Not long ago, Isuzu and General Motors embarked upon a joint development venture to produce compact pickup trucks. Isuzu planned to build a truck called the D-Max to sell in Thailand, while GM manufactured its own versions — the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon — for the United States.
Isuzu makes two pickup trucks for the U.S. market that are derived from the GM models and the D-Max. The smaller of the two trucks, the i-290, gets a larger engine with more power for 2007.
The i-290 holds a 2.9-liter four-cylinder, while the i-370 (which is listed separately in the cars.com Research section) gets a 3.7-liter inline-five-cylinder. They join Isuzu's only remaining model in the U.S. market: the Ascender sport utility vehicle, which is also based on a GM product.
With its 185-horsepower four-cylinder and other appropriate equipment, the i-290 has a payload rating greater than 1,500 pounds and can tow up to 3,100 pounds when equipped with an automatic transmission (2,100 pounds with the manual shift).
The pickups were developed in a joint venture, so the overall appearance of the i-290 is similar to the Colorado and Canyon. Isuzu's version features a bold grille made of three wide bars: one horizontal and two vertical. Viewed as the workhorse of the i-series duo, the i-290 comes only in extended-cab form with two-wheel drive. Equipped with a heavy-duty suspension, the i-290 has 15-inch tires on aluminum wheels. Automatic on-off headlights are standard. Bodyside moldings are included on the LS model, while the Luxury Package adds fog lamps and a sliding rear window. Pacific Blue, Deep Crimson Metallic and Bering Blue Metallic are new colors for 2007.
A 60/40-split front bench seat goes in the i-290. Ebony interior trim is new for LS, Luxury and Limited trims, chrome accents will be added to those trims later in the model year. Map lights have been deleted from the rearview mirror.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, a four-speaker stereo and vinyl floor covering. The S Plus Preferred Equipment Package adds fabric seat upholstery, carpeting and a stereo system with a CD/MP3 player. Remote keyless entry; cruise control; a tilt steering column; and power windows, locks and mirrors are part of the LS option. An in-dash six-CD changer and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are included in the Luxury Package.
Under the Hood
The i-290's 2.9-liter four-cylinder operates with electronic throttle control and develops 185 hp and 190 pounds-feet of torque. Either a five-speed-manual gearbox or a four-speed-automatic transmission can be installed. The i-290 comes only with rear-wheel drive.
Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard. Side curtain-type airbags and traction control are part of the Luxury Package. A tire pressure monitoring system is standard for all models.