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2004 Review Isuzu Axiom S Model 2WD

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By Bob Gordon
Co-Publisher The Auto Channel

SEE ALSO: New Car Buyer's Guide for Isuzu

The 250 HP Isuzu Axiom is full of surprises…and all of them good. With its SUV type good looks it compares very favorably with the others in the parking lot…and when it comes to hefty-ness it leads the pack in towing with a capacity of 4500 lbs, and a carrying payload of more than a half a ton.

The 2004 Axiom I drove was a two wheel drive model that had the solid feel of a 4x4…and unless you regularly drive in snowy and icy conditions the Axiom can do all the towing and hauling a sportsman, camper or soccer mom would need.

The Axiom I drove caused lots of turned heads and lots of what is its’…its 3.5 liter direct injection fuel feed system V-6 delivers a segment leading 250 HP and a beefy 246 lb feet of torque. Isuzu is the first to offer this system in vehicles priced under $100,000.

With a direct injection engine, you get more horsepower and torque because the engine is set at a higher compression, and fuel is burned more completely, resulting in improved fuel use, cleaner emissions and by the way you can use regular gas in the Axiom and when you want to put the pedal to the metal, there is no throttle cable but a drive by wire system that increases responsiveness.

There are other high tech built-ins like: a dual range intelligent suspension system that the driver can choose to match the conditions and desired feel of the ride. A three channel advanced ABS braking system that monitors and adjusts wheel speed during braking. Axiom’s Multi-Informational Display

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shows audio/climate systems, plus trip computer, range, average/instant fuel consumption, digital compass, clock, calendar, service reminder and outside temperature…whew lots of info.

The fit and finish were more than acceptable with the neat interior equipped with

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cup holders tie downs, and a plethora of nooks and crannies to store stuff.

Although the Axiom I drove did have a 4-way power driver's seat, I (my back) feel that it needs more lumbar support…ok every one has an opinion about what is comfortable and since I am writing this review I can give you my opinion…so just make sure that you spend enough time test driving the Axiom to make sure it hits your comfort zone

With an MSRP of around $25,000 this Isuzu is well worth considering when a 2WD SUV is what you need. Take this for what its worth…my oldest son lives in Vail Colorado and he and his wife get around in an Isuzu Rodeo, 4WD of course and he has been happy with his choice.

Popular Science Magazine Report:

November 7, 2003 -- New York, NY -- The editors of Popular Science magazine have honored Isuzu with a prestigious 2003 "Best of What's New" Award for its 3.5-liter direct-injection V6 gasoline engine. The engine-introduced earlier this fall as standard equipment on the 2004 Isuzu Axiom and optional on the 2004 Isuzu Rodeo-is the first direct-injection gasoline engine available on any sport utility vehicle in the U.S. market.

The engine was among only a handful of innovations recognized by Popular Science in the Automotive Technology category of its 16th annual awards, which were announced today at Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall in New York City. Awards were also presented to winners in such categories as Space & Aviation, Computing, Gadgets, Home Entertainment, Personal Health, Photography and Recreation.

"'Best of What's New' is the culmination of a year's worth of searching, testing and deciding from among a huge range of products-all of which stand to change the way we live, work and play," said Scott Mowbray, editor-in-chief of Popular Science. Specifically, the magazine recognized the Isuzu direct-injection gasoline engine for producing "more power [and] lower emissions [so] everybody wins."

"Automakers abroad that need to squeeze more power from their engines with less gas often use direct-injection (DI) technology," according to the magazine's December issue, which will reach newsstands on November 12. "Typically, DI blasts a lean (meaning light on gasoline) air-fuel mixture directly into the cylinder. Trouble is, that lean air-fuel mixture creates high levels of nitrogen oxides emissions. Isuzu approached DI in a different way. Since DI engines also allow for higher compression ratios than a typical fuel injector, Isuzu pumps a standard air-fuel mixture into the cylinder, but at high pressure. This added pressure makes the gas burn so much more efficiently that the new Isuzu Axiom - equipped with the first DI engine sold in a mainstream American vehicle-generates 250 horsepower (20 more than last year's model) while squeezing out 2 more miles per gallon. And it's EPA-certified as a low-emissions vehicle."

The only other vehicles available for sale in the United States to offer direct-injection gasoline engines are the $116,495 BMW 760Li and the Rolls-Royce Phantom, priced well above $300,000. Both of those vehicles require the use of premium unleaded fuel, while the Isuzu direct-injection gasoline engine runs on regular, 87-octane unleaded gasoline.

The "Best of What's New" Award is the latest in a string of accolades for the Isuzu powerplant. The 2004 Isuzu Axiom, which features the engine as standard equipment, has also been nominated for "5Best Trucks of the Year" by Car and Driver magazine; "Four Wheeler of the Year" by Four Wheeler magazine; and "4x4 of the Year" by 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine. Terry Maloney, president of Isuzu Motors America, Inc., said, "The response to the Isuzu directinjection engine has been overwhelming, but not surprising. Isuzu is proud to bring an engine to market that produces fewer emissions, gets better fuel economy, and generates more power. And we are deeply grateful to be recognized by the editors of Popular Science, one of the nation's leading consumer magazines, for this achievement."

Popular Science is published by Time4 Media, the world's leading publisher of leisure-time magazines. Founded in 1872, PopSci is the world's largest science and technology magazine, with a circulation of 1.45 million subscribers and a readership of more than seven million people. Time4 Media® is a subsidiary of Time Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.

American Isuzu Motors Inc. is the U.S. distributor of Isuzu sport utility vehicles and diesel engines. For more information access