Isuzu I-290

Isuzu was desperate to make a splash in the U.S. market in the 2000s. The Isuzu pickup line was popular in Japan, and the company wanted to have a similar presence in the States.

More on the Isuzu I-290
Isuzu i-290 Origins

Isuzu developed the i-series trucks in collaboration with GM, and as a result the Isuzu trucks share some of GM’s designs and mechanics. The i-series trucks were modeled closely after the GM Canyon and the Chevrolet Colorado. The i-280, the first of the series, was introduced in 2006 along with the i-350. In 2007, the upgraded i-290 was introduced as a replacement for the i-280.

The i-290 was the smaller pickup of the two i-series vehicles that were released in 2007 and 2008. The engine received an upgrade from the previous i-280 model, boasting a 2.9-liter double overhead cam (DOHC) that replaced the 2.4-liter engine. While it produced 185 horsepower at 5600 rpm, 190 lb-ft of torque also controlled the engine. The i-290 was fairly light at 3468 pounds curb weight, giving the truck decent towing ability. The i-290 was capable of tugging 3100 pounds and could carry a payload of 1532 pounds.

About the Isuzu i-290

The Isuzu i-290 handles very well on the road, with good steering and easy to use controls. The i-290 also handles well in off-road conditions. Unfortunately, even with the larger engine, the towing capabilities lagged behind the competition. The cabin is also a bit cramped. The back seats available on some models are not suitable for adult passengers. Material quality inside the vehicle feels a bit cheap and is unimpressive, even though the i-290 was marketed as a working vehicle, not a luxury model.

If you are looking for a used vehicle that is no frills, you may want to consider an i-290. Isuzu vehicles tend to be reliable, but the used vehicle price is a bit steep for the i-290. Several pickups on the market that were released at the same time outclass the i-290 in style and power.

The i-290 was only available for the 2007 and 2008 model year. Since then, Isuzu pulled out of the U.S. market. No plans for a new model are in the works. The Isuzu i-series pickup line was a short-lived breed. No previous models were ever available.

Isuzu i-290 Features

The Isuzu i-290 was rear drive, with the engine controlled by a five-speed manual transmission. The fuel economy on the i-290 was not as good as the i-280, although it did perform well in comparison to other pickups on the market, getting 18/24 mpg city/highway.

The suspension on the i-290 wasn’t bad either, boasting short- and long-arm front suspension and an independent rear suspension.

The i-290 has a slew of safety features as well. The front anti-lock brakes (ABS) of the i-280 were upgraded on the i-290 to four-wheel ABS. Ventilated front-disc brakes and rear-disc brakes were standard. The S and LS trim lines were available with dusk-sensing lights, an engine immobilizer, and daytime running lights. The LS version added a tire pressure monitor to the truck’s controls.

Just like the i-280, the Isuzu i-290 was modeled closely after its GM counterparts. The chrome grille at the front of the vehicle was different, having two fat vertical chrome bars and one horizontal bar cutting across. The exterior of the truck is generic; this is a working vehicle. Painted alloy wheels, all-season tires, and chrome finish bumpers make it look somewhat dull, but its look does wear well over time. The six-foot cargo bed is big enough to haul some big loads, but is short enough that the truck isn’t too long for parking in the city.

Inside the vehicle, it is bare-bones as well. The S version only had an AM/FM stereo, but the LS version did upgrade to a six-disc CD changer with MP3 playback. A 60/40-seat with vinyl was available for the S trim line. The LS had cloth bucket seats with the option of back seats for two extra passengers.

The LS i-290 model was dropped during 2008 production, leaving only the S. One would assume Isuzu would add some of the standard features of the previous LS trim line to the S, but the S was found woefully lacking. Although it was a working vehicle, most drivers in 2008 would come to expect a CD player at the very least, but luxury items such as these were left out. It is readily apparent that Isuzu was ready to make its exit from the U.S. market.

The Isuzu i-290 and the other pickups in the i-series had moderate, if not poor sales in the U.S. Isuzu decided to leave the American market in 2008, taking the i-series pickups with them.

Select an Isuzu I-290 Year

2008 Isuzu I-290

Truck, Utility/Offroad

The Isuzu I-290 is a midsize pick-up truck manufactured by Isuzu Motors, Japan.

2007 Isuzu I-290

Truck, Utility/Offroad

The 2007 Isuzu i-290 was introduced to revitalize the lineup, carrying over the mechanically-based Chevrolet Colorado pickup and GMC Canyon twins.