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Before the Hombre

The Isuzu Hombre was not the first Isuzu truck sold in the United States.  In the 1970s, the Arab oil embargo led to rising gasoline prices and rationing.  Smaller pickup trucks that used less gas suddenly had greater market appeal.  GM was the first of the big three US auto makers to respond to this demand by selling rebadged Isuzu pickups as Chevy LUVs. 

Small pickups remained popular into the ‘80s.  So, GM set about developing its own small pickup.  The result was the Chevy S10.  The S10 eventually gave rise to the Isuzu Hombre. 

Hola, Hombre

In 1996, Isuzu, still teamed up with GM, released a new pickup truck for the US, the Hombre.  The Hombre was built on the S10 chassis, but featured curvier exterior styling from Isuzu.  The trucks were built in the US, which helped Isuzu skirt high tariffs facing foreign trucks.  At first, the Hombre was only available with a four-cylinder engine and a regular cab.  Early reviewers found the four-cylinder version a bit under-powered and slow, but did note it was very good on gas.  Eventually, Isuzu introduced versions of the truck with a “Spacecab” extended cab and the 4.3L V6 available in the Chevy S10.

Adios, Hombre

Unfortunately, for Isuzu, these improvements failed to answer the question of why someone would buy a Hombre over a Chevy S10.  The prices were roughly the same, and they differed little mechanically.  Isuzu offered a longer warranty, but still US customers felt more familiar with the Chevy name.  The Hombre was phased out in 2000.  Isuzu wouldn’t sell another pickup in the US until the Isuzu i-Series truck in 2005.  

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