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Paying tribute to an automotive icon

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Text and photos by Chris Van Hoven

We judge the merit of a car on several factors – build quality, engine power, features, and other specs you’d find printed on its brochure – but if you were to judge a car to be as good as the memories you have driving it, then the Isuzu Crosswind may very well be the best car ever made. With over 16 years of traversing Philippine roads notched in its belt, the Isuzu Crosswind is one of the country’s longest running models, serving as the stalwart steed to countless families. The full implementation of Euro 4 emissions compliance by January 1, 2018 means that the Isuzu Crosswind is nearing the end of its long journey. As a way of saying farewell, Isuzu Philippines took us on a 260-kilometer road trip from Tuguegarao to Cagayan and back, to remind us of why the Crosswind deserves its place as an icon on Philippine roads.

A COMFORTABLE RIDE

Generous seat cushions and high-profile tires combined with long-travel double wishbone suspension at the front and semi-elliptical leaf springs at the rear gifted the Crosswind with an extremely comfortable ride through any terrain. Provincial roads usually alternate from well-paved to not paved at all, and the Crosswind handled it all with relative composure.

GREAT FUEL ECONOMY

Powered by Isuzu’s 2.5-liter 4JA1-L turbocharged engine which outputs 85 hp and 185 Nm of torque, the Isuzu Crosswind inspires as much excitement during acceleration as watching icebergs form. Its plodding pace does contribute to excellent fuel economy however, with us not requiring any refueling stops during the entire stretch, and a quarter tank of fuel left over at our final stop for good measure.

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RELIABLE ENGINE

While urban environments are dominated by Hondas and Toyotas, a quick glance on any provincial setting will tell you which brand they rely on for their heavy lifting. The reliability of Isuzu diesel engines has attained an almost mythical status, owing to their bullet-proof construction and dependable engineering. The myth was proven to be true, as our test drive unit’s engine – exceeding 80,000 kilometers – showed no signs of age. In fact, the engine performed like new, be it during high revs or steady idling.

LOADS OF ROOM

The Isuzu Crosswind ferried a full complement of seven people and all our luggage with room to spare. Class-leading third row space meant that even the third-row passengers remained comfortable during the long drive, and numerous cubby holes and beverage holders ensured that all our drinks were within easy reach. Folding down the third row reveals cavernous luggage space, with enough room for several large suitcases should the need arise.

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EASY MAINTENANCE

One of the best things about the humble Crosswind is its simplicity. No gimmicky tech, no fancy automatic mechanisms, no high-tech electronics. The Crosswind has exactly what it needs to get the job done, and that results in a car with an inclination to no-fuss maintenance. Its owners don’t have to worry about replacing expensive circuitry or special batteries, and its ubiquity promises that spare parts are cheap and plentiful. This easy-to-maintain characteristic of the Crosswind is the main contributor to its longevity, and one of the biggest reasons why it’s so well-loved.

Isuzu vows to continue supporting Crosswind owners with a full supply of spare parts for at least ten more years, even after its production stops during the fourth quarter of this year. Isuzu can rest assured knowing that they developed a product that uniquely catered to Filipino tastes and needs in the Crosswind, and its strong fan base will be eagerly awaiting its successor.

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