A year after Isuzu launched its updated pickup truck, it's pumping up power and reminding people why "tuners" consider it a good starting point. When two-thirds of your American product line is a pickup, it's wise to spread around the good news.
This U.S.-built compact pickup truck, sharing genes with the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon from General Motors, won a couple of significant automotive awards on debut a year ago, including one for lowest repair costs.
For 2007, in addition to some trim and mechanical upgrades, it ups the ante by adding more grunt to both engine lines and changes model names in the process to identify what power is under the hood. The i-290 (previously i-280) that comes in extended or crew cab versions, gets a 185-horsepower, 2.9-liter four replacing a 2.8-liter, 175-HP four. The i-370, crew cab only, (previously i-350) gets a 3.7-liter inline five, replacing the 3.5-liter. Horsepower bumps up to 242 from 220. Best EPA mileage is 17/24.
Among other updates are standard tire pressure monitors on all models and a rear axle ratio manual transmission improvement. The i-290 S manual trans base model (clocking in at a budget $16,989) now can upgrade to automatic, a $1,089 option. Manual models also boost towing capacity to 2,100 lbs. from 1,700. The top-line i-370 Limited starts at $29,197.
Amenities don't get lost in the 2007 model year. Pacific Blue exterior color is added, and Deep Crimson and Behring Blue metallics replace Red Rock and Adriatic Blue metallics respectively. Inside, the Very Dark Pewter trim on up-market LS, Luxury and Limited Models, gives way to Ebony. Those models get chrome accents on comfort controls, gauges, door handles, locks and around speakers. But the inside rear view mirror's map light is history.
Isuzu showed off hidden talents for its i-series pickups at a recent Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, the Nirvana of those who use a pickup or other vehicle to adapt with show stopping bells and whistles. The i-290 changes included Ground Force lowering, 20-inch tires, special striping, truck bed tonneau cover and black leather seats. Among i-370 customizes: Signal mirrors, front bumper cover, lower chrome Speed Grille inserts, and valance driving lights.
With more power, more tweeks and more adaptability to cruise in style, Isuzu reminds potential buyers its prices remain unchanged from a year ago.