Isuzu For 1998
By Carey Russ
Isuzu has been concentrating on trucks and sport-utility vehicles for the past few years. Both of its sport-utilities have major revisions for 1998. The Hombre pickup and Oasis minivan have not been forgotten, and have a variety of engine and option improvements.
Lighter, stronger, and more agile, the 1998 Isuzu Rodeo has been completely redesigned for the first time since its debut in 1991. From the frame and suspension, through new V6 and 4-cylinder engines, to the interior, little has been left unchanged.
Outside, the new Rodeo is a recognizable evolutionary development of the first-generation machine. It's a little shorter, wider, and more rounded at the edges and corners. The interior features increased room and cargo space, and a modern, ergonomically- designed instrument panel.
Under the hood, an all-new 2.2-liter, 129-horsepower dual overhead cam 4-cylinder engine powers the "S" model. Optional on the S and standard on the upscale LS is a new version of Isuzu's all- aluminum 3.2-liter V6. Now with twincam heads, it has 205 horsepower and weighs less than last year's engine. While both engines are offered with a 5-speed manual transmission, the V6 can also be matched to a new 4-speed automatic. Two-wheel drive is standard, with shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive available on V6 models.
The Isuzu Trooper continues to evolve. It's come a long way from its humble 4-cylinder origin. The 1998 version hasn't been reworked quite as much as the Rodeo, but it has new exterior styling, a new engine, and an upgraded 4-wheel drive system. Three trim levels are offered.
Outside, all sheetmetal ahead of the windshield has been restyled, moving the Trooper ever further from its boxy beginnings. Under that new hood is a larger, lighter, more powerful, and more refined engine. It's an aluminum alloy 32-valve, dual overhead cam V6 of 3.5 liters displacement, up from the previous unit's 3.2.
Upscale Trooper models have the new "Torque On Demand" electronically-controlled 4-wheel drive system. It enhances control and driveability, and takes the place of 4-wheel drive high range in a conventional system.
When it was introduced a few years ago, the Hombre compact pickup line was pretty simple, with only a regular cab, 2-wheel drive, 2.2-liter 4-cylinder model offered. The Hombre line has grown since then.
The economy 2WD 4-cylinder model is still available, and was joined last year by a 2WD extended cab version with a choice of the 4- cylinder or a 4.3-liter V6 engine. This year sees the availability of 4- wheel drive in the V6 models.
Isuzu's minivan has a new, more powerful engine this year. It is features in both trim levels, and is matched to a 4-speed automatic transmission. The Oasis has 4 hinged doors for easy access and an interior that can be quickly reconfigured for many uses.