Compact pickup truck; Built in USA
  • ext. cab
  • reg. cab
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,200 – $4,100*

1998 Isuzu Hombre ext. cab

1999 Isuzu Hombre

2000 Isuzu Hombre interior

2000 Isuzu Hombre ext. cab

2000 Isuzu Hombre

  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Standard antilock braking
  • Rear-seat comfort (extended-cab)
  • Ride

Though well-assembled, both the GM twins and Isuzu’s Hombre rank a little below the Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series overall, but each offers an appealing set of attractions. Because Hombres have been less popular than the Chevrolet S-10 and GMC Sonoma when new, they’re likely to cost a bit less secondhand as well.


Isuzu relied on its direct tie-in with General Motors to create its compact Hombre pickup. Previously, Isuzu had imported a Japanese-built truck. General Motors owned a minor interest in Isuzu. Specifically, Isuzu got the right to use the basic design of the Chevrolet S-10 and GMC Sonoma, after the Japanese company added some of its own sheetmetal to the pickup truck. Body panels actually were produced by General Motors in Brazil. Fenders, hood, side panels, front fascia, headlamps, and rear bumper caps differed from the GM models. Actually, all three makes were assembled at a GM plant in Louisiana. Only 2-wheel-drive Hombres went on sale initially, in a regular-cab configuration with a 6-foot cargo bed, 4-cylinder engine, and manual shift. GM pickups, in contrast, could get a V6 engine, automatic transmission, the longer (7.3-foot) bed, or an extended cab. Four-wheel antilock braking was standard, along with a driver-side airbag.Two versions were offered: base S and more-costly XS, the latter adding a tachometer and higher-grade interior fabric. Only the XS could get an optional sliding rear window and cassette tape deck. A 3-place bench was the only seating choice, but the XS got a split 60/40 seatback. Rivals included the Dodge Dakota, Ford Ranger, and Toyota Tacoma.

Yearly Updates

1997 Hombre
A Spacecab (extended cab) body style joined the Hombre lineup, as did a V6 engine choice with availability of a 4-speed automatic transmission. Only the 4-cylinder engine and manual shift remained available for regular-cab models. Offered only in the XS price level, the Spacecab body came with two rear jump seats that folded out from the sides of the cab. A new Power Package included power windows, locks and mirrors, while a new Convenience Package incorporated a tilt steering column and cruise control. Both of those options were offered only with the V6 Spacecab.
1998 Hombre
Four-wheel-drive capability became available this year. GM’s shift-on-the-fly 4WD system was intended for use only on slippery surfaces. Even with this addition, Isuzu’s model lineup was less comprehensive than that of the GM twins. For instance, there was no 2WD standard-cab V6 model, and manual shift was not available with the V6 Spacecab. Also lacking was the nifty third door added to GM’s extended-cab pickups. Hombres got a redesigned dashboard and gained a passenger-side airbag (with deactivation switch for use when a child seat was in place). Antilock brakes were standard, and 4WD models added rear discs. Output of the 4-cylinder engine dropped from 120 to 110 horsepower. Two-wheel-drive Spacecabs came with a 175-horsepower V6 and automatic, while 4WD models got a 180-horsepower variant of the V6 and could have either transmission.
1999 Hombre
Spacecab (extended cab) models now were available with a third door, like their GM equivalents. All models got revised front styling and a smaller-hub steering wheel, holding a “next-generation” depowered driver’s airbag.
2000 Hombre
Stronger V6 engines went under Hombre hoods. The V6 gained 5 horsepower in 2WD models, and 10 in 4WD Hombres. Four-cylinder models now were available with dual-fuel capability. Spacecab Hombres became available in a greater number of variations, including a V6 with base S trim. Previously optional on 2WD regular-cab S models, the Performance Package heavy-duty suspension became standard across the board. Also, 4×4 models got slightly taller tires this year.


longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Depending on year and model, Hombres might be equipped with a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine or a 4.3-liter V6, and either 5-speed manual shift or a 4-speed automatic transmission. First-year Hombres all had the 4-cylinder and a 5-speed. The 4-cylinder engine lost 10 horsepower in 1998, and the V6 gained 5 or 10 horses in 2000.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.2/133
Engine HP 110-120
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 130-140
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.3/262
Engine HP 175-190
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 240-250
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

In both performance and accommodations, Hombres are similar to the Chevrolet S-10 and GMC Sonoma.

Whether in GM or Isuzu form, the 4-cylinder engine performs best with manual shift, accelerating adequately for light-duty chores. For 1996, that combination was the only powertrain available. Even for only occasional real hauling, however, a V6 is the better choice, delivering plenty of power. Expect less-appealing gas mileage with the V6, however, and even the strongest (190-horsepower) version does not really feel as strong as its horsepower figure suggests.

Base suspensions give a relatively soft, fairly controlled ride. Optional suspensions are firmer, but you can expect a harsher ride. As in any light truck when the cargo bed is empty, the rear end tends to hop over sharp bumps and ridges. Although body lean is evident in turns, these compact pickups feel balanced and poised, with good resistance to gusty crosswinds. Power steering has a natural feel, too. On the down side, brake-pedal action is mushy and stopping power only adequate, despite standard antilock braking.

Front-seat comfort is appealing, and extended-cab models benefit from generous rearward seat travel. As expected, the Spacecab’s little rear jump seats are suitable only for children. The third door that’s been available since 1999 is a real convenience, though you do lose a jump seat. Gauges are unobstructed in a simple control layout.


Model Tested: 1999 Isuzu Hombre 2WD w/4-cylinder regular cab

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 4
Ride Quality - 3
Steering/Handling - 3
Quietness - 3


Controls/Materials - 4
Room/Comfort Front - 4
Room/Comfort Rear - 0
Cargo Room - 1


Value - 5

Total: 31


ext. cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
122.9 201.7 67.9 63.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1154 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 NA 42.4 NA
reg. cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
108.3 187.1 67.9 63.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1138 18.5 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.5 NA 42.4 NA
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Hombre reg. cab


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
Front Passenger Injury - 3

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 83
Injury 112
Theft 81

Trouble Spots

Dashboard lights
Description: The check-engine light comes on sometimes accompanied by engine knock, on vehicles with 2.2L engine and manual transmission, requiring a recalibration of the engine-control computer. (1997)
Engine noise
Description: Piston slap may be a problem at startup on the 2.2 (1996-97)
Fuel odors
Description: The fuel injectors may leak on older, high-mileage vehicles. (1996)
Transmission problems
Description: An electrical problem in the ignition switch may cause the automatic transmission to stick in third gear and/or the check-engine light to illuminate. (1997-2000)

Recall History

Description: Top coat of paint on small number of pickup trucks severely peels, causing windshield to be out of compliance.
Description: Brazilian domestic headlamp, which does not meet U.S. requirements, was inadvertently installed on some trucks; lack of aiming pads means these headlamps may not align properly.
Description: Solder joints can crack, causing windshield wipers to work intermittently.
1997 with 4.3-liter V6
Description: Front brake line can contact oil pan, causing wear that may result in fluid loss.
1997 extended-cab with 60/40 front seat
Description: Outboard-seatbelt webbing can separate during frontal impact.
Description: Electrical wiring-harness clip can melt and drip onto exhaust manifold.
Description: Actual maximum payload may be lower than stated on certification labels.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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