1999 Isuzu Amigo Reviews and Ratings

Utility Hardtop 4WD AT (V6)

NADAguides Consumer Review

Be the first to review this 1999 Isuzu Amigo.

Rate This Vehicle

My Rating

Fuel Economy
Interior Comfort
Ride Quality
Overall Rating

My Review

Type your review and click the Submit button
600 of 600 character remain

Expert Reviews ( 1 )

1999 Isuzu Amigo
Johnathan Ingram

Isuzu's Amigo quickly earned a reputation for fun after it was re-introduced last year. Its short, stout body and semi-convertible soft top give it a funky appearance, while a V6 engine and four-wheel drive provide serious off-road capability.

New for 1999 is a Hard Top model of this muscular mini-utility. It retains all the fun, but adds the advantages of better sound-proofing, improved visibility with glass windows, improved weather protection, and heightened security for valuables. The most noticeable result of the non-removable hard top is its handsome, more sophisticated appearance. This aesthetically pleasing new look vaults the Amigo ahead of the box-on-wheels look of many other sport-utilities.

Isuzu believes the Hard Top version will appeal to an entirely different crowd than the original soft-top Amigo. While the soft-top version may attact young sun gods and goddesses intent on cruising the beach and coastal roads, the hard top is likely to find a home with a buyer whose feet are planted on firmer Terra Firma. The new Amigo Hard Top looks more upscale and is more practical than the soft top. While the soft top looks best while cruising the beach at Malibu, the hard top looks comfortable shopping on Rodeo Drive or cruising through the mountains of Vermont. Walkaround
The Amigo is essentially the two-door version of the four-door Isuzu Rodeo. They share front sheet metal, powertrains and other components. One of the appeals of the Amigo is the variety of configurations available. Amigo is available with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Two engines are available, a cast iron 2.2-liter, inline four-cylinder and a 3.2-liter, aluminum alloy V6. Five-speed manual transmissions are standard; and this year an automatic was added as an option on V6 models. All come with soft or hard tops. That adds up to at least eight major combinations.

They range in price from the $16,305 Amigo 2WD soft top with the 2.2-liter engine and five-speed manual to the $20,745 Amigo 4WD Hard Top V6 automatic. Four-wheel drive adds roughly $2300 to the cost of an Amigo, while the V6 adds about $1,100 -- though additional features are included. Air conditioning is a $950 option, while an automatic adds about $780 to the total. Hard-top and soft-top versions are essentially the same cost.

The hard top lends a more rakish appearance to the Isuzu Amigo. It complements the already athletic appearance of the Amigo's lower body, where wheel wells are packed with 16-inch Bridgestone Dueler tires. And it looks especially good with the optional gray painted fascia and fender flares. Made of polypropylene, the hard top covers the rear half of the Amigo formerly occupied by the fold-down soft top. The new top comes only in black and is non-removable. Making the top removable would have added greatly to the cost of the hard-top Amigo and Isuzu officials said their research indicated most Jeep Wrangler owners never removed their hard tops. The hard top comes with a heated rear window.

The more resolute form of the polypropylene lid along with the new Palazzo Red paint seem to turn the Amigo from a duckling into a swan. The hard top neatly hides the huge rear roll hoop and support bars necessary for a vehicle without a full body. Adding to visual appeal are an integrated body-colored grille, small fog lamps and art deco tail lights. The large rear tailgate door with its relatively short window eliminates the square appearance of most sport-utilities. Its rakish appearance and form-filling tires add an appealing muscular demeanor to the Amigo, while a rear-mounted spare tire ensures it maintains its utilitarian look. Overall, the Amigo Hard Top is a stylish SUV. Interior
Inside, is a straightforward, utilitarian interior. The dash and center console are in a standard arrangement. The floor shifter in four-wheel-drive models can be easily reached from the driver's seat. The woven cloth seats could use a greater range of adjustments and a bit more lumbar and side support. Also, the steering wheel isn't perfectly aligned with the driver's seat -- common on many vehicles, but more noticeable on this one. In the back seat, there's enough room for three adults. Folding the rear seat down reveals 62 cubic feet of cargo room. Climbing up and into the back seats isn't easy, however, because the passage is narrow and sliding the front seat forward on our test vehicle was difficult.

The hard top comes with two moonroofs. The front moonroof has a tilt option or can be removed. The rear moonroof can also be removed. The most obvious benefits of the hard top are the glass side and rear windows in place of the somewhat fussy zip-in plastic versions on the soft top. The glass dramatically improves visibility out the sides. A rear defroster and wiper are standard. Driving Impressions
Our Amigo Hard Top came with the 3.2-liter V6 and automatic. The V6 revs quickly, providing quick getaways from intersections. Strong low-end torque peaks at 214 foot-pounds at 3,000 rpm. The Amigo sprints from 0 to 60 mph in about 8.5 seconds -- a strong performance for a small SUV.

Once up to speed, the Amigo is fun to drive. The big tires don't provide a lot of grip in paved corners, but the handling is very predictable and that makes the Amigo entertaining to drive. The 16-inch tires (P235 standard and P245 with the optional alloy wheels) have excellent compliance with the Amigo suspension, which smooths out the ride considerably. Mounted on a ladder-type frame with a five-point coil spring rear suspension and live rear axle, the Amigo retains some of its truck heritage. The rear tires have a tendency to bounce around when hitting big bumps. By comparison, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV-4 are based on passenger car chassis; they ride smoother, but do not have the strong off-road capability of the Amigo.

