2006 Isuzu i-Series Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Isuzu i-Series

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Isuzu i-Series Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 175 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Isuzu i-Series

  • The 2006 Isuzu i-Series is a decent truck, but it's outclassed by the latest offerings from major competitors in the important areas of power, interior room and overall fit and finish.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Handles well on- and off-road, simple controls, side curtain airbags available on both body styles, generous powertrain warranty.

  • Cons

    Not much low-end torque, no six- or eight-cylinder engine option, low tow ratings, subpar build and materials quality, limited availability of customizing options.

  • What's New for 2006

    After a five-year hiatus, a compact pickup returns to the Isuzu lineup. Called the i-Series, the Isuzu truck comes as either an extended-cab or crew-cab body style. Mechanically, it's very similar to the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon compact pickups.

Full 2006 Isuzu i-Series Review

What's New for 2006

After a five-year hiatus, a compact pickup returns to the Isuzu lineup. Called the i-Series, the Isuzu truck comes as either an extended-cab or crew-cab body style. Mechanically, it's very similar to the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon compact pickups.


As automakers go, Isuzu has been in a deep rut. A lack of money for both new product investment and marketing has forced Isuzu to rely heavily on its corporate partnership with General Motors. This shows up in Isuzu's latest offering, the new i-Series compact pickup.

Built on a tough ladder frame chassis, the Isuzu i-Series comes in two distinct body styles, is available with either two- or four-wheel drive and is powered by either a four- or five-cylinder engine. The suspension consists of a solid rear axle with leaf springs and an independent coil spring front suspension. If any of this sounds familiar, it's probably because the i-Series is basically a re-skinned version of General Motor's compact pickup, which currently serves duty as the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. The Isuzu truck differs in a few trim pieces, options and, most importantly, its powertrain warranty. The warranty for the i-Series is 7 years or 75,000 miles, while the GM warranty is a more common 3 years/36,000 miles. If you're planning on buying a GM compact pickup and owning it for a long period of time, you'll want to keep the Isuzu's warranty advantage in mind.

There are two versions of the Isuzu i-Series. The i-280 is an extended-cab pickup with a four-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive. The i-350 is a crew cab only, and it comes with a more powerful five-cylinder engine and four-wheel drive. Extended-cab models feature small reverse-opening rear doors on both sides for easier access, while the larger crew-cab models offer four normal doors and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat that can accommodate three adults. Side curtain airbags are available that provide head protection in the event of a side impact.

On paper, the 2006 Isuzu i-Series offers all the necessary ingredients to satisfy the majority of compact truck buyers. The problem is that the i-Series feels cheap, even in a class of vehicles where functionality and value come before upscale accommodations. The doors are lightweight and tinny, and the first thing you'll notice when you slide behind the wheel is how low-grade the dash looks and rough the upholstery feels. Out on the road, neither the four- or five-cylinder engine provides acceleration on par with V6 and V8 engines offered by the Dodge Dakota, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. If you're shopping for a small pickup, make sure you explore all the options before settling on the Isuzu i-Series.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Isuzu i-Series comes in extended- and crew-cab body styles. The extended-cab model has a 6-foot bed, while the crew cab gets a 5-foot bed. There are three basic trim levels: i-280 S, i-280 LS and i-350 LS. The i-280 S is an extended-cab configuration, and comes with air conditioning, an AM/FM stereo, vinyl seating and vinyl floor covering. An S Plus Preferred Equipment package adds carpeting, cloth seats, rear jump seats with storage compartments, a CD player and tinted windows. The LS model adds power windows, locks and mirrors; keyless entry; tilt steering wheel; cruise control; six speakers; and bucket seats. The Luxury package includes a six-disc CD changer, traction control (2WD only), a locking rear differential, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, foglamps, a sliding rear window and side curtain airbags. The i-350 LS is equipped much the same as the i-280 LS. An available Limited Package for the i-350 LS adds a six-disc CD changer, dual power heated seats, leather upholstery, auto-dimming rearview mirror, sliding rear window and a moonroof.

Powertrains and Performance

A 2.8-liter, four-cylinder engine is standard on the i-280 and is rated at 175 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. The 3.5-liter inline-five engine is included on the i-350 and offers 220 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, but a four-speed automatic is also available on all models. The i-280 is rear-wheel drive and the i-350 has a four-wheel-drive powertrain. The i-350's 4WD system is push-button shift-on-the-fly and offers low-range gearing. Maximum towing capacity, at 4,000 pounds, is relatively meager for this class of truck.


