2008 Isuzu i-290

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2008 Isuzu i-290

Key specs

Base trim shown


The good:

  • Familiar GM powertrain
  • Available side curtain airbags

The bad:

  • Pending further review

1 trim

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2008 Isuzu i-290 trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Increased towing capacity
  • 185-hp, 2.9-liter four-cylinder
  • Extended-cab body style
  • Manual or automatic
  • RWD
  • Based on GM compact pickups

2008 Isuzu i-290 review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview
Based on GM’s compact pickups, the i-290 is the smaller of Isuzu’s two i-series trucks, competing with the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, among others. Not much has changed for 2008 besides an increase in towing capacity and the discontinuation of the LS option package.

The i-290 holds a 2.9-liter four-cylinder, while the i-370 (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. It received a 100-pound boost in towing capacity for the new model year, rising to 2,200 pounds for manual-transmission models and 3,200 for automatics.

The pickups were developed in a joint venture, so the overall appearance of the i-290 is similar to GM’s 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. The Luxury Package adds fog lamps and a sliding rear window. The LS option package has been discontinued. Radiant Orange Metallic, Midnight Metallic and Cool Slate Metallic are new colors for 2008.

A 60/40-split front bench seat goes in the i-290. Ebony interior trim is standard for Luxury and Limited trims, as well as chrome accents.

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 available, as are an in-dash six-CD changer and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

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 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 airbags and traction control are part of the Luxury Package. A tire pressure monitoring system is standard for all models.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.0
  • Interior design 3.5
  • Performance 2.5
  • Value for the money 4.5
  • Exterior styling 4.0
  • Reliability 5.0

Most recent consumer reviews


bought it new in 2008

I bought my isuzu i-290 brand new with 20 miles on it in tempe arizona in march of 2008. I am writing this review in september of 2013. The truck currently has 86,000 miles on it. I have put this truck through extreme temperatures both Hot and Cold. When I lived in Phoenix and Las Vegas for a year with this truck the temperatures got over 120 degree's sometimes. I then spent a winter in southwestern wyoming where the temperatures would get to -40 below at times. I popped the radiator on one of the -40 days but it was my fault because i didn't give the truck time to warm up. I have never had any mechanical failures on this truck other than the radiator at 10k miles in -40 below temperatures. This truck has been in Colorado for the rest of its life and i take it on road trips to phoenix without giving it a second thought. One huge bonus with the reliability factor is the 2.9l engine uses a timing chain, not a timing belt. I bought this truck primarily for work and light duty applications.


I-290 Commuter

Nothing fancy here, but reliable, economical and safe! I"ve been driving mine 70 miles each day and while it's not flashy or luxurious it does the job nicely and has given me no problems in 4 years....

See all 2 consumer reviews


New car program benefits
36 months/50,000 miles
72 months/100,000 miles
84 months/75,000 miles
Roadside assistance
84 months/75,000 miles