On smooth interstates, the Amigo V6 galavants happily. It's a pleasure to drive on curvy mountain highways where torque and horsepower are at a premium. The transmission smoothly applies the power and the power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering responds well. At lower speeds, the steering is precise, which is equally helpful on crowded city streets and off road. The Amigo is much more fun to drive than a Kia Sportage.

When equipped with the automatic, the Amigo can be shifted from rear-wheel drive to four-wheel drive on the fly. Simply press the button on the dashboard. A floor-mounted lever engages a low-range set of gears for maximum torque in extreme off-road conditions.

Four-wheel-drive models come with disc brakes front and rear, which provide ample stopping power. (Drum brakes in the rear are standard for two-wheel-drive models.) Four-wheel anti-lock brakes are standard on all Amigos. With all that off-road suspension travel, there is some nose dive under hard braking.

We turned to the Rim of the World in the San Bernadino Mountains of California for some off-road driving. It was there, on steep, difficult grades where the four-wheel-drive Amigo really shined. The torque of the V6 worked in tandem with the tough, but compliant Bridgestone tires and rpm-sensitive steering. Our confidence rose as we rode over huge rocks and climbed through deep ruts. Our Amigo inspired a long afternoon in pursuit of craggy logging roads loaded with large rocks near Lake Arrowhead. Galvanized steel shields for the radiator and fuel tank helped sustain our confidence. The Amigo's four-wheel-drive system is designed for serious off-road use and should not be used on dry pavement. Summary
Isuzu's Amigo offers distinctive, sporty styling that helps it stand out from a herd of boxy SUVs. The new hard top should broaden the Amigo's appeal to more buyers as it presents a more sophisticated appearance and offers more practicality than the soft top model.

One of the most attractive features of the Amigo is its price. It competes favorably with the Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage and other small SUVs, yet offers more space and more driving entertainment.

This latest Amigo is endearing, as its name implies. It has, indeed, become a good friend.

Model as tested
Amigo 4WD V6 Hard Top
Basic Warranty
3 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in
Lafayette, Indiana
Destination charge
Gas guzzler tax
Base Price
Price as tested
Options as tested
Air conditioning, power windows and door locks, power mirrors, 6-speaker CD player, fender flares, fog lamps, alloy wheels, P245R16 tires, variable wipers

Model Line Overview
Model lineup
Safety equipment (standard)
Dual airbags
Safety equipment (optional)
130-hp 2.2-liter dohc 16v inline-4
4-speed automatic

Specifications as Tested
ABS, power steering, 4-speaker AM/FM cassette/stereo, intermittent wipers

Engine & Transmission
130-hp 2.2-liter dohc 16v inline-4
Drivetrain type
four-wheel drive
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
205 @ 5400
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm)

Brakes, front/rear
Suspension, front
P245/70 R16
Suspension, rear

Seating capacity
Head/hip/leg room, middle
Head/hip/leg room, front
Head/hip/leg room, rear

Fuel capacity
Trunk volume
Turning circle
Towing capacity
Track, front/rear
Ground clearance
Curb weight

J.D. Power Rating
Overall Quality Not Available
Overall Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Powertrain Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Body & Interior Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Features & Accessories Quality - Mechanical
Not Available
Overall Quality - Design
Not Available
Powertrain Quality - Design
Not Available
Body & Interior Quality - Design
Not Available
Features & Accessories Quality - Design
Not Available

Overall Dependability Not Available
Powertrain Dependability
Not Available
Body & Interior Dependability
Not Available
Feature & Accessory Dependability
Not Available

Search car listings & find the right car for you
Click here for 1999 Isuzu Amigo Utility Hardtop 4WD AT (V6) local listings
Vehicle History Report
Get answers to buy with confidence. Save when you purchase multiple reports.
  • Check whether an accident has been reported on the vehicle
  • Check for severe damage, salvage, and theft
Vehicle Identification Number

Car Buying and Selling Resources

Isuzus for Sale
Find 1999 Isuzu Amigo listings near you.
Car Selling Services
List your car in minutes on AutoTrader.com.
Free Dealer Price Quotes
Get free quotes from dealers near you.
New & Used Auto Loans
Compare real, custom loan offers from multiple lenders in minutes!
Official loan marketplace source of NADAguides.com
Insurance Quote
Get a free insurance quote provided by GEICO and save 15% or more.
Auto Refinance
Is your car payment as low as it should be?

J.D. Power Rating Legend
Among the Best
5 / 5
Better than Most
4 / 5
About Average
3 / 5
The Rest
2 / 5

* The J.D. Power Ratings are calculated based on the range between the car manufacturer or car model with the highest score and the car manufacturer or car model with the lowest score. J.D. Power generates a rating of a five, four, three, or two. If there is insufficient data to calculate a rating, “Not Available” is used in its place.

J.D. Power Ratings may not include all information used to determine J.D. Power awards, visit the Car Ratings page to learn more about awards and ratings.