By on June 14, 2009

What was the best selling import SUV ten years ago? 4Runner? Passport? Daihatsu Rocky? It’s really a trick question because the vehicle in question was actually made in Indiana. Nope, not a Subaru Forester. It was the last successful GM import model, the Isuzu Rodeo. For most of the 1990s, Isuzu was indeed the star player in the import SUV segment. The Rodeo was their big one hit wonder. So big that Honda decided to trade badges and give Isuzu a minivan (Oasis) in exchange for the Rodeo’s street cred. On the flip side, their other SUV was the Trooper: a tall and awkward SUV on stilts that somehow managed to become . . well . . .

A bleeping mess. So strange and problem-prone in its final years as a wanna-be Range Rover that I won’t even mention it past this sentence. However its initial incarnation as a true off-roader was far more interesting. As tall as a tophat, 5-speed, 4-cylinder, 4WD, and enough space to make the late Andre the Giant comfortable. I bought one of these last week for $700 ($600 plus the auction fee) and I have to tell you, if I wanted to become the next Unabomber with family in tow, this would be a worthy consideration.

It’s a great vehicle for those men who are named after guns. It’s great if you need to hide in the woods. It’s great if you want to go hunting and kill innocent furry woodland creatures. And if you want a nice soundtrack for your re-renactment of a Ted Nugent fantasy, it has easy access to a ‘premium’ early-90s stereo system. This one has a 12-disc CD changer and the all-important cassette deck added on. Oh, and an American flag on its back tire cover that pays good tribute to its roots.

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49 Comments on “Hammer Time: The Ghost of SUV Past...”


  • avatar
    menno

    Yes, I always have been astounded by Isuzu’s super-fast flame-out, dive, crash and burn.

    Have to wonder if the company got too close to the camp of Generous Motors (extreme sarcasm alert).

    Seriously, what’s GM done for anyone else lately other than use them like a whore and throw them away when not needed/wanted?

    GM’s own are treated as badly as distant cousins.

    In the 1950’s and early 1960’s, Vauxhall (UK) cars were imported into the US by Oldsmobile dealers – dropped.

    In the 1960’s through 1973, Opel’s (German) cars were imported into the US by Buick dealers – replaced by Isuzu cars badged as Opels in 1974.
    In the 1970’s, Isuzu also provided LUV pickups for Chevrolet.

    Later on still, Isuzu provided several small cars for Geo, as well as Suzuki providing several cars for Geo, as well as Toyota providing the Corolla clone for Geo (later for Chevy then Pontiac) via NUMMI.

    Later still, GM decided to buy & ruin Saab, then buy into Subaru and bastardize a few Saabs by selling Saaburus (Subaru cars badged/refaced to resemble a small Saab) and really screwed up when building a frame-body SUV and shoving a Saab badge onto it! How ignorant can you get about the brand, and how cynical can you be? GM.

    Suzuki, Isuzu, Opel, Vauxhall, Saab, Subaru.

    Thankfully, now Subaru are part-owned by a still competent company which is largely leaving unbroken unfixed, with regards to Subaru (and even having the humility to learn from them, to boot). This is Toyota; this is why I don’t fear that Toyota is the next GM.

    Suzuki is crippled, Isuzu is doing a “Reo” and hiding behind trucks (having gotten out of cars) and also having departed the important US market for their SUVs (all eggs in one basket = bad, especially when the basket then gets dropped).

    Yes, Isuzu and Subaru did share the Indiana plant; it would have been smarter had Isuzu and Suzuki merged way back when, and allowed Isuzu to concentrate on the truck end of the market, and Suzuki to concentrate on the car end of the market, yet share resources – but time marches forward; can’t go back with benefit of hind-sight.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    isuzu’s sole product is the ancient D-Max medium truck which is getting REAL long in the tooth (witness the 2-3 star ncap)

    they also have an SUV based on this

    the issue is that all of the marginal manufacturers are having a harder time than the majors

    what happened to Daihatsu? They are out of most markets. Proton is only hanging around in various markets due to the generous Malaysia government.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    My BIL picked up a 500$ Trooper with an I4 in it. He adjusted the valves and drove it for 5 yrs. It was a great beach buggy.

