The Isuzu Axiom was introduced by Japanese automaker Isuzu as a sports utility vehicle in 2002. Isuzu used the ‘knife-blade’ theme for designing this car. It was based on the Rodeo platform and assembled in Lafayette, Indiana, U.S. at the Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. plant. The Trooper was replaced by Axiom while it itself was replaced in 2005 by Isuzu Ascender.
There were two trims offered for Axiom, i.e. base and the upmarket XS. The XS trim was available with some advanced features such as heated front seats, foglamps, a sunroof, and leather upholstery.
As for name, Isuzu held a contest to choose the name for their vehicle. The winner of the contest Dr. Hakan Urey from Redmond, Washington came up with Axiom name and later in 2001 he won Axiom itself.
The Axiom was available with Torque on Demand (TOD) 4WD system. In 2004, a direct-injection 6VE1 V6 engine was released improving the power of the vehicle from 230 hp 172 kW to 250 hp (186 kW).
The Axiom extensive styling was thought to be too much for some time, but later many of its styling cues were adopted other automakers for their own SUVs. Despite having such a radical body, the Axiom used the Rodeo chassis that was already declared crude by many critics. The Axiom was introduced in the market as a prestigious and luxury vehicle perhaps that was the reason behind its restricted sales.
In July 2004, the production of Axiom was ceased which means that it remained in production line only for three years. The Lafayette plant was readapted following the production of the Subaru B9 Tribeca. The discontinuation of Axiom and Rodeo marked in history as the end of Isuzu operations in the United States which was once offered a complete range of Japanese-built passenger vehicles, trucks and SUVs. The vehicles sold between 2006 and 2009 were the rebranded General Motors cars, such as a GMC Canyon pickup and GMC Envoy SUV. From the North American market and Canada, Isuzu decided to abandon its sales after 2002 model year, while the sales completely ended in the US market after the release of 2009 model year. Isuzu never launched their Axiom lineup in Canada.
China also produced an unrelated Great Wall Hover’s design largely based on the Axiom.
Throughout its lifetime, the Isuzu Axiom had a competition with the Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, GMC Envoy, and Toyota Highlander.