Isuzu's I-Series pickup trucks, the i-280 and i-350, are all-new for 2006. Major features of the i-280 Extended Cab 4x2 include a 2.8L inline four-cylinder engine, heavy-duty suspension, four-wheel ABS, two transmission choices, and a few option packages to add content. The i-350 Crew Cab 4x4 features a 3.5L five-cylinder engine, shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive, off-road-tuned suspension, stainless-steel exhaust, power features, front bucket seats, four-wheel ABS, and an automatic locking rear differential to help with off-road chores. Standard wheels and tires are 15 inches for both pickups.
Isuzu only offers one pickup and one SUV in its entire model lineup. The pickup truck, called the I-Series, is Isuzu's version of GM's Colorado pickup, which is the American version of the Isuzu D-Max. The I-Series comes in two versions: the i-280 and i-350. The 280 gets the smaller engine, a four-cylinder with 175 hp and 185 lb.-ft. of torque mated to a manual transmission, as well as the smaller cab configuration. The 350 gets the bigger 220-hp, five-cylinder engine with 225 lb.-ft. of torque, and is mated to an automatic shifter.
The basic body of the I-Series is very similar to the GM version, but the front grille is a bit more aggressive than that of the Colorado. Overfenders above the wheels give the I-series trucks a bit more presence, and the 4,000-pound towing capacity of the i-350 also makes it practical. Four packages-Preferred Equipment, LS, Luxury, and Limited-add the features that will make it more comfortable if you'll be spending a lot of time behind the wheel.
Isuzu offers these trucks with the longest powertrain warranty of any pickup in the American market. They have 7-year/75,000-mile limited powertrain coverage, along with Isuzu's 3-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. Another selling feature is Isuzu's truck heritage; Isuzu actually built the Chevy LUV pickup in 1972, as well as its own version of the LUV, called the P'Up, then the Hombre, which was based on GM's S/T (Chevy S-10/GMC Sonoma) platform.
A dozen players make up the Midsize Pickup segment, now that the compact pickup truck is really going out of fashion; these models have replaced earlier-generation compact pickup trucks. They offer better fuel economy and maneuverability than their full-size counterparts, and more room than former compacts.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the Toyota Tacoma (168,831 units sold in calendar year 2005) is the boss here, with the Chevy Colorado (128,359) next. The Ford Ranger (120,958) remains strong, as does the Dodge Dakota (104,051). The Isuzu I-Series, along with the Mitsubishi Raider (sister vehicle to the Dodge Dakota), are new to the market and don't command a strong share of the segment.