Isuzu has a reputation of building bullet-proof engines and it carries on with the launch of new Isuzu V-Cross priced at Rs. 18.69 lakhs(ex-Showroom Delhi). The utility vehicle segment has a clear winner here with a very practical build and upmarket cabin. Unlike other pickups, V-Cross packs a lot more equipment and comfort on offer to its occupants as well. The design language gives it a bulky character, which in turn makes it a head-turner.
With the new BS-VI compliant engine and the introduction of an automatic transmission, sale figures of V-Cross is set to shine. Will this Utility vehicle be able to win the hearts of off-roaders? Well, time will be the judge of that. There aren't many competitors in the true sense, but the ones which align well are Mahindra Thar and yet another Mahindra Getaway(Yes! The Scorpio turned pick-up truck).
Isuzu V-Cross comes in three variants. Standard and High are powered by the old 2.5L engine whereas High + gets the new BS6 compliant 1.9L heart that is high on performance. Both the variants come loaded with all the features one could ask for in the vehicle of this price bracket.
|High+; Z Prestige|
Price (Ex-Showroom Delhi)
|Key Features||4 airbags||All the features in Standard added/replaced and:||All the features in High added/replaced and:|
18-inch alloy wheels
|6-Speed Automatic transmission|
ABS, EBD, two front airbags
Hill hold assist, hill descent assist
|Live surround roof speakers|
Traction control with ESP
8 speaker system with Bluetooth, AUX
|Brake Override System(BOS)|
4 speaker system with Bluetooth, AUX
Rear chrome bumper
|Brown leather seats|
As of now, the new 1.9L BS6 engine is available only in the High+ variant and will most probably make its way down the line after the deadline of BS4 vehicles. But till then, to enjoy the V-Cross to its max, you will have to shell out close to Rs. 20 lakh, and that's a stretch!
There are currently no offers available for the V-Cross. The onset of BS6 has made automakers to clear off the old BS4 stock and our guess is that Isuzu is already done with its V-Cross stock.
The V-Cross is powered by the same BS-IV, 2.5-Litre diesel engine along with a new 1.9-litre BS-VI compliant engine that uses a variable geometry turbo. It gives a power output of 132 bhp of power (@3600 rpm) & 320Nm of torque (@1800-2800rpm). Because of a kerb weight of 1,905 kg, the power to weight (70bhp/ ton) & torque to weight ratio (168Nm/ ton) of V-Cross is poorer than its predecessor, but nothing to worry here, as the new 1.9L engine takes care of this weight bump.
The V-Cross is comfortable on the open road and the engine feels spirited once the needle crosses 1500 RPM and pulls strongly. The 2.5L engine is at its best in the 2000 - 3000 RPM range and you can easily maintain pace in the fast lane of the expressway. The mid-range is punchy enough and anyone tailgating you are in for a surprise! Just depress the accelerator and watch trailing vehicles get fade away in the rearview mirror. There is sufficient torque at your end to overtake slower moving traffic and it is only when you need to overtake very quickly or on steep inclines that you'll feel the need to downshift.
While the engine revs to 4,500 RPM, which is the start of the redline, it's not happy to see the higher end of the tachometer. When revved hard (over 3500 RPM), the 2.5L diesel starts sounding harsh & strained and moreover, there is no point taking the RPMs too high as this Isuzu has all of is power and torque clustered in the mid-range. Long-distance cruising is competent as 100 km/h comes in at a negligible 2100 RPM in 5th gear, while 120 km/h is seen at 2500 RPM. This makes up for a very potent cruising companion.
Rs. 16.55 lakhs
Rs. 9.6 lakhs
Rs. 9.81 lakhs
2.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine
2.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine
2.6-litre turbocharged diesel engine
136hp @ 3600rpm
105hp @ 3800rpm
120hp @ 4000rpm
320Nm @ 1800-2800rpm
247Nm @ 1800-2000rpm
280Nm @ 1800-2800rpm
Noise levels inside the cabin are well-controlled. The engine starts with a typical diesel clatter, which is audible in the cabin but once the motor warms up, this noise fades away. With the window up and air-con running, engine noise won't bother you, but it is audible.
