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1998 Isuzu Amigo V-6 Is Younger at Coronary heart

From the Might 1998 situation of Automotive and Driver.

“An Amigo? That is a high-school child’s automotive,” stated senior editor Smith earlier than he climbed into our Copper Orange Mica check automotive, a 205-hp V-6-pow­ered, five-speed, four-wheel-drive, two­-door hot-rod trucklet priced at $19,795. The grin that stretched throughout his face after a check drive instructed that the brand new Amigo, which went on sale in March, is now not a child’s automotive.

Two occasions gave the earlier Amigo its youthful fame. First, it was extremely inexpensive. In 1989, a base four-wheel­-driver price lower than $13,000. That attribute partially stays, as a rear-drive mannequin prices $15,440 at the moment. “Seventy per­cent of Technology X would really like a sport-ute, however they cannot afford $25,000,” defined Steve Kerho, Isuzu’s nationwide model supervisor.

Second, Isuzu spent hardly any cash selling the Amigo—the automotive needed to promote itself from the second it entered the U.S. market in 1989 till it departed our market on the finish of 1994. Therefore, the Amigo was bought virtually totally by word-of-mouth from child to child. A single TV advert promoted the automotive’s debut, and later that 12 months, only one print advert ran in magazines. And that was it. Nonetheless, a complete of 48,651 Amigos have been bought­—a determine that seemingly set a report for market­ing price per unit. If Isuzu aimed blind­folded, it undoubtedly hit a youthful, enthusiastic goal.

This time round, lsuzu has larger plans for the Amigo, beginning with an optionally available V-6 engine. The brand new Amigo, with the three.2-liter DOHC V-6 engine it shares with the bigger Rodeo, will get to 60 mph in eight seconds flat. There is not a less expensive sport-ute that may get there any faster. And that is only a tenth of a second slower than Ford’s four-wheel-drive Explorer Sport three-door, geared up with a 205-hp SOHC V-6 and large tires, for $26,595. The brand new Amigo is quicker, too, than its closest rival, the Jeep Wrangler Sport, with its 181-hp inline six-cylinder. As you’d think about, the V-6 Amigo runs all around the four-cylinder mini-SUVs, being greater than a second faster to 60 mph than even the Subaru Forester, which itself handily out­runs the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Base Amigos include a 130-hp 2.2-liter four-cylinder made in Australia, which can be out there within the Rodeo. It makes solely 10 extra horses than the previous Amigo’s 2.6 churned out, so do not count on the four-cylinder model to hit 60 mph a lot sooner than the previous mannequin’s 15.3-second time. The one transmission alternative for now’s a five-speed handbook; later within the 12 months, an computerized will flip up.

The brand new Amigo is definitely a Rodeo that’s 15 inches shorter. It advantages from the most recent Rodeo’s lighter, stronger chassis and its rack-and-pinion steering, which replaces a trucklike recirculating-ball field. The suspension is up to date just like the Rodeo’s, with coil springs and a dwell rear axle positioned by 5 hyperlinks. Isuzu anticipates promoting 20,000 new Amigos annually, and all will probably be inbuilt Lafayette, Indiana. Some 2000 right-hand-drive fashions will probably be exported to Japan yearly. Isuzu expects that about 50 p.c of the Amigos it builds in Hoosier-land will probably be geared up with four-wheel drive. A splash-mounted button engages the entrance hubs and the switch gear “on the fly,” and a lever selects excessive or low vary—similar to you will discover within the Rodeo.

On first sight, the Amigo is brief and tough-looking, and it shares the grille and headlights of the Rodeo. Inside, the instru­ment panel is equivalent to the Rodeo’s, though Isuzu says nearly all of Amigos will seemingly have price-lowering handbook home windows, mirrors, and locks. There’s a cloth tender prime over the rear seat, with facet and rear home windows manufactured from plastic. A side-opening rear tailgate has the spare bolted to it, and a roll bar offers the anchor factors for the rear-seat shoulder belt (the rear bench has a middle lap belt). There are two useful, lined cargo bins on prime of the rear wheel wells.

