Downside: There is no difference between the Isuzu I-350 and GM's Chevrolet Colorado, or the GMC Canyon pickup equipped with the same engine. In an excruciatingly competitive global auto industry, there is neither room nor reason for this. Also, pickup truck enthusiasts say that the five-cylinder engine does not produce enough low-end torque for their hauling and towing needs.

Upside: I think the I-350's five-cylinder engine is powerful enough for the way most of us use pickup trucks, and more fuel-efficient than a V-6 or V-8.

Ride, acceleration and handling: The I-350 rides and handles like the compact pickup that it is. Accelerates competently in highway traffic. The test truck performed well in light hauling, with 600-pound payloads.

Head-turning quotient: It's just a pickup truck.

Body style/layout: The Isuzu I-350 Crew Cab is a front-engine, four-door, four-wheel-drive, short-bed pickup truck of traditional body-on-frame construction. It also comes in a rear-wheel-drive model.

Engine/transmission: The 3.5-liter, in-line five-cylinder engine in the I-350 develops 220 horsepower at 5,600 revolutions per minute and 225 foot-pounds of torque at 2,800 rpm. It is linked to a standard four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive.

Capacities: The I-350 seats five people. Maximum payload is 1,190 pounds. Maximum towing capacity is 4,000 pounds. The fuel tank holds 19.6 gallons of regular unleaded gasoline.

Mileage: I averaged 20 miles per gallon, mostly in highway driving carrying approximately 600 pounds of cargo.

Safety: Four-wheel antilock brakes and front and rear head bags are standard.

Price: Base price on the tested 2006 Isuzu I-350 is $27,358. Dealer's invoice price on that model is $25,717. Price as tested is $28,018, including a $660 destination and handling charge. Prices sourced from Isuzu and, a Washington Post affiliate.

Purse-strings note: The I-350 is a good truck for weekend builders and gardeners. It's surrounded by stronger rivals; but it beats them on warranty (three years/50,000 miles basic; seven years/75,000 miles engine and transmission; and six years/100,000 miles rust protection). Still, with its Red Tag sales program, it makes more sense to shop GM for this one.