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SEE ALSO: Izuzu Buyer's Guide

New Car/Review


by Matt/Bob Hagin


Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 16,413
Price As Tested                                    $ 19,469
Engine Type                             4.3 Liter V6 w/SFI*
Engine Size                                 262 cid/4300 cc
Horsepower                                   175 @ 4400 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)                               240 @ 2800 RPM
Wheelbase/Width/Length                  122.9"/67.9"/203.5"
Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
Curb Weight                                     3545 pounds
Fuel Capacity                                  18.5 gallons
Tires  (F/R)                                      205/75R15
Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/drum (ABS)
Drive Train                   Front-engine/rear-wheel-drive
Vehicle Type                        Five-passenger/two-door
Domestic Content                                 95 percent
Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A


EPA Economy, miles per gallon
   city/highway/average                            17/23/19
0-60 MPH                                        9.5 seconds
Max payload                                     1154 pounds
Max towing capacity                             5500 pounds
     * Sequential fuel injection

(Isuzu makes a durable plebeian Hombre work-oriented pickup which Matt and Bob Hagin evaluated several months ago. But there's a variation on the Hombre theme and it's more of a party animal than a work horse.)

MATT - I know that we did a Isuzu Hombre pickup truck not too long ago, Dad, and it was as plain as a bowl of oatmeal and just about as exciting. But the 2.2 liter standard-cab work truck that we had then has a fraternal twin sister that's gussied up like she's going to the senior ball. The Spacecab model of the Hombre has an extended cab, fancy alloy wheels and an automatic transmission. It can still haul stuff like gardening supplies as well as do our bi-monthly trip to the dumps but the Spacecab version does it with more class and style.

BOB - And it costs more too, but I guess if a buyer needs the extra space behind the front seat, it's worth the extra money. It's got a longer wheelbase than the drone model by about nine inches and the extra length is necessary in order to accommodate a couple of jump-seats back there. By making the wheelbase longer, it still has room for the same pickup bed that's on the regular model. The factory info sheet says that it provides seating for two adults back there but those two grownups would have to be very small or very friendly with each other. The space is better used as a lockup for personal belongings or to proved a place for a sub-teen offspring.

MATT - There's lots more to the Spacecab Hombre than just some fancy duds, Dad. Where the "vanilla" Hombre we tried had a just-OK 2.2 liter four-banger under the hood, the Spacecab we tried had a 4.2 liter V6 that puts out 175 horses and a little over 240 feet-pounds of torque. The torque comes in at 2400 RPM which gives the truck really good pulling power. Another difference between the two Hombres that we had was in the transmission. This Spacecab had a four-speed automatic while the blue-collar version had a five-speed. There's no manual transmission offered with the V6 but the automatic is easier to use in city traffic although the mileage figures suffer a little bit. It's a difference of three MPG but that isn't much to pay for extra conveniences like the 40/60 split individual seats over a three-abreast bench and extra power.

BOB - There's a lot of stuff that comes standard on the Spacecab too, like full carpeting on the floor, a heavy-duty suspension system and dual illuminated vanity mirrors in the sun visors. A full tank of gas is included in the price of the car and for the first time, I saw that the tankful of gas is listed on the Monroney sticker. The AM/FM stereo has a clock in it and it's included in the base price. The Hombre that we tested carried several option packages and they included an upgrade of the stereo, an air conditioning unit, a sliding window behind the driver, a tach, power door locks, power windows and a couple of other items. It put an extra $2100 on the tab but it makes the truck lots more livable. The only thing that would make the Isuzu Spacecab more up-to-date would be a third door to make getting in back easier.

MATT - This is the second year for this body style on the Hombre and it's a lot smoother than the '96 model. If the body lines seem familiar, it's because the Isuzu comes off the same assembly line as the Chevy S-10 and the GMC Sonoma pickups but there's some superficial differences in some of the sheet metal. The Isuzu Hombre is made at the GM plant in Louisiana and by being a GM vehicle, it means that there's never any problem getting parts and/or service anywhere in the US. The engine is the same cast-iron unit found in a plethora of GM products and the entire driveline has stood the test of time.

BOB - Years ago Isuzu made a mini-pickup for Chevrolet before GM got into the small truck business. Now a couple of decades later, it's a turn-about as GM makes a pickup that carries the Isuzu logo. As this generation of mini-pickups gets more and more sophisticated, I wonder what gimmick the manufacturers are going to be coming up with next. They're certainly not like the trucks that I remember as a kid.

MATT - That's true, Dad. The business has come a long way since the days of wooden wheels and tiller steering.