Isuzu VehiCROSS

Isuzu VehiCROSS (1993)

The VehiCROSS made its first appearance at the 1993 Tokyo Auto Show. While most design studios and manufacturers go to great extents to produce outrageous mock-ups and make claims of their mock-ups great technical ability (based on mostly untested principle), the VehiCROSS concept was actually produced to do both. In an attempt to re-shape the then developing SUV market, Isuzu managed to create a vehicle unique in the automotive world. The VehiCROSS’s objective was to create a “Lightweight, compact, ecologicaly clean and functional” vehicle, and “…to produce an emotional recreational vehicle, one that you will care about. The design is paramount.”

Led by Satomi Murayama, chief designer/manager at Isuzu’s European office in Brussels, the design team was comprised of an international group: Simon Cox (Assistant Chief Designer best known for designing the Lotus Elan’s interior), Joji Yanaka, Andrew Hill and Nick Robinson. The task was to build a “lightweight but tough, fun but environmentall friendly” SUV. Isuzu did this in spades.

Features of the prototype:

  • 205 Section tires
  • Carbonfiber Grill
  • Carbonfiber Hood Insert
  • Hood Hinges (the fangs) that open the hood forward
  • Rear Window opens upward (like a hatch), while the door swings to the side (like the production model)
  • Carbonfiber Floor panels
  • Carbonfiber Fuel Tank
  • Aluminium Chassis (weighs 200 lbs)
  • Double wishbone and twin shock absorbers all round
  • Direct-injected supercharged 1.6 liter engine (close relative of the Lotus Elan) said to produce the power of a 2.2 liter motor
  • Fitted Tow-hitch
  • Two-piece back door, with top opening upwards and bottom swinging to the side.
  • Motorcycle type binnacle (above steering wheel)
  • Vertical Sub-panel fitted with gauges and Sony Satellite navigation system w/LED pop-up Monitor (comes out of dash-top)