During the ’80s and ’90s, thanks to cooperation with General Motors, Isuzu sold numerous models on the American market. And they gained a reputation for being durable and dependable vehicles. However, Isuzu realized that the future was in SUV models. So, in the early ’90s, they decided to produce a new, highly capable lifestyle model they called the VehiCross.
Behind this strange name was an even stranger vehicle that they only sold in a three-door specification. Also, it only came with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and automatic transmission. Isuzu designed the VehiCross to be a futuristic off-roader, giving it their best all-terrain technology and components.
In the late ’80s, the Suzuki Motor Company needed something to make buyers forget the Samurai scandal. They wanted to regain the position they lost on the compact SUV market. And the answer was a new model they called the Escudo in Japan, as well as the Sidekick or Vitara. It was Suzuki’s global project to introduce a contemporary, on-road oriented model.
They hoped it would appeal to the younger crowd because it was safer, better equipped and more usable than the small, problematic Samurai. So, they presented the first-generation Sidekick or Vitara in 1988. Immediately, it met universal praise from car buyers and the motoring press.
It was the right model for the times with its cool looks and updated options. Also, they offered long and short wheelbase versions and optional open top. The Vitara worked well as a family SUV, as well as a fun vehicle for weekend trips to the forest.
Most car enthusiasts would love to see the 20 discontinued SUVs on this list make a comeback. They would probably do better nowadays due to the huge popularity of this type of vehicle. In fact, most people finally appreciate the versatility of the SUV.