  • avatar
    Terry

    “In the 1960’s through 1973, Opel’s (German) cars were imported into the US by Buick dealers – replaced by Isuzu cars badged as Opels in 1974.”

    Menno, real Opels were sold by Buick dealers through and including the 1975 model year, 1976 being the 1st year for the “Opel By Isuzu” that came after. It might have gone better for GM had they used a larger Izuzu instead of the Opel Kadett-based Gemini. I remember GM’s advertisement for the Isuzu where is a 5-car(I think) comparison, the Isuzu came in second only to the VW Rabbit. GM beat their chest about taking second place–until VW grabbed the bull by the horns with an ad of their own which said..”Thanks GM!!” and turned it into an endorsement of their car by GM.
    “Rats!! Foiled again!!”

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    On the flip side, their other SUV was the Trooper model. A tall and awkward SUV on stilts that somehow managed to become . . well . . .

    …the badge-engineered Acura SLX, which was so poorly received IIRC that they had to throw a free ski vacation in with each one sold.

  • avatar
    commando1

    I’m surprised no one has come out with body kits for these things to turn them into pseudo-Hummers.

  • avatar
    wpaulson

    Let’s not forget the Trooper’s deplorable tendency to rollover. A young woman was exiting the interstate near where I live. As she was about the merge into traffic on the street below, she was cut off by another vehicle. She swerved in order to miss the vehicle, the Trooper rolled over, and she was killed.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    “Later still, GM decided to buy & ruin Saab, then buy into…”

    You know, I am the last to jump in and defend GM, but Saab was in a pretty bad state long before GM got ahold of them. Having owned a pre-GM Saab I gotta say it was one of the sorrier vehicles I have had. It was unreliable and had interior materials that make my winter beater 95 Saturn feel like a 3 series.

    And Isuzu went down when they got rid of Joe Isuzu as far as I am concerned.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    While Isuzu is more or less phoning it in for for the car market they are still quit strong in the light to medium commercial market. Their LCF truck is the Camry of the segment. The handful I have driven seemed well designed for their job of urban P&D.

  • avatar
    cnyguy

    I had a 1992 4 cylinder Trooper- next to a POS English car I was once cursed with, it was the most frustrating thing I ever owned. The good stuff was very good: it was great off-road or in deep snow (it snows a lot here), got excellent mileage, and was reliable as sin. The bad stuff was very bad: when something did break, the parts were outrageously expensive. The exhaust system (two pipes and one muffler) fell off every two years and cost $500 to replace. That was the cost for aftermarket parts: the dealer refused to stock OEM ($900!). Brakes were $600 all around (in 1995), the fuel pump died young ($500). These are all parts prices- I do my own repair work. The old ‘square’ Troopers were notorious rustbuckets- one day I noticed a little rust spotting on the back door, a week later it was a gaping hole. You could watch it rust. It was a nice trucklette, but I don’t miss it.

  • avatar
    BDB

    It blows my mind that these small to mid-size SUVs (Explorer, Blazer, Rodeo, Cherokee) were ever wildly popular as family cars. Cramped, thirsty, unsafe, and rollover-prone. Who in their right mind would abandon a minivan for that? Truly an example of “lifestyle” advertising triumphing over common sense.

    Their looks haven’t aged well, either.

  • avatar
    vandstra

    Remember the Amigo?

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Maintenance on their SUVs is expensive. Clutch replacement cost a friend 1600 dollars. Rubber timing belt has to be replaced and the parts alone were 175 dollars, 800 at a shop. The starter went bad and the exhaust system had to be removed to get to it. Broken studs and other problems turned into a 600 repair.

    I never knew anyone who called them reliable nor felt the repair costs justified their utility. They are great in the snow and mud, but as a daily driver forget it. Terrible gas mileage.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    The guys on Car Talk claimed that they knew more than one mechanic who put his kids through college solely from working on Isuzu Troopers.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Amazing. A phonebooth-on-wheels from the same company that brought us the original (1981-1989) Impulse/Piazza. Yes, it may have been a Chevette in an Italian suit (by Giugiaro), but my God what lines…

  • avatar
    hatsdomino1

    What about the Dodge Raider/Montero?

