Tuesday, June 27, 2017

One Last Ride: Driving Up North with the Isuzu Crosswind


It’s not every day that test drive events start with a question from the hosts, but that’s exactly what happened here when Isuzu made everyone ponder their most memorable trip with the Crosswind. As one of the country’s longest-running nameplates, the Crosswind has gained a huge and loyal following since its introduction in 2001. Known for its versatility, durability, and reliability, the Crosswind is adaptable vehicle fit for almost every Juan, whether it’s for family, friends, or business associates.

Even before arriving at the northern tip of Luzon, Isuzu brought everyone to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport using well-worn Crosswind units. As a passenger, it’s surprising how durable it felt. It’s solid and squeak free despite clocking over 80,000 kilometers. It also had the most frigid air conditioning known to man.



Throughout its 16-year lifespan, the Crosswind has gone almost everywhere in the Philippines, so it’s a pleasant surprise that this is the first time it’s traveling the coastline of Cagayan from Tuguegarao to Sta. Ana. Arriving at the Tuguegarao Airport, five units awaited, representing each of the 2017 Crosswind variants.

Hopping on board, it comes as no surprise that the Crosswind remains a family favorite because of its spaciousness. Whether as a front or rear passenger, it has generous amounts of head, shoulder, and leg room all around.



It always feels like the perfect road trip vehicle for the whole family and their stuff. In fact, on this drive, the Sportivo-X A/T was loaded to the brim with 6 people and luggage. And more than just space for people, there’s also an assortment of cubby holes for all sorts of knick-knacks including cup holders on the first and second rows. Apart from the space and versatility, the Crosswind also lived up to its frugal reputation, barely sipping diesel throughout the drive. Though not exactly the fastest vehicle on the road today, the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder meant the Crosswind’s fuel needle barely budged.

It’s no sedan or SUV, so it cannot be expected to carve through corners. It needs a re-think to get the Crosswind to handle right. Saw the steering wheel like a sports car, and it’s a mess of understeer and body roll. Remain gentle with the steering inputs and it rewards the driver with a ride that’s massively comfortable. It’s so comfortable that at one point, everyone but the driver was cradled to sleep. Equally useful during these conditions is the durable and no nonsense platform. Since provincial roads are typically unforgiving to passenger cars, the tough chassis is perfect for this sort of terrain. Fitted with a long-travel Double Wishbone and Leaf Spring suspension, it rides through any obstacle with aplomb.



And with Filipino car buyers usually attracted first to a car for its looks, all of the Crosswind’s practicality and durability is wrapped around a robust and sturdy body that has withstood the test of time. Suffice to say, this last iteration is the cleanest one yet. These changes, first introduced in 2015 include: headlights with sweeping graphics at the bottom, a silver six-hole grille, a one-piece body-colored front bumper (with built-in over rider), a shark fin style radio antenna, a matte black spare tire cover, black aluminum side step boards, and revised designs for the 15-inch alloy wheels. Interestingly, these changes are proudly designed and engineered in the Philippines. In short, this is a Crosswind strictly designed for Filipino tastes.

Along for the drive was Isuzu Philippines Corporation President, Mr. Hajime Koso who said that Isuzu continues to take pride in their longest running vehicle nameplate in the country, as he vows to provide class-leading features for the followers of the Crosswind:

“The Isuzu Crosswind perfectly characterizes the commitment that Isuzu has and would be delivering to the Filipino market. We will continue to find more ways to make this vehicle more Filipino-centric,” he said.



Going back to the question first posted by Isuzu representatives, the most memorable Crosswind drive was in 2004 during the Cloverleaf Challenge. At that time, Isuzu brought out all their vehicle offerings in an attempt to circle around Luzon province simultaneously. As fate would have it, the Crosswind group had to travel the longest distance: 1,300 kilometers from Manila to Sorsogon and back. Apart from the distance, the unpredictable weather meant it had to travel through changeable weather conditions as well as through the infamous Bitukang Manok. Suffice to say, the Crosswind performed beautifully then as it did once more in Cagayan.

