Overview & Reviews
The original Isuzu Trooper debuted during the early 1980s. Thanks to the public's nascent demand for SUVs, the Trooper was fairly successful although it was plain and very utilitarian. Its boxy, two-door body has an obvious Land Rover appeal, but early versions were available only with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine and were quite underpowered.
Soon, a four-door model joined the lineup, and a GM-sourced V6 engine became available. As the sport-utility market grew, luxury amenities were added to the Trooper, but by the early 1990s, it was apparent that Isuzu needed to redesign the Trooper so it could remain viable in a market populated by steadily improving competitors.
It's this new "box with round edges" Trooper most people remember. Still truck-based, this wider, longer and taller Trooper added features such as a more powerful V6 and antilock brakes. That design lasted 10 years, and for some of those years Acura sold a rebadged version called the SLX. By the start of the new millennium, however, the Isuzu Trooper had been eclipsed by newer and superior competition and was still suffering from the effects of a negative report published in Consumer Reports magazine. With sales stalled, Isuzu discontinued the model for 2002.
As a used midsize SUV, the second-generation Isuzu Trooper is nicely equipped (in Limited trim) and, thanks to aggressive depreciation, priced affordably. Good off-road ability, excellent outward visibility and a spacious interior are among the Trooper's other positive attributes. Poor on-road handling and mediocre fuel economy are the Trooper's main drawbacks. The best years for the Trooper are the mid-to-late '90s. After that, models like the Ford Explorer or Toyota 4Runner or Sequoia are better choices.
Most Recent Isuzu Trooper
The second-generation Isuzu Trooper was produced from 1992-2002. Isuzu made some important updates for 1998, and it's probably these later Troopers that most used-SUV shoppers will be looking at.
In that year, this five-passenger midsize SUV gained a new, more powerful 3.5-liter 215-horsepower V6 and full-time four-wheel drive became standard. The Trooper also got a slight styling update that made it look more upscale than similar-era SUVs. The Trooper was available in two trim levels, base S and upscale Luxury, with the latter changing its name to Limited the following year. By 2000, an LS midlevel trim was added and once again a rear-wheel-drive version was offered. Only minor feature updates were made for the Trooper's last couple of years.
Our last full test of an Isuzu Trooper was in 1999 and we praised the vehicle's improvements, noting that the new engine added needed power and the interior was surprisingly quiet. We also praised the Trooper's roomy interior and cavernous cargo bay. Still, there's no disguising the fact that the Trooper is a truck. It looks like a truck and it rides like a truck. Anyone expecting a smooth ride and sharp handling will be disappointed.
For earlier years of this generation Trooper, there are a few things to watch out for. These Troopers were not as powerful. Base Trooper S models had a single-overhead-cam V6 that made an adequate 175 hp, while upscale-looking LS models had a dual-overhead-cam V6 that was good for 190 hp. Both engines displace 3.2 liters. In addition to its extra horsepower, the LS also offered ABS as an option, so used shoppers should consider that trim level.
Changes over the years were few, but one of the more noteworthy included the addition of a short-wheelbase two-door Trooper with the RS trim level designation in 1993. A few years later it was dropped. If you live in a cold climate, consider a 1994 or newer Isuzu Trooper, as those models offered the option of heated and powered front seats.
The real bargain is the Trooper Limited version added for the 1995 model year. It included such features as a power sunroof, leather upholstery, heated seats and wood grain trim. Prices for a Limited are only a few hundred dollars more than a lesser equipped Trooper, and all '95 models offered a slightly more compliant ride thanks to a revised suspension. The Trooper lineup for 1996 was minus the two-door RS. Shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive also made its debut that year. By 1997, ABS became standard and the Limited trim was renamed the Luxury model.