  • avatar
    rudiger

    One word says it all: VehiCROSS.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    Yesterday I was just behind a Rodeo and I thought it had been sometime that I had saw one on the road? It was in decent shape.

  • avatar
    cnyguy

    @BDB
    It blows my mind that these small to mid-size SUVs (Explorer, Blazer, Rodeo, Cherokee) were ever wildly popular as family cars. Cramped, thirsty, unsafe, and rollover-prone. Who in their right mind would abandon a minivan for that?

    Having had both, I can answer that: Minivans suck in snow and despite what anyone says are lousy tow vehicles. At the time I owned the Trooper, my job required me to go to some very hilly rural locations where I could expect deep snow or heavy ice. Ain’t no way a minivan is going through a foot or more of snow.

    The Trooper (being more truck than car) was good at towing our pop-up camper: a little winded on long hills, but not bad. Towing anything but a very light trailer with a minivan is a fools’ errand: FWD and a lot of weight on the rear axle can produce sudden loss-of-control problems. Minivan transmissions are notorious for trailer-towing caused failures.

    The Trooper never felt cramped and I never rolled it over.
    Fuel economy between my Trooper and Voyager was a wash.

    Different horses for different courses…

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Love my Trooper- 4cyl, 5 speed and will pull a house (in 4WD). And great gas mileage (in 2WD).
    Remember the commercial where Joe Isuzu catches up with the two execs on the Autobahn as they try to outrun him and he turns and says “Guten morgan” to them ? One turns to the other and says “I HATE Joe Isuzu”. LOL ;-]

  • avatar
    BDB

    Carguy–

    Fair enough for the snowbelt. But I lived in southern Virginia in the late ’90s and I remember seeing these things everywhere, and we’re lucky to get one snowstorm a year! Sometimes I saw a horse trailer or camper or something behind it, but it was rare. Usually it was taking kids to soccer practice. I just don’t get it.

    EDIT: When I said “cramped” I was talking about the Rodeos of the world, not the Troopers. There’s a much better justification for the large SUVs than the compact and mid-size ones, IMHO. They have enough utility to make up for the shortcomings.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Isuzu holds the honor of the #1 producer of diesel engines in the world. If you want a 4 cyl medium duty truck diesel it’ll be an Isuzu. They are a lot like Suzuki in that there is a lot of substance behind the scenes, especially as regards to N.A. markets. There’s a reason that G.M. got Isuzu to build the Duramax. They are probably fairly profitable without building a single vehicle. That’s just gravy.

  • avatar
    menno

    Terry, you’re right; the last real Opels were 1975, and the “Opel by Isuzu” came out in 1976.

    I remember that ad where VW came 1st, too.

    I also forgot to mention Daewoo which GM part-owned for awhile, let free, then (partially) bought up on the cheap after the Asian financial crisis.

    Yes, mkirk, I also had a pre-GM Saab and won’t go back. I called Saab the Amateur-mobile company after that car.

    My point was that GM didn’t make a mediocre car better; they left a mediocre car mediocre AND forgot who they were supposed to be selling them to. Surely it’d have been better to sell an excellent car, AS real Saabs, and not forget your core buyers….

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Talk about badge engineering:

    Isuzu Wizard (two-door called Isuzu MU) aka: Isuzu Rodeo, Honda Passport, Opel Frontera, Vauxhall Frontera, and Holden Frontera. It was also sold as the Chevrolet Frontera in Egypt and the Isuzu Frontier in South America.

    Isuzu Trooper aka: Isuzu Bighorn, Isuzu Trooper II (Pre-1989), Subaru Bighorn, Honda Horizon, Acura SLX, Chevrolet Trooper, Opel Monterey, Vauxhall Monterey, Holden Jackaroo and Holden Monterey.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    At 150k, besides regular maintenance, my ’01 Trooper has needed a starter ($$) and a transmission ($$$$, warranty). Otherwise, I love it – perfectly sized and comfortable.

    But, yes, Isuzu is yet another company GM fucked up.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    “But, yes, Isuzu is yet another company GM fucked up.- Dave.M”

    Too bad Isuzu has left the buildingNorth American market. Thanks, GM.

