Off roaders are some of the most practical cars money can buy. We take a look at some off-road oddballs.
Isuzu Vehicross, £9800
Some might reasonably argue that car design is becoming increasingly homogenised as the years go by. But one car with its own sci-fi character (and certainly a unique one at that) is the Isuzu Vehicross, a midsize SUV produced by the Japanese car maker before it moved exclusively to the truck and pick-up markets.
The Vehicross was never intended for the UK market. It made its debut at the 1993 Tokyo motor show and four years later went into production with few changes made to its design. Two-door SUVs were nothing new (the Land Rover Defender and Jeep Wrangler were already well established), but the Vehicross possessed its own rugged and distinctive styling. Based on the platform of the Isuzu Trooper, the model featured 16in wheels with chrome centre caps, pronounced overhangs, a pair of titanium ‘teeth’ in the grille and even a rear spoiler.
Its production run from 1997 to 2001 was intentionally restricted, with just 5958 models produced. Only 1805 of those were for the Japanese market and as such right-hand-drive. The rest were shipped over to the US. That doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting and eye-catching used buy, though, and a few models are dotted around the classifieds, having been imported to the UK.
A choice of 3.2-litre and 3.5- litre petrol V6 engines meant the Vehicross wasn’t exactly a slouch. In its strongest guise, the model provided a 0-62mph sprint of less than 9.0sec and a torque-on-demand four-wheel drive system helped direct its 230lb ft of torque while retaining comfort on the road.
Its capability extended to other terrains, too, as it was brought onto the scene to show off Izuzu’s off-road technology: it was one of a small number of cars to be fitted with motorcycle-style coilover shock absorbers and head-expansion chambers.