Is this the best Isuzu can do? The company's
lineup now consists entirely of General Motorís rip-offs, including this
I-350 pickup that's nothing but a Chevy Colorado. The only difference is
the name on the hood.
Hard, cheap-feeling plastics cover much of
the dash and door panels in the I-350, marring an otherwise great cabin.
It's roomy and quiet, but the quality looks like it was built a decade
ago. Isuzu is bound to be leaving America soon.
How else could you explain the company's
totally unimaginative, unoriginal lineup of trucks and SUVs? It's as if
everyone at Isuzu threw up their arms and said, "Enough already! We give
up! Let's just forget about this 'create new cars' thing and let General
Motors do all our work." And that's exactly what's happening.
Isuzu now makes a total of three vehicles,
all of which are nothing but re-named GM products built in GM factories.
There's the Ascender, which is just a GMC Envoy with a better name, and
the I-350 and I-280 pickups, neither of which I knew existed until Isuzu
invited me to drive one.
To be perfectly honest, I didn't know what
the I-350 would be like until it actually arrived at my door. I expected
to find something new and flashy because it's been so long since I've
noticed a new Isuzu pickup on the road. I figured they were discontinued
sometime in the '90s, and now would be a good time for Isuzu to return
to the market with a great new truck.
Boy, was I wrong. The disappointment started
the moment I saw the I-350 in the parking lot. "This sure looks
familiar," I thought. "Looks just like a Chevy Colorado."
My suspicions were confirmed when I sat in
the driver's seat and found myself surrounded by the kind of crappy,
hard-plastic dash and door panels that only GM still uses - the kind of
plastic that feels like it was made from melted-down Tonka Trucks.
"Yep. It's 100-percent Chevy," I thought.
On the bright side, I knew this would be a
pickup that rides and drives like a dream because that's what the
Colorado does. It has a remarkably quiet cabin for a truck, and its ride
is much softer and more refined than you'd find in new trucks just five
Another plus is the Isuzu's powertrain
warranty, which covers the engine and transmission for seven years or
75,000 miles. That's about two years longer than average for a truck.
Other than that, there's no reason anybody ought to buy an I-350. You
could get more options with a Colorado, probably a better price, and
definitely a more convenient network of dealers. The fact that this
truck exists is a mystery.
Usually, when one lesser known brand tries
to sell a vehicle made by a company with a better reputation - as was
the case when Geo sold a car built by Toyota a few years back -- the
lesser known company offers a significantly lower price than the
well-respected brand. That's not what Isuzu is doing.
The I-350 is priced nearly the same and
sometimes higher than its counterpart at Chevrolet, depending on which
options and packages you choose. That makes no sense.
While Chevy offers a version of the Colorado
for $15,330, the cheapest Isuzu version sells for $16,989. If you load a
4x4 Crew Cab version with options, it reaches well over $30,000 - and
that's outrageous. It's a decent truck, but for that kind of money I'd
expect much better quality and more luxury conveniences like the big
trucks are offering.
Finally, if you don't think this truck
signals the end of Isuzu in America, consider this: the Associated Press
reported in September that Isuzu won't have a display at the North
American International Auto Show in 2006. Isuzu still claims it plans to
stay in America, but that plan won't last long if the I-350 is the best
truck it can make. Better break out the funeral garb.
What was tested? The 2006 Isuzu I-350
4x4 Crew Cab ($27,358). Options: Limited package ($1,839). Price as
Why buy it?
Only for the warranty. It offers a seven-year, 75,000-mile powertrain
warranty, which is about two years longer than average for a small
truck. Other than that, it's just like a Chevy Colorado. By
Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Isuzu Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo ©
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2006 Isuzu I-350 4x4 Crew Cab
2006 Isuzu I-350 4x4 Crew Cab
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