  • avatar
    441Zuke

    I had a friend with a 1996 rodeo and I coveted it. he on the other hand did not and burned out the brakes after he left the e- brake on…. what a sad story

  • avatar
    Syke

    I think it shows my age, but Vauxhall was sold by Pontiac dealers, not Oldsmobile. Not that they sold enough for anyone to notice. The big problem with the car (besides being the usual underpowered for America English saloon) was that it was an incredible rust bucket. On the rare occasion one actually shows up nowadays, Hemmings will usually do an article it.

    I still remember as a child being driven to my piano lessons past Johnstown’s Pontiac/Cadillac dealership with a small Vauxhall sign in the side window and maybe one car in the showroom.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    I always liked the looks of the Isuzu Trooper (the Rodeo and Amigo were always sort of blah to me) and would probably pick one up as a mud and swamp car if the price is right. Something about the roomy box exterior with the utilitarian but ergonomic interior speaks to me. Also, the rollover thing was way overhyped by Consumer Reports to the point that Isuzu actually won a court case stating that the magazine made comments with reckless disregard to the truth.

    hatsdomino1 – I had a 2002 Mitsubishi Montero and I loved it. Roomy, very reliable while I had it, comfortable, nice interior, nice looks on the outside, and very capable on or off road. I ended up trading it because my commute changed from 5 miles round trip to over 80, and the mileage wasn’t very good (plus, it recommended premium gas). Regular service was also expensive, even when I took it to a reputable local shop instead of the dealer. The final straw was when I found out how much replacement tires of the same size as the OEMs were. Looking back, I got out at a good time before the SUV price bust occured, but I would love to pick one up again now if I saw one with low miles for the right money.

  • avatar
    zaitcev

    The important thing to remember is that the rollover scare was a bullshit invented by lawers. A couple of years ago I saw a piece of soap Buick on its roof in my town, in a residential street. An old lady took a good turn at 30 mph. Did you see any Buicks with warning on sun visors recently?

  • avatar
    menno

    You’re right, Syke. Vauxhall cars were sold by Pontiac.

    Now I’m trying to recall what the heck GM tried to foist on the Oldsmobile dealers in the US (out of their foreign owned marques).

    Maybe nothing.

  • avatar
    wpaulson

    @ NulloModo: “… the rollover thing was way overhyped by Consumer Reports to the point that Isuzu actually won a court case stating that the magazine made comments with reckless disregard to the truth.”

    The rollover problem was real, as per the accident I described above. Top heavy vehicles tend to roll. It is simple physics.

    Also, Isuzu did not win the court case. NY Times 4/7/2000:
    A jury decided today that Consumer Reports magazine had not defamed and disparaged Isuzu Motors in an article that called the Isuzu Trooper unsafe because of a tendency to tip over during sharp turns. …
    Both sides claimed victory in the case. Consumers Union does not have to pay any of the $242 million in damages that Isuzu had demanded. But the Japanese automaker got some measure of vindication.
    “We went to court asking this jury to find that Isuzu was the victim of false statements, and the jury so found,” Christopher C. Spencer, one of the lawyers representing Isuzu, said after the verdict.
    Rhoda H. Karpatkin, the Consumers Union president, said, ”While we regret that the jurors did not find every one of the 17 published statements under consideration to be fully accurate, their verdict generally acknowledges the honesty of our testing and reporting staff and our belief in our procedures.”
    Consumer Reports had rated the 1995 and 1996 Isuzu Trooper ”not acceptable” in an October 1996 review, saying it had tended to tip over on two wheels in a test that simulated swerving to avoid an obstacle.
    Isuzu charged Consumers Union with product disparagement and defamation, arguing that it had essentially rigged the tests to produce an attention-grabbing story and to further its campaign to have the federal government mandate safety standards to reduce the potential of the vehicle to roll over.
    Consumers Union, which has never lost a disparagement case, maintained that it told the truth and that its tests were valid. But the group also argued that its statements were opinion, which cannot be proven true or false and which deserve protection under the right to free speech.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    I had a 2003 final generation I4 5-speed manual Rodeo, and it was an awesome truck. It had a very clean, roomy interior, luckily I found one with the rare-in-the-I4 power locks and windows, it looked like a truck, and was even decently quick. The mileage was very good.