To take pleasure in extra open air, you first unzip the facet and rear home windows, that are connected with giant zipper and hook-and-loop fasteners. The zippers, nevertheless, are on the skin of the home windows, making unauthorized entry a easy process, even when the automotive is locked. Subsequent, you unclip two latches and the highest folds again in seconds. A tough-top mannequin will probably be avail­ready by summer time, however to avoid wasting prices, the detachable rear prime part was not designed to be retrofitted on soft-top automobiles.

1998 isuzu amigo v6

Aaron Kiley|Automotive and Driver

Different areas the place price chopping is noticeable are the unpainted entrance and rear bumpers. We counted six empty swap blanks on the dashboard of our four-wheel-­drive check automotive, which suggestions off drivers that quite a lot of gear could also be lacking. Or it might enchantment to do-it-yourselfers who need to add lights, compressors, a winch, or different gear requiring swap areas. It hasn’t been totally stripped, nevertheless: There are two 12-volt energy shops within the sprint and one within the cargo space. “Our analysis exhibits patrons understand a budget sport-utilities as toys. We added extra utility to proceed to enchantment to the entry-­degree sport-utility purchaser,” says Isuzu’s Kerho.

On the street, the Amigo V-6 is sub­stantially quieter than its predecessor, which at 70 mph rang your ears with a 75-dBA sound degree. The brand new automotive measured 70 dBA, even with the rear cloth roof flap­ping barely within the wind. The brand new Amigo’s freeway livability is best than the earlier, poorly insulated Amigo’s; the previous mannequin lacked carpet, trim, and sound-deadening materials within the rear-seat space.

The steering of the brand new Amigo is mild, and it stays so even when spinning the wheel rapidly in opposite-lock maneu­vers—an motion that does not beat the power-assist pump. The P245/70SR-16 Bridgestone Dueler 684 tires offered a grippy 0.74 g of lateral acceleration on pavement. That is so much higher than the 0.69 g the previous Amigo generated on its larger light-truck tires. The all-disc brakes stopped the Amigo in 191 ft—a purpose­ready distance for an off-roader.

Off-road, the brand new automotive is surprisingly succesful and cozy. Our veteran Nepal-experienced off-road check driver stated the Amigo ran down a rutted rural street higher than did a Rodeo, the physique construction of which appeared to shake extra. The trip of the Amigo was higher, regardless of its shorter wheelbase, which in idea guarantees extra bucking movement.

The brand new Amigo’s passenger-car tires are a bit smaller in diameter than the orig­inal Amigo’s 31-by-10.5-inch light-truck tires. That contributes to the discount in method angle of the brand new Amigo, from 40 levels to 32.5 levels. However the departure angle is 2.5 levels better than the 1994 mannequin’s 27 levels. Becoming bigger tires would seemingly have an effect on the brand new automotive’s trip negatively, however bigger tires would higher resist abrasion and punctures from rocks.

The smaller tires additionally enable extra steering lock for a tighter 34.1-foot turning circle, regardless of the brand new mannequin’s 5.2-inch­-longer wheelbase. In weighing the pluses and minuses, Isuzu selected the smaller tires.

There is a future for enjoyable two-door sport-­utilities, Isuzu believes. “This would possibly not be the final of that type of [two-door] configura­tion you will see,” stated Kerho. Certainly, in Japan, a two-door styling experiment known as the VehiCROSS bought all 2000 items of a restricted manufacturing in two months after it was launched on the New York auto present in March 1997. It was designed by the Isuzu Tech Heart in Europe on a physique 5.3 inches shorter than the Amigo’s, and it was powered by a modified 3.2-liter, 212-hp V-6. It bought for about $23,000 in Japan.

