Thursday, January 29, 2015

1k: ZZ Handling By Lotus: 1991 Isuzu Stylus XS

The Isuzu Stylus was badge engineered version of the Geo Storm GSi (technically it is the other way around since the Stylus was engineered by Isuzu...but the Storm GSi is much more common) and DT commenter K2 Mystery Car asked that we feature one.  My reply was...only if you find one. And that is exactly what he did!  Find this 1991 Isuzu Stylus XS offered for $1300 here on roverclassic located in Staten Island, NY.  Tip from K2 Mystery Car.

The Stylus can be best described as a 4-door version of the Impulse and whereas the basic S version got some crappy econbox suspension/engine, the XS & RS versions got ZZ Handling by Lotus (spins corners like a top!!) and a 1.6 liter DOHC 16-valve engine (the XS version was NA and RS version turbo).  Before you dismiss the condition of this car as a pile of parts, it is important to point out that this was one of two cars we could locate in a nationwide search.  The other has no pictures and needs a windshield.

The XS trim Stylus is powered by the 4XE1-UW inline-4, which is rated at 130 horsepower for the US market. This is a non turbo version of the engine found in the Impulse/Stylus/Elan M100 and should be fun mated to the supplied 5-speed gearbox.  

The inside of any 24 year old Japanese economy car is bound to be fairly thrashed and the Isuzu was no paradigm of material quality when new.  Some cracks and the dash and wear on the touch surfaces is expected.

According to this vintage advertisement, the Stylus will keep drifting through an inch of standing water while Mercs, Bimmers and Lexii explode air bags into your face.

Point out another Stylus on your screen?


  1. Thanks for featuring one of my favorites, DT! If I may add to your excellent write up; the 1991-1993 Stylus (S, XS and RS) were nearly identical weight to the Impulse XS at 2367 pounds (1991 XS) up to 2446 pounds (1992 RS). The RT5 model number was identical for all editions, which was a great way to get one by your insurance agent if you chose the hotter model. Base MSRP hovered around $7,000-$7,500 and the only real option was a sunroof, AC and an automatic. There were probably dealer sourced options, but they aren't listed my copy of the 1998 NADA book.

    I don't have a model breakdown, but Isuzu sold 7,283 cars in 1992 and only 1,762 in 1993 which was the last year they sold vehicles other than trucks and SUVs in the US. Any performance upgrade you could do on an Impulse/Storm can be done on the Stylus, including installing AWD.

    Surely rust, negligence and low initial quality have claimed nearly all of them, which now makes them a bonafide unicorn. Most likely even more so than the Impulse.



    Interesting historical claim in this advertisement:

  2. Looks like a decent deal for $1300 wish it was on the left coast !

  3. These were a lot of fun. Even harder to find now than a Celica FX16.

  4. What is a Celica FX16? Did you mean Corolla?

    1. I learn something new about cars every day. Thanks for clearing that up for me, I thought I'd missed something. That would have been a great idea, though...a Celica with 16 valves. Oh wait. Ha! They did do that! Speaking of the Celica, I wonder how many All-tracs are left? I always liked the turbo MR2 more to drive, but the All-trac Celicas were certainly interesting.

  5. Could you take the front bumper off? Yes, but it would be extremely painful.

  6. Grumbling by LotusJanuary 29, 2015 at 6:45 PM

    Luckily this one is logistically impossible for me, otherwise I'd have it.

    My first car was a lightly used 91 Stylus XS, essentially identical (non-airbag steering wheel on mine though) to this one. I managed to get 5 or 6 years out of it before tin worm and electrical gremlins lead me to turn it over to my brother (who managed to kill it in short order.) whilst I purchased a new and reliable Protege.

    The Stylus was a fantastic first car, quick enough, and as promised by the badges, it handled beautifully. The fact that it had four doors made it practical enough that I managed 5 or 6 student start/end of year moves with it. Primary ownership issue was explaining to parts counter clerks what book to look in the find the right part: "look it is essentially a Geo Storm/ Isuzu Impulse/ Asuna Sunfire etc etc".

    Had this only popped up in the summer I may have tried to find a way. Always thought it should have had the AWD and turbo of the Impulse, maybe someday.


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.