What's New for 2000
Redesigned front styling and several new colors are available for the new year. The Ironman package offers the Rodeo's Intelligent Suspension Control system.
The popularity of Isuzu's Amigo, based on a shortened Rodeo chassis, is partly due to the salad-bar-variety of options available to the consumer. You can choose between hardtop or softtop, two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, four-cylinder or V6, and manual or automatic transmission.
Powering the base Amigo is a 2.2-liter, DOHC four-cylinder engine, which pumps out 130 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque. The more powerful 3.2-liter V6 engine is the same one found under the hood of the Rodeo, and it makes 205 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. That's quite a bit of oomph, especially for such a light vehicle, and the power can be beheld in the 0-60 time, 7.4 seconds, as well as in the eardrums -- this is one raucous mutha. With the purchase of a V6 model, consumers can also opt for a four-speed automatic tranny. A dash-mounted switch engages the shift-on-the-fly transfer case at speeds up to 60 mph. Ride quality has been improved due to a redesigned driver seat, and body panels stuffed with foam and asphalt-sheeting result in reduced road noise and vibration.
Four-wheel ABS, with disc brakes on the front wheels, is standard on all models, as is cruise control on all V6 editions. You'll also get driver and passenger airbags and folding rear bench seats, which collapse to reveal over 62 cubic feet of space. However, you'll have to shell out extra bucks for power windows and locks, A/C, keyless entry and a CD player. All Isuzus come with a 10-year/120,000-mile powertrain warranty, the longest in America.
When you're out for a jaunt in the sun, the soft top can be stored in the trunk, while the hardtop features a new rear passenger moonroof for maximum UV ray exposure. A hard plastic spare tire cover is standard with the 16-inch wheels. Titan Gray front and rear bumpers, along with graphics and floormats, can be had with the Ironman package, which is basically comprised of cosmetic gewgaws slapped on the exterior.
The Amigo seems to be holding its own against competitors such as the Chevrolet Tracker, Kia Sportage and Suzuki Vitara. We've sampled the hardtop, but we have yet to test one of Isuzu's drop-top trucks, a shame because the Amigo was built for topless fun. We're suckers for the Jeep Wrangler convertible, and with its distinctive styling and utilitarian nature, the Amigo looks like it was developed using the same recipe book.