Truck Rewind: 1993 Isuzu XU-1 Concept – An SUV Way Ahead of Its Time

This Isuzu had gullwing doors that put a Tesla Model X to shame.

This is the Isuzu XU-1 concept [Photo: Isuzu]

Meet the Isuzu XU-1 Concept and its insane gullwing doors.

Styling is the name of the game when it comes to the remarkable design of the Isuzu XU-1.  Its main feature was its four gull-wing door design and lower opening door catch that turns into a step.  Built on a Isuzu Trooper platform and using the same 3.2-liter V6, transmissions, 4×4 system and overall running gear, the Isuzu XU-1 was more of a rolling design study.

[Photo: Isuzu]
At the time, it was one of the most unique and (potentially) feasible vehicles in this segment. Perhaps if they used conventional doors and less gimmicks, it could have gone into production like its little brother, the Isuzu Vehicross.

The Vehicross is quirky, but…

Urban faction multi-purpose utility vehicle” that the family and friends use for weekend leisure, concepts of versatile new usage and values ​​from shopping to commuting is “XU-1”. The direction of the urban type RV which is mainstream now that both everyday usability and bad road running ability are compatible is presented.

“Dynamic & Friendly” is the theme of XU-1. Unique proportions developed in Max packaging philosophy to RV, a simple and clean surface, sculptural and dynamic graphics, a dynamic high-belt line and a dynamic feeling created by an open side glass, a sense of intimidation while symbolizing RV likeness It has become a design aiming for fusion of spare wheel storage etc, which is RV-like powerfulness and urban smartness. In addition to the gull wing type front and rear doors, the step part also opens to the front, and getting on and off and usability in everyday life are pursued with it.” – – (Translated from Japanese) Isuzu Museum

Details about the Isuzu UX-1 are hard to come by and the details about its demise are even harder to find. Still, one thing is for sure, it appeared through three seasons of auto shows before Isuzu gave up on the idea. Other automakers extensively studied the concept and even Isuzu seriously considered producing it, perhaps as a four-door followup to the outlandish Isuzu Vehicross.

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.