By on December 5, 2017

1999 Isuzu Vehicross, Image: Steph Willems

The most successful piece of used car advice I ever gave a friend involved telling her to buy a secondhand Chevrolet Cobalt.

Shock! Horror! Boredom! It panned out, though. No lie.

My friend was on her way to take a newspaper job in the wilds of northern British Columbia. She needed something reliable and ubiquitous. Something affordable to buy, but more importantly, something affordable to fix in a market not exactly saturated with premium imports. I knew from experience that the bland box’s 2.2-liter Ecotec was pretty bulletproof. Six years on, and that ’08 Cobalt, now located on the other side of the country, is still going strong. Operating expenses? Practically nonexistent.

Not long ago, a very different phone call preceded another friend’s used car purchase.

My godson’s dad, a full-time entertainer and owner of a Scion xB (past owner of a ’72 Super Beetle, too), doesn’t do things quietly. Kudos for being avant-garde, even in your driving preferences. Having just recently moved to a remote lakeside compound in some rugged territory over an hour north of town, the lure of a second vehicle had grown overwhelming. Work gigs, a wife who works in the city, two kids staying over on the weekend — maintaining a one-car lifestyle was next to impossible. Never mind what the bike fanatics say.

“I’ve found a four by four,” he told me.

“Oh yeah,” I said, assuming he’d locked in on an old four-wheel-drive GMC Sonoma, or perhaps some beat-up, mid-2000s crossover.

“You’ll never guess what it is,” he continued. Well, consider me intrigued … and suddenly worried. (Read More…)

By on October 30, 2015

1999 Isuzu Vehicross

Most mainstream consumers don’t recall much about Isuzu. If asked, they’ll either remember their friends’ droptop Amigo back in college, or if they are of a certain age, they’ll know Joe Isuzu and his outlandish claims. Some enthusiasts might know Isuzu as the partner in numerous joint ventures with GM, Honda and Subaru, among others.

That said, Isuzu built some remarkably good SUVs worthy of both halves of that descriptor. The Trooper especially was a good, sturdy off-roader that could handle family duties.

However, for a few short years, Isuzu made a wacky, limited-edition truck that could handle nearly any terrain in style.

(Read More…)

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