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By Rick Popely
December 1, 1999
Vehicle Overview Isuzu builds only trucks, but it relies on partner General Motors for its compact pickup a clone of the Chevrolet S-10 and GMC Sonoma. The Hombre is built at a Shreveport, La., plant where its corporate cousins are built.
GM owns an equity interest in the Japanese company, and the two share other vehicles and components. Isuzu, for example, helped develop a new diesel engine that GM will introduce in its full-size pickups for 2001.
Though there are few changes to the Hombre for 2000, Isuzu made a big change to its warranty. Major powertrain components, including the engine, transmission, axles and so on, are now covered for 10 years or 120,000 miles for the original owner the longest warranty in the industry.
Chevy and GMC will introduce four-door crew cabs of their compact pickups in the fall, but Isuzu has not said if and when it will do the same.
Exterior Isuzu designed most of the exterior panels, giving the Hombre unique styling that disguises its lineage to the S-10 and Sonoma. Hombre comes in two sizes, a regular cab and an extended cab which Isuzu calls a SpaceCab both with a 6-foot cargo bed. Chevy and GMC also offer a regular cab with a 7.5-foot bed.
A driver-side third door that opens to the rear is optional on the SpaceCab.
Interior A three-person bench seat is the only choice on all regular-cab models and most versions of the SpaceCab. The only model that comes with bucket seats is the four-wheel-drive SpaceCab with a five-speed manual transmission. A center console with a storage armrest and dual cupholders is included with the bucket seats.
SpaceCab models come with two rear jump seats, but ordering the optional third door eliminates the one on the driver's side. Hombre uses the same dashboard as the S-10 and Sonoma.
Under the Hood Isuzu uses the same engines as the S-10 and Sonoma. A 2.2-liter four-cylinder with 120 horsepower is standard on two-wheel-drive models, and this year it is tuned to run on a gasoline/methanol mixture of up to 85 percent ethanol. A 4.3-liter V-6 with 190 horsepower is standard on four-wheel-drive models and is optional on 2WDs. Horsepower on the V-6 drops to 180 on 2WD models.
The 4WD system is GM's Insta-Trac, which allows shifting in or out of 4WD High on the fly via a dashboard button instead of a floor-mounted transfer-case lever.
Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard on all models.