As the full implementation of Euro 4 emissions compliance comes in by January 1, 2018, Isuzu is set to close the Crosswind’s chapter after 16 years on the market. With more than one hundred thousand owners though, they will remain committed in supporting their venerable AUV for at least a decade with a full supply of spare parts even after production stops around September. Whatever the next chapter brings, the Isuzu Crosswind will always be remembered as the one vehicle that has managed to keep itself in stride with the ever-changing taste of the times.




33 comments:

  1. Grab yours now before those freaking environmentalists pry it off the market!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kaya tayo third world till now because of people with reasoning and mentality like yours.

      Delete
    2. kala ko dahil sa mga magnanakaw na nakaupo sa politika kaya tayo nag hihirap yun pala kaya tayo naghihirap dahil sa paghahabol ng pagbili sa crosswind lol

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. It's strange that you expect speed from a people carrier.

      Go look somewhere else.

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    2. Try using your shifter. You might be flooring it from first gear.

      Delete
    3. @10:33PM

      Uh, it's absolutely NOT strange to expect a people-carrier to be fast, you know. The Innova with the 2.8 1GD engine IS in fact a fast people-carrier.

      Delete
  3. At last, It will soon be killed. Just a few more months. Can't wait!

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  4. "In short, this is a Crosswind strictly designed for Filipino tastes."

    Yeah... coz pinoys dont value safety and environment, isuzu didn't have to put standard safety and better engine in this "best selling" vehicle.

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    Replies
    1. It's simple business logic - you sell what people want, at the price that they want.

      Most need a family car that's durable and easy on fuel. This car gets the job done - no more, no less. And that's all that matters.

      For makers, you don't fix what's not broken.

      Most don't really give a crap about the environment when considering a car to buy. Do you? The fact that you're driving says you're killing the environment too.

      Delete
    2. Killing the environment but not like your crosswind which also directly affect health with soot. Being well informed is important when buying a car. Think also of safety not only of savings.
      If you say business logic for this crosswind is good, then innovation is dead as it cannot move forward. This crosswind is one example why PH is still stuck in first gear (another is the jeepney). Please note there are such words as "innovation" and "improvement" which all businessmen should employ. Cold war ended decades ago and your crosswind still employs almost the same features as the cars back then.
      A good business logic is to improve/change the engine and put safety features. Never mind if the externals look as is.
      Is Isuzu afraid of increasing its price upon incorporating improvements? Will your crosswind still be competitive?

      Delete
    3. And that's why it sells.

      Ikaw na rin ang nagsabi - Cold War tech, still working many decades later. Isn't that the pinnacle of design?

      Nagbago na ang lahat, pero ito, luma, relevant pa rin. It's practically immortal.

      Businessmen take calculated risks. You have a best seller that works well, can take a lot of beating and is very affordable. A sane businessman would think twice about the risk of losing the qualities that make the product sell well.

      In Isuzu's case, it continues to pay off. The same old car and people keep buying it.

      Why then, would they gild the lily?

      Many people don't think they want a new engine, and many are satisfied with the level of safety they're getting. It's good enough for them, it's good for Isuzu.

      Had their (Isuzu) business logic been flawed, the buying public would have killed the product long ago.

      Not the case is it? ;)

      Delete
  5. It's sad to see it go, pero I guess it's for the better.

    Lots of commuting memories from college - pinaka OK sakyan ang PUV pag Crosswind, lalo na sa rear with its wide-opening door.

    Dami lang nabibiktima nung fake handle pangbukas sa labas.

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  6. It's sad to see crosswind being phased out. I think the latest design is one of the most handsome cars out there. I hope Isuzu comes up with a successor to the Crosswind in the near future.

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  7. After test driving the car, would you buy it?

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    Replies
    1. Then why do people still buy it?

