May 4, 1998


On The Road with Carol - TEST DRIVE - 1998 ISUZU HOMBRE XS 4x4


  The 1998 Isuzu Hombre truck is a smaller size pickup. It is available in a line ranging from a standard cab, two-wheel drive, manual transmission, 2.2 liter 4-cylinder model, to our test drive model which was the top of the line, bright red, XS, 4x4, space cab, V6 with 4-speed automatic transmission.
   During a short stop at the Woodinville Farmer's Market, several people commented that they liked the look of the truck. With a rounded body and clean lines, the Hombre does looks attractive for city driving, but is built for heavy duty country use. Our Hombre was powered by a 4.3 liter, overhead-valve, fuel-injected, V6 that produces 180 hp and 240 lb. ft. of torque @ 3600 rpm. The same engine is available in a two-wheel drive version, but produces five less horsepower with the same torque output. You know you are driving a truck. The steering is bit stiff and you have to allow for a wider turning radius as you pull into a parking spot.
   The cab has plenty of room. The test model had two softly upholstered, reclining seats in the front separated by a large storage box. Two jump seats in the back allow for four passengers. Two cupholders in front and two in back easily hold a variety of sizes of cans or bottles. There are two auxiliary power outlets in the front. The air-conditioning and heating unit delivers results quickly. A nice feature is the swing out rear quarter windows. The Passlock system is standard on the Isuzu Hombre. It is a passive theft-deterrent system that is armed once the key is removed from the ignition and works to shut off the fuel line if someone tries to start the car anyway except with the proper key. The cargo bed has a double wall and the tailgate is detachable. The rear step in the back bumper helps load and unload cargo.
   Base price on the test model: $21,007. With Preferred Equipment Package including air conditioning, the AM/FM - CD package, sliding rear window, the Convenience Package - tilt steering wheel and cruise control, and the Power Package - window and door locks and power outside mirrors, the total price is $24,065. City mpg 16, Highway mpg 21.