SUVs have become popular vehicles thanks to their durability, practicality, and road presence, and few SUVs are more loved than the Isuzu Trooper. This mid-size SUV was produced by Japanese automaker Isuzu from 1981 to 2002. The Trooper actually started out as a ho-hum SUV that provided minimal power, but Isuzu gradually made the necessary improvements to turn this vehicle into a viable contender. On the whole, this ride offered excellent four-wheel drive traction and exceptional passenger and cargo room, which made it a very decent SUV.
1981-1991: A rocky start yields plenty of room for improvement
The first gen Trooper came with independent front suspension and was available as either a three-door or five-door SUV. Engine capabilities left much to be desired (2.2-liter four-cylinder engine), but in 1986, the Trooper was fitted with a much improved 4ZD1 four-cylinder 112 PS 2.3-liter engine. Generally, lack of power, poor handling, and unfavorable fuel economy were some of the problems that this vehicle encountered. In 1998, the Trooper went through some changes as it was made equipped with rectangular headlights, four-wheel disc brakes, live rear axles, and optional four-speed automatic transmission.
1992-1997: The Trooper in prime form
For the second generation, the Trooper was significantly redesigned. To keep up with a fast-growing SUV market, the Trooper had to be bigger, more powerful, and more luxurious. In 1994, four-wheel antilock brakes became available for the S and RS models, and were standard for the LS. For the lower-priced models, rear-wheel antilock brakes were installed in all Troopers. By 1995, some exterior changes included the application of a four-door standard design and the use of a 70/30 split rear door. And for the vehicle’s interior, stalk controls for the headlights and wipers were featured on the instrument panel and dual airbags were fitted into the vehicle.
1996 was a big year for the Trooper because it was fitted with a new four-wheel drive system, which allowed drivers to shift in and out of 4WD while cruising. All models came with an impressive single-cam V6 engine, with a horsepower rate of 190 hp.
1998-2005: The application of new technology and the end of the road
Two big changes were made to the trooper in 1998. The first significant upgrade was the installation of a powerful V6 engine. This component displaced 3.5 liters and yielded 25 more horsepower and 42 more pound-feet of torque as compared to the previous year’s engine. The second change was a standardized 4WD system called Torque-on-Demand. This system normally functioned in rear-wheel drive and automatically sent power to the front tires in the occurrence of rear tire slip. Minimal changes took place in 1999; among them were added fog lamps and available gold trim.
In 2000, rear-wheel-drive models replaced the S model of 1999. This Isuzu was equipped with a new grille and taillights as automatic climate control became a standard feature in all Troopers. To minimize the driver’s need to shift gears on inclines, the automatic transmission system was revised. Before production was ended in 2002, Isuzu released an Anniversary Edition in celebration of its 85th year.