Though it has imported cars into the U.S., Isuzu is more well-known here for its trucks and truck-based SUVs. One of its more popular offerings in the latter realm was the diminutive Isuzu Amigo, a two-door compact SUV sold intermittently during the 1990s.
Amigo is, of course, a Spanish word that means “friend,” but this Isuzu was somewhat less friendly than its name or cuddly dimensions suggest. The vehicle’s refinement and ride quality were not as good as on competing car-based SUVs. Slow steering sapped much of the fun from the driving experience, and noise from the Amigo’s engine was excessive, making for clamorous times within its cabin. The vehicle’s two-door body and short wheelbase also made the rear seat an unpleasant place to get to and sit on.
On the plus side, the Isuzu Amigo was attractive-looking, with sharp angles and a sporty, pugnacious stance. The ute’s dual-range four-wheel drive and high ground clearance made it competent off-road. Later models also offered a powerful V6 that provided brisk acceleration.
Still, these charms are not enough to compensate for its lack of refinement relative to others in its class. If you’re in the market for a used compact SUV, saying adiós to the Amigo in favor of its competition is probably a wise decision.