V-Cross comes with an independent double-wishbone suspension with coil springs at the front and leaf springs at the rear. The V-Cross' ride is far from great and things are still okay at the front, but it has that typical bumpiness experienced in UVs with leaf springs on the second row. At city speeds, the ride is wiggly, with even small road irregularities being felt inside the cabin. On bad patches, the ride can get painful for those sitting at the rear seat and can get jumpy on bad roads.
This suspension is built to carry cargo, not passengers. You could improve comfort levels by adding weight to the loading bay. Just throw in a couple of sandbags and things should noticeably improve (weight will bring a performance + efficiency penalty though). What's nice about the suspension is its dampness. This is genuinely one of the most damped suspensions we have experienced. The large 18-inch alloys allow the vehicle to tackle large potholes easily and that 225 mm of ground clearance ensure that you don't scrape that undercarriage anywhere.
High-speed stability is strong thanks to those wide 245mm tyres. However, when it comes to cornering, there is a lot of body roll, which is expected from a tall body-on-frame vehicle. What regular drivers won't like is the steering. It's a hydraulic unit that feels heavy at parking & slow speeds. Due to this, the steering requires a fair deal of effort to operate in crowded city areas. Of course, as the speedometer climbs, things get easy. Still, those used to superlight ergonomics of modern cars won't be able to live with such a heavy unit. On the open road, the steering offers sufficient weight. That helps the feeling of stability as well.
In the braking department, the V-Cross performs decently. Like the other UVs, you get discs at the front and drums at the rear. While they have enough power to bring the truck to a standstill from high speeds, we would have loved to see discs at the rear (considering the price of the vehicle).
Unlike the old D-Max which ran on 215 section tires, the V-Cross gets 245-sections, which aid in overall braking performance. ABS, EBD and Brake Assist are a part of standard equipment. Press hard on the pedal at 100 km/h and the vehicle will have no trouble stopping in a straight line which is impressive for a vehicle of this calibre.
The only disadvantage of driving V-Cross in the city is carrying quintal of extra weight around and the engine taking its toll as well. It is clearly not the car for dense Indian traffic conditions, fancy take the road less travelled!
Pick-up trucks are destined to sweat it out and so both its competitors showcase similar efficiency figures and it's impressive how the V-Cross with its aggressive performance figures manage to have a thin gap against its much toned down the competition.
As soon as you jump into the V-Cross, you notice the swanky yet simple dashboard. Push the start/stop button and you will hear the diesel engine come to life. Switches for adjustment of ORVM, The placement of headlight level makes it easy to operate. The speedometer is simple and the needles are backlit, and they dim out giving fade effect when the vehicle is switched off.
Different modes in the MID display different parameters like Range, Average speed, Elapsed time, Trip modes, Different mode select, Temperature, Fuel level, Oil temperature, Time and other basic things. The drive select lever is placed near the handbrake and has an aluminium finish to give that premium feel. There are three drive modes in ISUZU, unlike other SUVs where they have four modes.
The gear lever has the same aluminium finish as the drive mode select lever. Please note that there are only 5 gears, with short gear ratio the drivability in the city is now easy. The different types of warning lights displayed, with that ISUZU logo in the MID when the key is positioned to ON. The steering mounted audio controls are big enough to be operated easily. The volume button has the same aluminium finish and feels premium to operate, and it gives click sound when pressed either side.
The climate control unit is placed in the centre of the dashboard and has some chrome accents to give a premium look. The small LCD shows the fan speed, temperature and vent throw mode. Auto climate control works well and makes the cabin cool in no time, all the buttons are backlit and feel premium in quality when pressed. The AC vents are placed diagonally, the hazard light button is placed above the audio head unit and can be reached easily. Interior cabin lights placed at angles to focus on passenger and driver side, along with sunglass holder placed right below.
The handbrake has not been given the aluminium finish the like drive mode select or gear knob has, instead it feels good to hold and the button also works perfectly without any rattling or movement. Rear seats are fixed and can’t be reclined for the comfort of the rear passengers, but a centre armrest has been provided to make the ride comfortable. Talking of a comfortable drive, tyre noise creeps in at speeds over 80 km/h and this increases as the speedometer climbs. Wind noise is also evident but only after the 110 mph mark.
