The VehiCROSS combined a computer-controlled AWD system for on-road driving and a locked-differential low-gear 4WD system for off-road driving. The Japanese version offered a 2WD non TOD or 4WD TOD option. The US-only constant 4WD TOD, with 12 independent sensors for detecting wheel spin and capable of redirecting power to the wheels with the most traction, gives the VehiCROSS a high level of traction on wet and icy roads. It also has a high level of performance for its height. While possessing on-road nimbleness, its body-on-frame truck construction, suspension and 4WD gearing make it very capable off-road.
Sales were intentionally limited, with only 5958 vehicles being produced between 1997 and 2001; 1805 were produced for the domestic Japanese market and the remaining 4,153 sold in the United States. Japanese sales were limited by the fact that the exterior width dimensions were not in compliance with Japanese Government dimension regulations, and the engine displacement obligated Japanese drivers for higher levels of annual road tax. The vehicle had a base price of $28,900.
The VehiCROSS was originally unveiled as a concept vehicle at the 1993 Tokyo International Auto Show. Its ultimate Japanese production release in 1997 was notable in that the production vehicle arrived with very few design changes and in a very short time. This feat was accomplished through the use of inexpensive ceramic body-stamping dies and the reuse of readily-available Isuzu parts. The truck was intended to showcase Isuzu's off-road technology, and is one of the few vehicles to ship with monotube shocks with external heat-expansion chambers, a technology normally reserved for off-road motorcycle racing.
Motor Trend featured the VehiCROSS on its May 1999 cover, and included it in its "Top 10 Sport Utilities" for Most Unique Styling.
Four Wheeler featured the VehiCROSS as the "First Runner Up" for Four Wheeler of the Year in 2000 behind the Tahoe Z71; when pitted against: Chevrolet Tahoe Z71, GMC Yukon, Nissan Xterra, Ford Excursion and Mitsubishi Montero Sport. The VehiCROSS scored highest of all 6 Mechanically, for Trail Performance and Highway Performance.