Eulogy For An Isuzu Impulse

Though most of the talk of the first generation Isuzu Impulse on Jalopnik had to do with a Project Car Hell comparison, with the news of Isuzu abandoning the North American market I thought I'd take a moment to remember one of the few North American Isuzus that were actually likable. I also have a personal connection to the car as the Impulse was the car my dad traded for when he realized you can't put a child seat in a Subaru Brat.


Though not spoken of with the same reverence as Starions and Supras, the Impulse did have a lot going for it. The design comes from Giorgetto Giugiaro, who some say recycled the design from the next generation Scirocco that was never to be. It also had decent performance, including a turbo version with 140 horsepower and 166 lb.-ft. of torque. The cockpit of the Impulse looked futuristic to the 7-year-old me, with more buttons and knobs than a 747. Looking at pictures now it looks a little ridiculous.

In 1990, the second generation Impulse arrived with little fanfare. Built on the same R-body platform as the Geo Storm, the "lotus tuned" suspension didn't change the fact that the general characteristics of the first generation had changed. Unfortunately, the car was also switched from RWD to FWD. Gee, when has that happened before?

My dad's Impulse was a pre-Lotus tuned, non-turbo Impulse so the chances are it is sitting in a scrap heap somewhere, which is too bad as the car is now part of the history of a failed attempt at winning in the North American market. We also had an old I-Mark, but I'd rather not remember that. [For a great history of the Impulse check out the Isuzu Performance Impulse Page]

[Photo Credit: MMBrown @ Flickr]

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