    Unfortunately some idiot cut me off and it was totalled before I got to put enough miles on it to comment on the timing belt or other issues. The timing belt does apparently last longer on the manuals because the final drive is significantly taller.

    Some people may wonder why Honda would be willing to rebadge SUVs with the inconsistent quality of the Rodeo and Trooper, but it was actually a major step forward from this:

    http://www.hondaoldies.de/Korbmacher-Archiv/Honda/SUVs/Crossroad/discovery.htm

  • avatar
    twotone

    I had a 1991 Trooper II, four cylinder, 5 speed manual transmission. It ran forever, required little maintenance and got me through the worst blizzards in Denver’s history. Sold it five years later for close to what I paid for it. My per-mile cost was the lowest of any vehicle I owned. An ugly duckling that’s one of the best deals out there.

    Twotone

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Some funny comments here.

    I grew up in the 90’s in Northern Idaho. Mountain men. Not a lot of money (that has changed since CDA became a booming resort town for the uber-rich) for most of the folks in those parts.

    I had a few friends with the 1st gen Rodeos (I wanna say maybe 1992ish). Both 4 cylinder 5 speeds. A few others had the Trooper IIs, again, sticks and 4 cylinders. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE CARS WAS A TOTAL BEAST. You could not break those trucks. I think every Rodeo had at least 150,000 miles, and at least one of the Troopers had well over 200,000. I’ll never say the trucks were comfortable, safe, handled, stopped, went, or really did much of anything well other than just keep running and running and running and running and never getting stuck in snow mud or out camping in the mountains.

    I drove a Rodeo like that a few years ago. Stick. There is something kinda fun about old tanks like that. You feel like you can just bomb around town, and don’t notice the horrid steering or body roll or other pieces broken. You just notice the car has a million miles on it and the drivetrain just never breaks.

    Tanks.

  • avatar
    niky

    The Trooper was a strange one.

    I won’t comment on the rollover thing… a lot of mid-90’s SUVs were prone to this… but the engine… that wonderful, incredible, unreliable marvel of diesel technology called the 4JX1.

    It’s amazing that Mitsubishi’s reputation went down the toilet partially because of problems with the Mitsubishi Pajero… but despite making an absolute stinker in the form of the 4JX1 (powerful, efficient, and prone to eating lots and lots of O-rings), Isuzu’s rep as the go-to-guy for diesel technology remains untarnished.

    It’s also a shame Isuzu went from building what were genuinely desirable sports sedans and sports compacts (Isuzu Bellet up to the GM-rebadged Impulses) to offering only two or three products for non-commercial use.

  • avatar
    grimm

    I have to take exception to all the Isuzu bashing here… I have owned a lot of Isuzus (and more than a few Jeeps Land Rovers and Toyotas) and I find that they compare very favorably to ANYTHING by any other manufacturer of the same vintage. A mid 90’s Trooper with 150K miles on it will generally drive like a car with 50K miles…. Where as anything by any of the competitors (with the possible exception of Toyota) with 150K miles generally feels like it should have been retired 50K miles ago…Land rover? Please! Parts actually break off in your hand as you try to use them! A grand Cherokee with 100K seems like it will disintegrate at any moment! The cacophony of cheap plastic panels vibrating every time you hit a bump in the road is deafening! Regarding Toyotas…. Well they’re fine, but show me toyota 6cyl engine with 150K miles on it and I’ll show you an engine that has (at the least) had to have the top end rebuilt… and that’s just not that great. I honestly don’t understand the fervor with which people gush over toyotas… I have three different toyota trucks, and they are no more reliable, and not nearly as nice (fit and finish, and quality of materials-wise) as the many Isuzus that I have owned over the years…

    Parts for Isuzus are no more expensive than parts for any other imported brand. I can go to the local Schucks and get a starter motor for an Isuzu for around $100… (just like a toyota)

    rudiger :
    What exactly are you inferring about the Vehicross? Apparently saying one word does NOT say it all!

    Don’t get me started ranting about how GM screwed up Saab! Suffice to say I’m so very happy that GM is FINALLY getting their just deserves!

