According to the folks who make them, inexpensive 2-wheel drive pickups are the most sought-after members of the light-hauler clan. There are good reasons for that: Many owners are first-time buyers, while others buy in large quantity for delivery fleets, construction companies or other service businesses. Civilizing fancy stuff such as high-powered stereos, 4-wheel drive and luxurious upholstery don't fit their needs and/or budgets. What these thrift-minded customers do demand (after the lowest possible price) is reliability. After that, if possible, a modicum of comfort. Not to mention a bit of style. If those are the basic attributes you're seeking from a compact pickup truck, the Isuzu Hombre is well worth a once-over. Isuzu has long been a player in the entry-level compact pickup game. Its initial U.S. offering was built for--and sold by--Chevrolet; the Chevy Luv truck competed against the Mazda-sourced Ford Courier and Dodge/Mitsubishi Ram 50. As Isuzu established its own dealer body, the P'up and successors continued the no-frills policy, a strategy that guarantees survival in an intensely competitive market. Now the wheel has turned full circle, as General Motors and Isuzu team to produce another inexpensive pickup. This time, however, it's GM doing the manufacturing (in the U.S.) and Isuzu doing the selling. No shame in that. For Isuzu, it's an opportunity to keep its pickup customers happy without having to foot the bill for product development costs. For GM, the Isuzu deal is a way to keep the assembly lines running at full speed. Both companies win, and so does the customer, particularly the customer operating on a tight budget.