1998 Isuzu Amigo Preview

2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Summer fun. That is what the 1998 Isuzu Amigo is all about.

After a three-year absence from the market, our friend the Amigo is back - with several notable improvements. Since the Amigo is essentially a two-door version of the Isuzu Rodeo, it shares many of the same enhancements that vehicle has acquired in the Amigo’s absence.

In particular, Amigo now features the Rodeo’s smoother 205-horsepower V-6 engine, plus a great deal of its new sheet metal. What it does not get is the Rodeo’s automatic transmission. For 1998, a five-speed manual is the only gearbox offered with the Amigo. If you want an automatic, you will have to wait until the 1999 model year. In addition to the V-6, a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine is available.

All two-wheel-drive Amigos will come exclusively with four-cylinder engines. A nonremovable hardtop version of the Amigo is also planned for the 1999 model year. It should be at dealers just in time for the winter sales season.

1998 Isuzu Amigo 1

1998 Isuzu Amigo 1

Soft suspension gives car-like ride

Our test vehicle was a V-6 powered soft-top model. Its smooth 3.2-liter DOHC engine provided enough power to make the Amigo feel rather quick in comparison with other SUVs. However, the Amigo’s soft suspension makes it lurch back and forth slightly if the manual gearbox is shifted too quickly. On the other hand, that softer suspension gives it a more compliant, car-like ride - both on and off road.

On the inside, a bigger interior makes room for a new instrument panel that can accommodate the optional CD player and cassette combination. The sound system in the Amigo proved useful in drowning out the expected road noise when the top was down on our test vehicle.

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