Roof-mounted side curtain airbags are optional on both Isuzu i-Series body styles. Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard, and traction control is optional on 2WD trucks. In government crash tests, the similar Chevy Colorado earned four stars (out of five) for both the driver and front passenger in frontal-impact testing, and four out of five stars in side-impact testing for front passengers, and five stars for rear passengers.

Interior Design and Special Features

Trucks may have gotten more hospitable in recent years, but don't expect anything fancy in the cabin of the Isuzu i-Series. Materials range from average to substandard in quality, and build quality is inconsistent. On the plus side, simple rotary climate controls and a large stereo faceplate make the interior seem instantly familiar as soon as you get in. The gauges are similarly basic, but functional in their design.

Driving Impressions

The inline engines are reasonably refined, but their lack of off-the-line punch and odd exhaust notes are disappointing compared to the larger V6s offered in competitors. Shifts from the four-speed automatic are firm and well timed, and the five-speed manual gearbox is about as good as you're going to find in a compact truck. The suspension tuning is on the soft side, but the 2006 Isuzu i-Series handles well for its class.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

An example of failed marketing

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Vehicle: 2006 Isuzu i-Series i-280 S 4dr Extended Cab SB (2.8L 4cyl 5M)

I bought my truck at a used lot in Pittsburgh, TX. with 77k on the odometer. It needed a bit of work to address the previous owner's neglect, but has otherwise been a stellar performer. Most people whine incessantly about the "chintzy" interior. To them, I say go buy a car. I want my truck to hold up to getting dirty, and don't want crud to get embedded in soft squishy plastic. I seriously believe that these trucks never caught on as GM and Isuzu spent nothing to advertise them. How can people know that there is a good truck out there if they never heard of it? As it is a Colorado with a different grille, I just stop by my local Chevy dealership for service.

Nice try, keep working

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Vehicle: 2006 Isuzu i-Series i-350 LS 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.5L 5cyl 4A)

At first it was awesome. but the seat belt receiver broke, the windows and power locks have been skitso recently. Looks awesome with LED tail lights. My friends really like it, but it's not my thing. I have grown up in Isuzus and this was disappointing. I have grown up in Troopers, Rodeos, VehiCross, Amigo, Hombre, Axiom, and various others. Those were good Isuzus. I'm sad for this... my grandpa has the 2x4 and his has no problems, dad said it was just mine. And the battery has died 3 days in a row now. Mine has almost 23,000 miles now

Met expectations

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Vehicle: 2006 Isuzu i-Series i-280 S 4dr Extended Cab SB (2.8L 4cyl 5M)

Same parts as Colorado or Canyon. I added wheel guards and running board to keep the sheet metal from vibrating. Replaced front tires due to wear, wheel were out or alignment. After 18k it is still going. Difficulty finding local service.

One year review

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Vehicle: 2006 Isuzu i-Series i-280 LS 4dr Extended Cab SB (2.8L 4cyl 5M)

Nice truck, 15k miles of totally problem free driving, guess I can't complain. 25+ MPG, (one trip I got 30). It tows my Harley and open trailer pretty good. I have to drop it into 4th gear quite often while towing approx. 1,500 lbs on the highway. I am glad I chose this truck. It's a clone of the Colorado/Canyon and a better deal than a Colorado or Canyon. Much better price than Toyota. If you are looking for a truck, do yourself a favor and check out one of these!

Good solid little truck

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Vehicle: 2006 Isuzu i-Series i-350 LS 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.5L 5cyl 4A)

I had to get rid of my Suburban as I was usually the only one in it and it got terrible mileage. I wanted to get away from GM all together. This truck is built by GM and is a solid little truck. Took it off road a couple of times and found it to be pretty fun. It has a lot of extra features standard. My big complaint is the gas mileage, but after reading a few reviews, am hoping it gets better after a few thousand miles.

A colorado, only better warranty

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Vehicle: 2006 Isuzu i-Series i-280 S 4dr Extended Cab SB (2.8L 4cyl 5M)

Have two Mercedes, but looking for a small "run-around" truck, shopped used for 2 months. This is the best deal going and a great warranty to boot! We enjoy the truck, my wife especially enjoys riding in it. I like the 5 speed stick and small size.

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Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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