  • avatar
    vento97

    Here’s a GM slogan I remember:

    “No one sweats the details like GM”

    Yeah, right….

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    wpaulson – Fair enough, I suppose you could call the case a draw, as both Isuzu and CR won some of their points. CR also had a similar situation with Suzuki regarding the Samurai, again a suit was brought dur to what Suzuki considered sensationalist statements, although that time they settled it out of court.

    I think the big point is that, like you said, any vehicle with a high center of gravity is more likely to roll over, yet CR occasionally decides to single out a paricular model, which may or may not have a slightly higher chance of rolling than the norm, and make it sound like it is a deathtrap.

    Recently I purchased their used car buying guide (have to stay on top of what customers might be reading) and although their review of the Toyota Tacoma calls it a ‘reliable but unpleasant workhorse’, notes that certain models ‘tipped up in NHTSA rollover tests’, and that the ‘ride is stiff and driving position uncomfortable’ it still gets one of their ‘good bet’ recommendations while other compact pickups with similar reliability records and without as many downsides regarding ride and comfort do not get the recommendation. I realize that CR is non-profit and in theory should be objective, but time and time again it seems like certain preconceived notions and opinions on their staff color the reviews.

  • avatar
    minion444

    hmmm. I had a trooper. It was a trooper. 4 years, 60k miles. It never broke down and never needed anything but basic maintenance. It was much better than our current rusting.leaking dodge durango that has 60k and it feels and drives like it is 125k

    Izuzu always was a bit odd, their cars were really bad. But had suspensions by LOTUS! Yeah right.

  • avatar
    Johnson Schwanz

    I own a 1997 Honda Passport, and it has been more reliable than my 2002 Honda Accord Coupe.

    As a matter of fact, my Passport/Rodeo has 208,000 miles – all put on by me. It’s still in impeccable shape for it’s age, still gets compliments, and while slow, is perfect for cruising around the city.

  • avatar
    kericf

    I own a 98 Rodeo 4×4 and the thing has been really reliable. About 215k miles on the ODO. I did have an ABS light come on but it turned out to just be a sensor, probably a result of driving through some high water. It is not comfortable, it rides like a truck because that’s what it is, the seats are hard as a rock, the mileage is so-so but consistent (about 18 to 20 mpg no matter where I drive it), but it is just fun to drive. I have no explanation for why, it just is. And everyone that has ever driven one has said the same thing. I had to pry it out of my wife’s hands when she had to drive it for a week, an old girlfriend in college cried for days when the mailman totaled hers (she never let me drive it either), the woman I bought mine from asked me to sell it back to her a few years after I bought it. There is no reason they are as appealing as they actually are, they just are to people that have driven them. I have read horror stories by people online about them, but my experience has been nothing but good. Plus they are dirt cheap because resale is and always has been terrible on Isuzus (even before they bailed on the US). You buy them to run into the ground, and parts you can get from autoparts stores are reasonable, but dealer parts are pricy. I don’t think any more so than most companies though.

  • avatar
    threeer

    One of my engineering professors had an old Trooper II (this goes back into the late 80’s)…man, did I love that brick on wheels. dark blue, basic cloth interior. We used it alot for departmental events, as we could load it up with just about anything and not worry about it. Every now and then I see one of them on the road and have to smile…whatever happened to basic, simple, reliable vehicles like this?

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I remember a fellow co-worker with the Honda version of this thing during the 90’s. With less than 80K miles they litterally couldn’t wait to get rid of it. The seats were uncomfortable, it rode like primitive truck and was noisy. It was litterally falling apart with everything from A/C failure, ABS computer failure to electrical gremlins to rust holes in the body and front end issues galore. The funny part is that they actually though they were buying a Honda at the time until I educated them.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    I have 2 of the last cars made by Isuzu. Both Impulses, one XS and one RS.

    They handle very well. And at 130K miles are still very reliable.

    I don’t understood what you got, a Trooper II or a Rodeo?

    First Rodeos and some Trooper II had GM’s 3.1 V6. After I think 1992-3, they got an Isuzu SOHC or DOHC 24V 3.2lts V6, WAY more powerful.

