The venerable big Trooper was a landmark example of the SUV and although it has been overtaken in many peoples eyes by similar off road brands it still reserves a high level of devotion among its many fans.
The long-running Trooper has become a legend for its durability, versatility and strong as an ox construction.
No one will get in your way when you are driving one of these things.
When it was first introduced in 1984 the Trooper was a utilitarian two-door vehicle powered by a four-cylinder engine.
It had lots of interior space, adequate power for its intended purposes but was short on comfort. In fact it was not really that well suited for on-road being a bit slow and noisy. The newer shape cars were much better and the Trooper became a success in the UK and in other markets because it was much cheaper than the Land Rover.
It was also the first modern SUV to be launched in the US. Isuzu was arguably the first company to realise Americans were buying SUVs as modern station wagons rather than using them for hard-core off-road use. Isuzu responded well with the Trooper, eventually redesigning it to be larger, more powerful and more refined.
As most of our reviewers as well as the industry writers testify this excellent build quality vehicle with its legendary reliability and tank like qualities is not to be underestimated. Many roadside rescue companies use Troopers as recovery vehicles, presumably because they do not break down and they are good in all conditions.
The 1988 onward vehicles become more sought as the Trooper began winning awards and rallies. It won the class victory in the 92 Australia Safari and received the 1992/1993 Japan Car of the Year Selection Committee Award.
Around 1995 Isuzu introduced its new luxury Limited edition boasting much more in terms of comfort features and stylings - although retaining the rugged image.
Good soundproofing, leather upholstery, walnut veneer, excellent highway riding qualities - all of the comforts of a luxury family car in fact - were on the menu plus a 12-cartridge CD player. The price competed well with other brands of similar levels of luxury.
Since then dual air bags became standard as did side-impact protection beams and child safety locks. All important mechanical parts protected by skid plates. The Limited is fitted with four-wheel antilock ventilated disc brakes, keyless entry and anti-theft systems. The Troopers sport-utility ride is legendary. As time went on the suspension received even better improvements. With modern vehicles there is little tyre or wind noise and the steering is regarded as good for a SUV. The third generation 1998 models feature the most powerful turbo-diesel engine available in this class. These later models come with a 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6 with 215 hp and a choice of a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. By now the Isuzu Trooper comes equipped with top-notch features, even more sympathetic design and performance. The standard four speed automatic transmission match the engines capacity resulting to a power boost of 215 hp at 5,400 rpm and 230 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm. Tested fuel economy is 15 mpg for urban use and 19 mpg for the motorway. With a wheelbase of 108.7 in, dimension of 181.3 x 72.2 x 72.2 in. and kerb weight of 4,500 lbs you can feel pretty safe in one. Other features as standard in the later models include power windows, locks, mirrors, sunroof and seats together with the responsive cruise control and anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes. Instruments include fuel gauge, compass, barometer water temperature, speedometer, tachometer, digital clock.
After its boom years Isuzu struggled to maintain its high market position and in the US sales declined following the controversy when a 1995 model was rated Not Acceptable by US consumer monitor Consumer Reports, allegedly for their tendency to roll over. This decline continued recently with news that Isuzu is pulling out of the prestigious North American International Auto Show next year in Detroit. In most markets the company has fallen far from the 1980s and 1990s peaks when it helped pioneer the SUV. As more and more competitors offered sport utilities the Trooper with all its excellent qualities has often been overlooked.
Engine Capacity - 2999 cc.
Power 159 at 3900 bhp/rpm.
Max Speed - 99 mph, 0 - 62 mph in 15.8 seconds.
Insurance Group 14.
Fuel Diesel, 85 litres / 18.70 gallons capacity.