What's New for 1996
Isuzu clones a Chevy S-10 and dumps its Japanese-built compact truck. Sheet metal is unique to Isuzu, but everything else is pure General Motors.
Sporting sheetmetal stamped by General Motors do Brasil, and basic mechanical and structural components of the Chevrolet S-10/GMC Sonoma twins, the Isuzu Hombre enters a hot compact pickup market sporting two-wheel drive, a regular cab, and a weak 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine. Not exactly the stuff truck buyers crave.
At least the Hombre is somewhat of an improvement over the aging Japanese-built pickup the company marketed in 1995. Four-wheel antilock brakes and a driver airbag are standard on both models. However, crash test scores, based on the performance of the structurally identical Chevy S-10, are much worse than they were for the old Isuzu truck, particularly for the front passenger. Horsepower and torque are up with the addition of the GM 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, and fuel economy has improved. However, front legroom has diminished slightly, payload is down a couple hundred pounds, and the turning circle has widened. This is progress?
Hombre is available in S and XS trim levels, and options are few. S models are the workhorse Hombres, with vinyl floor covering and options limited to air conditioning, a stereo, and a rear step bumper. XS models are better-equipped, offering custom cloth upholstery, carpeted floors, and a tachometer.
Isuzu hasn't been selling many pickups in the past several years. As personal use pickup sales skyrocketed, the company stuck with marketing basic trucks more suited for work than play. First impressions indicate that the Hombre will do little to change Isuzu's fortunes in this segment.