Isuzu V-Cross comes equipped with a 70-inch touchscreen infotainment system which is a basic unit when compared to present standards. The highlighting feature of the infotainment setup is the roof-mounted surround speaker. It helps in amping up the overall vibe in the cabin,
But a bummer is the absence of features like Apple CarPlay and Android auto which is the norm nowadays. We can even forgive that, but the omission of an in-built navigation system is disheartening for a car that is built to wander.
Various infotainment features on offer are:
The side look of D-max V-cross gives the idea about the overall length of the car and how bulky and monstrous it is, as compared to other small cars. Those huge fender curves and wheel arches to accommodate the bigger size tyres enhance the overall look.
Don’t forget to look for that huge ground clearance, 225mm in this case. The front view is identical to other ISUZU models, with that big ISUZU logo and chrome grille. The bumper has large air vents for better airflow. Headlights have an aero design with black reflector bezels to give some contrast to the overall look. The hood is missing the air scoop as it had on the earlier D-Max model. Fog lamps are positioned well and give adequate throw in the dark.
The back is wide and simple, With those long tail lights in the corners giving it some character. The chrome handlebar to open the lid of the truck is positioned in the centre to give asymmetric look. The rear bumper is made of metal and it is sturdy and does the job well. Notice the HMSL positioned over the cabin, fairly visible from a distance.
The trunk is huge and it can easily accommodate small bikes or cycles. The ‘Best Liner’ protective layers make it more durable. The lid is supported by two traditional hinge joints and works well. After opening the lid, the overall length increases and makes it more agile to drive in city traffic. The rear windshield gives an optimal view to the driver and comes with a rear defogger.
The underbelly of the V-Cross exposes the tough chassis built to take the abuse of off-roading. The spare wheel is steel rim, not an alloy with a full-size tyre. The exhaust tip is exposed on the right side. The leaf spring suspension is also visible from this angle. This pickup truck has got some character to its looks. Look at those beautifully designed wheel fenders. Notice the side view mirror which also gets chrome finishing and has turn indicators at its corners.
Isuzu V-Cross is not a beast you would want to see in your rearview mirror, even if you do, just let it pass. V-Cross comes standard with safety features like ABS, EBD and dual airbags for the front passengers. You need not worry about the passenger safety as the construction is top-notch and the body feels solid with a bassy thud while closing the doors.
Traction control helps a lot in case of off-roading to tackle major hurdles. ABS does not kick in very often but if you slam your brakes too hard, you will be left out with a clunking noise and feel from the brake pedal thanks to the sensors.
Battle of the two cheapest and potent overlanders in the market, since Gypsy has left the grounds. Isuzu V-Cross offers a lot of comforts and feels premium (which it should consider the price tag) whereas, Thar is more like a Jeep which only offers bare-bones required for a vehicle. Mahindra Thar has a very bumpy and uncomfortable ride with a lot of wind noise coming out of that canvas overtop, while the cabin of Isuzu keeps you seated like any other 5-seater. V-Cross offers a lot of practicality whereas, Thar offers a better Overlanding experience thanks to its short wheelbase. Isuzu V-Cross looks sharp and trendy in comparison to Thar which has aged well for its price until the new model comes in next year.
Mahindra Getaway was popularised by Gul Panag in her show, where she used a heavily modified version of the same. Other than that, it's hard to spot one on the road as people compare its looks with that of a commercial pickup. Isuzu V-Cross offers a lot more styling, comfort and value for money as Mahindra Getaway is a privatized selling version of the commercial unit. With a comparable difference in price range, Isuzu V-Cross is a better buy of the two.
There is a clear difference in positioning between the D-Max and V-Cross. The D-Max was priced lower than its competitors, whereas the V-Cross is priced the highest! Unlike the D-Max, which a lot of commercial owners bought, the V-Cross targets the more premium segment. For a pickup truck - which is so obviously a niche vehicle - the V-Cross has generated a phenomenal amount of interest among the masses.
Before buying a pickup, please think it through properly. Living with a pickup isn't the same as an SUV. There is a fair share of disadvantages, Pickups are a different breed, but it'll be relatively easier to convince your family as the V-Cross doesn't look like a 'goods carrier’ although it has a better fit, finish and quality than the Xenon & Getaway. It is, definitely a better option to go for if one is considering buying a pickup, but considering the price which is on the higher side, ISUZU should have weighed more on the premium tag.