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    2. Isuzu says it's down to simplicity in maintenance. That's what the provincial market looks for. Something that their neighborhood mechanic can repair. That's also the reason why a vast majority of Crosswind sales are MT and destined for areas outside Metro Manila.

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    3. do you agree with their claims?

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    4. No fancy electronics, simple and robust construction? Possibly. I don't own a Crosswind personally, but people who own one become loyal Isuzu owners. They would have 2 to 3 Crosswinds in their garage.

      Delete
  8. Like it 5 thumbs

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  9. Tulad pa rin ba ng dati crosswind im planning to buy XT

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  10. Grabe naman makapg salita my pambili kaba inggit ka lang sayo kariton siguro?

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  11. Oyz wag kang ganyan subok na crosswind matibay pang masa madami kumukuha sa pansariling kabuhayan un chioce nila pre peace

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  12. Natawa ako doon sa isa ung crosswind daw nya ng overtake ng everest saka hilux and ranger pa daw 3.2 baka inovertake mo naka parking sila sa mall kaya pala dami mo na overtake eh kawawa naman crosswind mo

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  13. Mux is more gud looks

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  14. I saw a post that Isuzu is set to release another limited edition crosswind. It's called the black series. I found it in auto search philippines facebook page. It looks dope.

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  15. There's nothing wrong with the car really. One should treat it like a truck. Nothing to get excited about but does its job.

    The real problem are the owners. They treat it as if it's the best thing since sliced bread. Wala ng ibang maganda kung hindi Isuzu. Pinaka mabilis, pinakamatipid, pinakareliable daw. It has it's stengths but Isuzu owners, please don't go bullshitting that it's fast, good looking, comfortable or safe because it ain't. Stop treating this crap like a Ferrari. You bought this because you needed to, not because you wanted to. Stop justifying your choice with unrealistic claims.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People buy this car because they needed a reliable people carrier, cargo carrier, and go through provincial roads without sacrificing performance.

      Yes other cars are more modern but do they can perform all three tasks? No. Cars/SUVs can seat only 5/7 and cannot carry heavy loads because its suspension system is coil springs and not leaf springs.

      Why even bother wanting a fast car in the Philippines? It's always traffic anyways. You can't really go very fast. Even in expressways have 100kph limit. Going very fast only makes you more prone to accident that is why you need airbags.

      Delete
    2. Kanya-kanya many naman 'yan. Walang basagan ng trip.

      Kung sa tingin ng owner e fast, good looking at safe, well, pera niya yung pinambili niya ng Crosswind, hindi sayo. As kanya, panalo - wala kang magagawa 'dun.

      Wala ka nang pakialam kung anong dahilan bakit binili.

      Most people don't have the luxury to separate a workhorse from a toy, so they compromise. Crosswind na may roof rails, racks, and other rice-y accessories - bahala sila kung ano gawin nila, kotse at pera nila yun, hindi sa'yo.

      Now ikaw, bahala ka as sarili mong fast, good looking and safe - we won't give a sh*t.

      Delete
  16. I don't get why people keep on parroting that the thing's old and unsafe.

    It is what it is - a cheap, old but reliable diesel vehicle.

    Simplicity is its merit - something that can take abuse, last a couple of decades and can be repaired by your treeshade mechanic. Some people are OK with the level of safety they're getting with this, so be it.

    People who demand more are spoiled for choice - there are many other better, safer diesels out there. But to those who like it simple, there's this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This old and unsafe crap ain't cheap mister. The top of the line costs more than 1M.

      Delete
  17. i own a 2003 XTRM model, still working fine today. easy to maintain. does its job, getting from point a to point b. back then crosswinds are still "cheap", but the pricing today is ridiculous! Php 1.235M for the TOTL variant??? heck interior is still the same as my 2003 model and still without any safety features (aside from the seatbelts). i'm glad they are discontinuing the crosswind! time to move on!

    ReplyDelete

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