Physics denies many oversize five-door sport-utility autos the type of nimble dealing with, spunky acceleration, and driving enjoyable that you just get with an Amigo. The enjoyable appears to make up for the dearth of rear-seat area and the dearth of doorways. Neverthe­much less, we managed to suit two adults and a one-year-old, a three-year-old, and a 5­-year-old into our check Amigo, together with two youngster seats, a collapsible playpen, a folding excessive chair, and a folding eight­-wheel stroller. It was maybe 3 times the wrestle it will have been in a Dodge Caravan, and the teenager paraphernalia did block a lot of the rear view. Nonetheless, the excessive perch gave the toddler, who was within the heart rear-seat place, a view out the entrance windshield that captured his atten­tion and stored him silent all through an extended drive on damaged pavement and filth roads. We’ll gladly take the Amigo’s perfor­mance over the extra area of a bigger, less-fun sport-ute or minivan.

The brand new Amigo stays the closest competitor to the Jeep Wrangler, which remains to be the recognition chief within the small­-sport-utility market, in addition to a bench­mark in off-road capacity. Even with a tough prime and all-glass home windows, a six-cylinder Wrangler is a number of hundred {dollars} much less. Nonetheless, the Amigo is extra nice to drive on on a regular basis roads.


Shopping for a miniature sport-ute is just a little like shopping for rubbish cans due to the way in which they appear. I imply, what is the level of driving a trucklet if it will not carry all my backyard implements to Larry’s Mower Service? Properly, there’s a level, as I found within the woods final night time. Off-road, the Amigo feels as rugged and sure-footed as a truck (however with a greater trip), in contrast to a pair different tiny utes I might point out (whose initials start with CR-V and RAV4). And even when the Amigo is brief on ute, it is lengthy on sport. The V-6 is quick to rev, easy, and potent—rem­iniscent of the drivetrain in my beloved Nissan Pathfinder. —John Phillips

If I am ever fortunate sufficient to maneuver to Arizona, Hawaii, or Florida—the place the solar is vibrant and the air is heat—I might go for an Amigo. I just like the Amigo as a result of I can take it off-road on a mountain-bike or snowboarding journey, I can take it to the seaside with a surfboard protruding the open roof, and I can zip round city with out getting beat up like I might in a Wrangler. The one factor that bothers me in regards to the Amigo is the mammoth C-pillar, which creates an enormous blind spot on each side of the automotive. In addition to that, the Amigo professional­vides an unusual mixture of versatility, refinement, and enjoyable. —Bradley Nevin

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1998 Isuzu Amigo
Car Kind: front-engine, rear/4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 2-door sedan wagon


Base/As Examined: $19,795/$21,519
Choices: six-speaker stereo with CD participant, $550; 16-inch aluminum wheels, $500; limited-slip rear differential, $250; fender flares, $200; ground mats, $85; mud flaps, $75; heart armrest, $39; cargo internet, $25.

DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port gas injection

Displacement: 193 in3, 3165 cm3

Energy: 205 hp @ 5400 rpm

Torque: 214 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm 

5-speed handbook


Suspension, F/R: management arms/inflexible axle

Brakes, F/R: 11.0-in vented disc/12.3-in disc

Tires: Bridgestone Dueler 684


Wheelbase: 96.9 in

Size: 168.0 in

Width: 70.4 in
Top: 67.0 in

Passenger Quantity, F/R: 53/39 ft3
Cargo Quantity: 21 ft3
Curb Weight: 3820 lb


60 mph: 8.0 sec

1/4-Mile: 16.2 sec @ 84 mph
100 mph: 28.7 sec
Rolling Begin, 5–60 mph: 8.4 sec

High Gear, 30–50 mph: 10.4 sec

High Gear, 50–70 mph: 10.8 sec

High Velocity (drag ltd): 110 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 191 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.74 g 


Noticed: 15 mpg

Metropolis/Freeway: 18/21 mpg 


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