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1998 Isuzu Amigo Review
Ready to prowl and frolic, chicks dig it.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 1998 Isuzu Amigo carries a sizeable list of available options and add-ons. Regrettably standard equipment remains sparse.
The Amigo uses the same V-6 engine found under the hood of the Isuzu Rodeo. Both the Rodeo and Amigo come from a factory in in Lafayette, Indiana.
Engines: 1.2-liter I-4, 3.2-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed manual
Models: Isuzu Amigo S 2WD, Isuzu Amigo S 4WD, Isuzu Amigo S V-6 4WD
The 1998 Isuzu Amigo derives from the Isuzu Rodeo and now comes with the Rodeo’s peppy and smooth V-6 engine. Isuzu’s half-convertible blends the security and safety of a steel roof with the hair-in-the-wind, open-air exhilaration of a convertible. Occupants in the front of the vehicle get a fixed roof with sunroof over their heads, while back-seat passengers have a fold-down, soft-top canvas cover above them. The 1998 Amigo looks more rugged than its predecessor with bigger wheels and large fender flares.
The Amigo has style and looks that target younger buyers on the market. Expect to see plenty of 1998 Isuzu Amigos at college campuses and beaches. The Amigo comes standard with a soft-top cover in the back of the vehicle. This cover and the side and back windows can be unzipped and taken down for an open-air convertible experience.
The Amigo and the Rodeo both come from the same assembly plant in Lafayette, Indiana, and they share many of the same mechanical components despite some notable exterior differences. The Amigo features 16-inch wheels, a rear-mounted spare tire, and bigger fender flares. The Amigo also rests on a 96.9-inch wheelbase that measures somewhat shorter than the Rodeo.
The Amigo may be a small sport utility vehicle but it still weighs a hefty 3523 pounds. Isuzu recognizes that this kind of weight requires a lot more horsepower for day-to-day driving. So, Isuzu employs the same V-6 engine that the Rodeo carries in the new Amigo.
The Amigo has eight cross members in its very rigid frame. It feels like a full-size truck with independent front and rear suspensions and a solid rear axle that minimizes bumps. The Amigo’s wider-width front and rear tread not only give this sport utility vehicle a more rugged stance but also improve handling and stability on sharp, high-speed turns.
The Amigo comfortably seats four occupants but can technically hold five people. The front seats feel very comfortable and instrumentation and driver controls prove easy to reach and seem logically arranged. Four-wheel-drive can be switched on and off via a dashboard-mounted control.
While the 1998 Isuzu Amigo has a shorter wheelbase, the back seat offers a surprisingly adequate amount of legroom for adults. Getting in and out of the back seat does have its challenges for anyone large or not particularly agile. Like many other vehicles, the back seat also folds down for additional cargo space that owners can access through the side-opening tailgate.
Performance & Handling
The second generation Amigo comes with either a modest 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine or a more powerful 3.2-liter V-6 engine. The V-6 engine uses four-wheel drive and produces 205 horsepower. The base four-cylinder engine generates 130 horsepower and offers both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive.
The 1998 Isuzu Amigo offers a lively and smooth ride, particularly with the V-6 engine. The five-speed gearbox makes keeping pace with other traffic on the highway quite easy. Passing other vehicles also seems relatively easy. The Amigo effectively handles sharp, sudden turns. The over-drive fifth gear lets the engine relax and quiets engine noise considerably at highway speeds. There are some visibility hindrances with the wide, center pillars. Additionally the two-wheel-drive Amigo does not fare well in slick conditions.
NHTSA data remains unavailable for frontal and side crash tests. All models come standard with front driver- and passenger-side airbags.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Performance with V-6 engine
- Just the right size
- Excellent four-wheel drive
- Great handling
You Won't Like
- Not many standard features
- Short gear ratios
- Two-wheel drive in slick conditions
- Maneuvering in and out of back seat
- Effort involved in putting down soft-top
- Zippers and Velcro
Ready to prowl and frolic, chicks dig it.
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