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2006 Isuzu I-280 Review
A good off- and on-road handling vehicle.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 2006 Isuzu i-280 is a midsize, two-door pickup truck manufactured by General Motors and sold under the Isuzu brand name. The vehicle replaces the Isuzu Hombre after a five-year hiatus. It was unveiled at the New York International Auto Show in 2005, making the 2006 Isuzu i-280 the first model year for the truck.
In keeping with the Isuzu Hombre’s styling, the i-280 shares the same platform as General Motors’ midsize pickup trucks.
Engine: 175-hp, 2.8-liter, four-cylinder
Transmissions: Five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Isuzu i-280 S, Isuzu i-280 LS
The 2006 Isuzu i-280 is the first model year, and it is part of the redesigned Isuzu truck lineup. The last time Isuzu offered trucks was five years ago, and the 2006 Isuzu i-280 is the company’s reentry into the segment.
The most significant distinguishing feature of the 2006 Isuzu i-280 is its grille, which has a unique design made up of three wide bars. In terms of build quality, the exterior of the truck is somewhat below average. There are sometimes gaps in the portion where the grille, hood, and headlights meet and around the taillights as well. Still, the i-280 is a workhorse, equipped with a heavy-duty suspension and 15-inch aluminum wheels. Automatic on-off headlights are standard, and body color side moldings are available in the LS model. The Luxury Package offers foglamps and a sliding rear window.
The 2006 Isuzu i-280 is fitted with a comfortable interior, although it is in no way luxurious. The front passenger seats are comfortable enough for long rides, and the rubberized center armrest is also a nice touch. The tilted steering wheel is soft and comfortable to hold, and legroom is sufficient as well. The second row is quite cramped, however, with only jump seats available for rear passengers. The 60/40-split bench seat in the S trim adds some cargo versatility, while the LS model comes standard with front bucket seats for extra comfort.
Standard equipment includes air-conditioning, a four-speaker stereo, and vinyl floor covering. The S Plus Preferred Equipment Package adds fabric seat upholstery, carpeting, and a CD/MP3 player. The LS option includes remote keyless entry, cruise control, a tilt steering column, and power windows, locks, and mirrors. An in-dash six-CD changer and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are included in the Luxury Package.
Performance & Handling
A 2.8-liter, straight-four engine powers the 2006 Isuzu i-280. The engine delivers a rated power of 175 hp and torque of 185 lb-ft along with a five-speed manual transmission gearbox. However, a four-speed automatic gearbox is available as an option. The vehicle comes only as a two-wheel drive vehicle, while the four-wheel-drive system is only available on the heavier Isuzu i-350. The vehicle is fitted with an independent front suspension and leaf springs at the rear.
The 2006 Isuzu i-280 delivers an average performance. The engine offers decent acceleration, and the truck is completely at home while cruising through the city. While the vehicle can also handle rough spots, its unrefined and loud engine can make the ride seem insecure. The truck is also prone to rollovers, but the steering is somewhat precise, and the handling is adequate.
As a light pickup, the 2006 Isuzu i-280 is meant only for light commuting or hauling, but its towing and hauling capacities remain strictly average or even below average. The truck has a rated payload capacity of 1532 pounds and a towing capacity of 3200 pounds.
Standard safety features on the 2006 Isuzu i-280 include four-wheel anti-lock brakes; driver and front passenger airbags with a front passenger sensing system; three-point driver and front passenger seatbelts; and an energy-absorbing, collapsible steering column. Side curtain airbags and traction control are available as part of the Luxury Package
EPA Fuel Economy
Isuzu i-280 with four-speed automatic: 15/22 mpg city/highway
- Good off- and on-road handling
- Simple controls
- Reliable powertrain backed by a generous warranty
You Won't Like
- Low torque
- No six- or eight-cylinder engine options
- Low materials and build quality
- Very few options available for customization
A good off- and on-road handling vehicle.
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