile Powertrain Warranty
The Ascender's seven-year/75,000 mile powertrain warranty is one of the best in the business and offers two additional years over the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy.

Adjustable Foot Pedals
The optional power-adjustable foot pedals (part of the Luxury Package) make finding a comfortable driving position a breeze.

2008 Isuzu Ascender Details

The Ascender's instrument panel is modern and fresh, with neat semicircular air ducts on the center stack and tasteful wood grain appliques surrounding the radio and heating controls. Upgraded models feature steering wheel-mounted touch controls for the audio and cruise control functions, allowing you to keep your hands on the wheel while making adjustments. Color choices inside are limited to gray or beige, but the plastics have a nice heavy texture and generally fit together well.


The 2008 Isuzu Ascender is a solid-looking SUV with a purposeful front-end design and handsome sheet metal all around. It has a number of thoughtful conveniences, like the right-side mirror that tilts down when the transmission is placed into reverse, or the puddle lamps built into the bottom halves of the outside mirrors to illuminate the ground alongside the vehicle.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base Ascender includes a four-speed automatic transmission, power windows, dual-zone manual air conditioning with rear-seat controls, head-curtain side airbags, engine immobilizer, three 12-volt power outlets, fog lights, two-tone paint, tilt wheel, AM/FM stereo with CD and rear wiper/washer.

Optional Equipment

Most options are bundled into packages or wrapped into the trim levels, and include dual power mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel, luggage rack with crossbars, four-wheel drive, automatic locking rear differential, power-adjustable foot pedals, leather seats, eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar support, keyless entry, heated front seats, Bose audio, XM Satellite Radio and cruise control.

Under the Hood

The 4.2-liter in-line six is all the Ascender needs, unless you want to tow something really big, in which case a V8-powered SUV might make a better choice. The 4.2-liter engine is surprisingly smooth and quiet, generating terrific low-end torque and good fuel economy.

4.2-liter in-line 6
285 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
276 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD), 14/20 (4WD)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?