About the Isuzu Hombre
Isuzu was already known for its regular pickup trucks, but the compact Isuzu was only possible with the help of GM. The Isuzu closely resembles the Chevrolet S-10, because in many ways, it is simply a clone of that vehicle.
For a car that only lasted a few years, many changes were made. The 1997 model introduced the extended Space Cab to the lineup. The two seats in the back of the cab folded out so the extended cab could also be used for more cargo space.
The four-wheel drive option was available from 1998 and onwards. This was one of the few big options offered, indicating the Hombre lagged behind much of the competition at the time. The Hombre did receive a newly-designed dashboard, standard anti-lock brakes, and disc brakes on the four-wheel drive models.
The 1999 Hombre now offered a Space Cab with a third door allowing easier access to the back seat. The steering wheel had a smaller hub that now held a safer air bag.
The 2000 Hombre was the last year of production and received a stronger V-6 engine, gaining five horsepower on two-wheel drive models and ten horsepower on four-wheel drives. Isuzu Hombre Features
Initially the Isuzu Hombre had a compact cab on the earliest models that seated three passengers on a solid bench. The extended Space Cab was introduced in 1997, which provided an extra two jump seats in the back. The truck had a six-foot cargo bed on the back, giving extra room for hauling equipment and other materials while still keeping the truck light and compact.
Several problems were reported on the Isuzu Hombre. Dashboard lights indicating engine trouble often come on with a loud thumping noise on the 2.2-liter engines from 1997. A recalibration of the engine by a certified mechanic will usually solve the problem. A slapping noise might also come from the engine during start up due to problems with the pistons. Old fuel injectors tend to leak on the 1996 model. The most serious problem is a transmission electrical issue on 1997 to 2000 year models; a check-engine light usually indicates this issue.
Some models were also recalled for minor issues. Poor soldering on some of the vehicles cause the windshield wipers to stick. A serious issue appears on 1997 extended cab models, where seatbelt webbing separates during a frontal impact. The 4.3-liter V-6 models from 1997 sometimes have brakes that touch the oil pan, causing unnecessary wear. Always check the serial number against recalls before purchasing a used Hombre.
The Hombre had an unfortunate safety record, as well. Front- and side-impacts received a grade of three by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, indicating a dramatic need for improvement.
The Hombre performs almost like a Chevrolet S-10 on the road with a few exceptions. The Hombre works best when fitted with a manual transmission and the V-6 engine, especially when you’re hauling or live in rough terrain. With an empty cargo bed, you do sometimes feel the truck hop up on bumps. The suspension does keep the truck low to the ground in curves. The handling feels tight and in control. The brakes are a bit slow to respond, however, so this will never be any kind of a racing truck. Space inside the vehicle is good, but don’t expect the Space Cab to actually offer another adult a place to sit; it’s really only suitable for children. Isuzu Hombre Evolution
The Isuzu Hombre was only made in one generation from 1996 till 2000, but several changes and options were implemented. Two trim lines were available: the S and the XS.
Isuzu used two engines during the Hombre’s production run. A 2.2-liter four-cylinder produced 120 horsepower and was used on the standard S line and any of the two-wheel models of the vehicle. A 4.3-liter V-6 produced 190 horsepower and was used on the four-wheel drive models with an option to be installed on the two-wheel drives. Horsepower dropped to 180 on the two-wheel drive models to prevent damage. Two transmissions were used: a four-speed automatic and a five-speed manual, both of them had overdrive options.