Launched in 2002 and retired just a couple of years later, the Isuzu Axiom came by its name in a thoughtful and democratic way. Its moniker wasn’t the result of myriad brainstorming sessions by a cadre of marketing types locked away in some remote steel tower. Rather, Isuzu held a contest to see who could come up with the best name. “Axiom” was picked by a citizen of Redmond, Washington, who got a brand-new Isuzu Axiom for his efforts.
Unfortunately, this degree of thoughtfulness was not reflected in the Axiom’s design and overall quality. The Axiom wasn’t as new as it should have been: The SUV shared an aged platform with its sibling, the Rodeo. Ergonomics within its cabin were poor; many controls were non-intuitive and illogically placed. Legroom was cramped for those riding in back. And the Axiom’s sluggish steering and non-existent road feel didn’t exactly enhance its fun-to-drive quotient.
Still, this Isuzu had its assets. A chiseled chin and crossover-like styling gave the vehicle some visual distinctiveness, and its V6 was up for most of the tasks thrown its way. The Axiom’s available four-wheel-drive system was also fairly sophisticated. But on the whole, the Axiom was lacking in too many areas. In our editors’ ratings, the Axiom earned a “not recommended” score in all the key areas: dynamics, comfort, design/build quality and function. If you’re shopping for a used SUV, you would be better served by pretty much any of the Axiom’s competitors.