Thursday, July 17, 2014

I is for Illusory: 1990 Isuzu Impulse

Your power:weight and horsepower:dollar ratios are now obsolete. Price:mileage is the in-vogue automotive benchmark. Any one of the 300k-mile Jetta TDIs littering Craigslist would essentially cost you $0.66 per mile it's covered, while new cars would charge very dearly for their shrink-wrapped odometers (A shrink-wrapped odometer is a dealer-installed option and will cost you $495). Our disillusioned seller of this 1990 Isuzu Impulse XS is charging $1.16 for each of his car's scant 8,400 miles. Forget Lotus-tuned suspension - that kind of cash could almost put you in an actual Lotus (cue snickering from Colin Chapman disciples and RWD fanboys). Find this 1990 Isuzu Impulse XS for $9,800 in Buffalo, NY via Autotrader.

What would Patrick Stewart think? He certainly wouldn't judge the seller's self-efficacy in a snarky column. Or, you know, maybe he would. Of note: The rear wing does a convincing E36 M3 impression. Its '90s vibe is bolstered by the laughably undersized and understyled wheels. This is why kids put 18s on Civics in 2004.

Around here, the Impulse is lauded as one of the best-kept secrets of the turbocharged '80s coupes. In either turbo'd RWD or RS AWD form, you can't go wrong. This naturally aspirated, front-drive XS shares its drivetrain with the Geo Metro GSi, a scrappy lightweight lacking the Impulse's Lotus-blessed suspension. Without the snail power, this Impulse is down 30 horsepower... but also about 300 pounds, to 2,400. That must count for something whe- wait, it's an automatic? Seriously? Forget it. Holding an automatic non-RS Impulse for future value is almost as pathetic as investing in an automatic, non-diesel B1 Dasher/Passat. Oh.

See a more pitiful investment plan? Don't email it to us. Send us the financially irrational performance version at

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.

This post is part of Daily Turismo's 2nd Birthday Celebration -- DT's ABCs.

1 comment:

  1. Every now and then you get someone who holds on to a car and doesn't drive it because they think it's destined to be a classic just because it's sporty looking. Even the RS version wasn't anything to go bananas over.


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