Past Isuzu Trooper
The first-generation Trooper ran from 1981-'91. A diesel version was offered as well, and later versions of first-generation Troopers were available with a V6. Early Troopers were available as two- and four-door versions but it was the roomy four-door that became popular with American drivers.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 192.00
My zuzu needs work after 120k, but hey! - 2000 Isuzu Trooper
By kr in fl - December 13 - 5:53 pm
Bought about 18 mos ago. Never thought Id want to drive an SUV, but somehow its NOT big and cumbersome. Everything Ive read about power, cargo, visibility, handling I must support. Its great! Had an overheating problem but a new thermostat fixed it. The A/C fan does need to be beefier (mine is out now) and my trans has been failing for 6 months or so. One week it drives fine,and the next is awful- suddenly free-spinning and losing speed in traffic. Im told there is a leak, but its a "closed system", I cant check or add tranny fluid. The tranny must be REPLACED, cannot be rebuilt. I found a local shop that will do it for 1600.00. Every other owner I run into raves about their Trooper
I really wanted to keep liking - 1999 Isuzu Trooper
By rkmii - September 23 - 5:00 am
I bought it new but within 5 years it was sucking down a quart of oil every 1,000 miles. This is a well-maintained vehicle. We are talking about a defective engine here and Isuzu has refused and/or failed to do anything about it unless somebodys Trooper was under warranty while it was doing the same thing. Also has developed problems with transfer case, TOD system - pretty much the entire drive train. I dont abuse my vehicles. For these reasons I rate my Trooper as having poor reliability because without the motor its nothing. This is my second Trooper and my second Isuzu. Both have been let-downs. I wont buy another Isuzu. Ever.
99 Trooper Exceeded Expectation - 1999 Isuzu Trooper
By trooperfan - September 20 - 2:00 am
Got a great deal on it at the end of the 99 model year. Its got over 70K miles on it and Ive had no problems with it. Just regular maintenance and a set of tires over the past three years. Drives great, very comfortable, great brakes. I drive it approx. 80 miles every day and I never tire of driving it. Not much off-road experience. A couple of trips to the snow and some dirt roads while camping. Handled both well. Great highway manners even along the California coast. A great bargain as far as I am concerned.
up to 88k miles since new - 1999 Isuzu Trooper
By shawn - September 18 - 7:13 pm
I have owned this truck since new and am still have not had any issues besides normal wear items like brakes, wiper, tires & shocks. My wife gets a different car each year and it amazes me that this old Trooper just keeps kicking without a hitch. Excellent power to weight ratio. Ill probably buy something new this year and keep the Trooper just because it is so reliable.
95 limited and 02 S - 2002 Isuzu Trooper
By conrac - September 9 - 9:10 pm
bought a 95 limited right outta high school in 01 and it was indestructible!! traded it in on a tacoma. MISTAKE!! NOT HALF THE VEHICLE. just bought a 02 cause i have kids now,(still have lifted F 150 though,haha) love my 02 with 60000 miles. these suvs were made to abuse. style meets utility all the way around. cant believe that isuzu makes nothing but 4-door GM knock-offs now.
Super Trooper - 2000 Isuzu Trooper
By Quentin Merrill - August 21 - 10:00 am
Good Vehicle for those that enjoy a combination of style, speed and power.
Surprise - 1999 Isuzu Trooper
By I-5 Bandit - August 12 - 10:00 am
I am pleased with our choice . We needed a family rig that could with stand our life-style. Trips to the Washington mountains loging roads, snow, camping trips and keeping up with 04 Rangers, Tacomas, Jeeps and Z71s. We have been able to go where all others go, and we are usually leading the pack. I put on some BF All terrains...Great move. Am planning to put on some rancho this summer. Yes I do have to add oil every 1500 miles...It just makes me stay on top of oil changes. Has excellent off road ability, have climbed some pucker upper hills, have not rolled or have even been close. Have fun
A l m o s t perfect... - 1999 Isuzu Trooper
By easychair - July 16 - 2:00 am
My 3rd Trooper, this is the best one yet. Near-V8 power, great blend of comfort, sensibility, and utility. Nice manners on road, but does everything right in sand, steep hills, big rocks, whatever. Needs a little more grunt for towing my trailer in the AZ mountains. I added LT tires and Rancho shocks. At 57k, reliabilty has been exceptional.
I love my Trooper - 2001 Isuzu Trooper
By yellowbird - June 1 - 3:33 pm
I have driven across the U.S. every year in Oct. and Nov, for the last 20 years, My Trooper is the best winter driver of all the autos, pickups & SUVs I have owned. Only have 55,000 miles on this Trooper, We have other vehicles we drive when at home. We have not spent any money (except for normal maintenance, oil, tires, etc.) on this auto. Can not think of any other auto, pickup, or SUV we have owned that has given us as much driving safety or pleasure as this Trooper.
Trooper drivers are loyal. - 1999 Isuzu Trooper
By jelze - April 18 - 5:13 pm
Once you own an Isuzu Trooper, no other SUV will do. This car can hold anything except a 4X8 sheet of plywood (tie on roof rack instead) and can go anywhere. It is comfortable to drive, great visibility all the way around - no blind spots. The engine has enough power to zoom into the fastest highway traffic or amble on the softest sand. This is my third Trooper and I will definately buy a fourth.