    The Trooper has diffent names according to market:
    Isuzu Trooper
    Holden Jackaroo
    Opel Monterey
    Subaru Bighorn
    Vauxhall Monterey
    Holden Monterey
    Isuzu Trooper II
    Caribe 442 (Venezuela)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isuzu_Trooper

  • avatar
    pauldun170

    We had a 99 Rodeo LS for 7 years.
    At the time, it was the few SUVs with actual balls.

    Our the 3.2 Isuzu motor and the 4 spd. Up to 60MPH it had plenty of oomph but was winded past that. The Brakes were horrid off the dealer floor but our mechanic friend resurfaced the rotors and it stop fine after that. The handling was, uh , present. The motor downed a quart every 500 miles if the PCV valve had the slightest bit of age to it. Otherwise it returned 17-18mpg regular driving round town.

    You could get the V6 with a stick.
    Automatically any fault with the truck is erased for the years that applied.

    It was good honest truck that never let us down. It didn’t pretend to be a family vehicle. It was just a good solid truck. It saw the dealer twice for recall stuff.

    Unfortunately a State Trooper decided he was to good to safely run a red light and the truck was totaled.

    Replaced it with a Mazda6 wagon.

  • avatar
    pauldun170

    CR blows. They should stick to reliability.

  • avatar
    dcdriver

    I used to own a 1998 Rodeo. I really miss that car. It did give me a few problems however, one was very bizarre (driver side door wouldn’t stay closed, drove it to the shop with left hand holding the door “closed” and right hand on the wheel)– had that fixed, but for the most part it drove fine and I liked the way it looked. It looked like an SUV should look. It was great in snow with the 4wd.

    I still see a ton of Rodeo’s on the road. I still see quite a few Trooper’s as well. I saw one of those Acura SLX’s on the road not too long ago, I never even knew such a model existed, I really thought the guy just put some Acura badges and lettering on a Trooper. Then I googled Acura SLX and there it was, I never heard of it nor seen one before.

  • avatar
    grimm

    Alright! I’m glad to see that there are at least some people who appreciate their well-built and reliable old Isuzus!

    The Vehicross was/is an awesome vehicle. Truely ahead of it time…. Here it is ten years after its creation and I constantly have people approach me to ask “what new car this is?” Crossover vehicles seem to be popular right now but 10yrs ago people just weren’t ready yet I guess? Just didn’t grasp the concept? C’mon people!…. Vehi- Cross?….. Now Toyota is selling thousands of that new landcruiser? You’ve got to be kidding me!? It’s the same idea (actually not near as nice to drive) as the Vehicross but it looks ridiculous. Like it’s made out of Lego!

    Speaking of ridiculous…. Consumer Reports! Ugh! Why they chose to vilify Troopers for having a high center of gravity (just like every other high profile vehicle) is beyond me, but it sure seemed to be unfairly biased against Isuzu! As was proven in court… When they were forced to retract 60% of their statements regarding the matter…. well that proves that they weren’t playing a strait game! Doesn’t it? I remember reading the write-up against the Samurai…. The article started with one of the CR senior staffers describing his weekend trip to a relatives place where he borrowed said relatives brand new Samurai for a test drive just out of curiosity… Well he proceeded to take the little Sammy down a deeply rutted and steep (there were pictures) slope, where the moron managed to put the poor truck on its side…. Suddenly Mr bigshot CR is looking like an ass in front of his friends and family… To save face, he sets about to “prove” that the Samurai is unstable, and that it wasn’t him who was at fault…….Tell me this wasn’t a personal vendetta! Well, after reading that article CR lost ALL credibility in my mind, and I have never cared a whit about their testing procedures or opinions! When their condemnation of the Trooper hit the news I was able to dismiss it for the crap that it was. I owned a Trooper II at the time, and was well aware that I could put it on its side any time I did something really foolish! That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the vehicle. It’s up to the driver to drive appropriately to that vehicle which they chose to drive. Also to accept the fact that, in an emergency situation, a tall heavy vehicle might tip over! This is just basic physics! and Consumer Reports is basically just like any other magazine… They need sensationalism to sell copies, or they go out of business…..

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