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The Isuzu Trooper was a mid-size SUV produced by the Japanesemarker automaker Isuzu between 1981 and 2005. It was exported worldwide as the Isuzu Bighorn, Isuzu Trooper, Isuzu Trooper II , Isuzu Caribe 442, Acura SLX, Chevrolet Trooper, Subaru Bighorn, Honda Horizon, Opel/Vauxhall Monterey, Holden Jackaroo, and Holden Monterey.

There were two generations of Trooper, 1981-1991 and 1992-2005, after which Isuzu ceased exporting the model. It began production as a rather basic and somewhat underpowered on- and off-road vehicle, offered only with 4 cylinder motor, 5 speed manual transmission, and part-time four-wheel drive. The first generation evolved to add both amenities and luxuries, including optional air-conditioning, power windows, and a more powerful V6 engine. The second generation was more refined yet, available in two-wheel drive as well as four.

First generation

The first generation Trooper was available as a 2 or 4 door, with a solid 4.555:1 rear axle and an independent front suspension. Early engines included 2.0 L 1.9 L and a 2.2 L diesel, lightly powered even by early 1980s standards for the vehicle's empty weight. The four-wheel drive system was engaged by operating a three-position shifter adjacent to the transmission shifter. Both Aisin manual-locking and Isuzu's own auto-locking hubs were employed. In 1986, Isuzu introduced a 2.3 L engine, regarded as an improvement over the previous engines.

In 1987 Isuzu introduced a 2.6 L (4ZE1) V-tech fuel-injected engine. An optional General Motors 2.8 L pushrod V6) borrowed from the Chevrolet S-10 pickup was also available. Manual transmission equipped models had a gear driven transfer case with a 2.28:1 low range ratio; models equipped with the 2.6 L four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission had a 2.66:1 low range transfer case. Later first-generation models offered an optional four-speed automatic transmission. . Models from 1988-1991 were equipped live rear axles and 4-wheel disc brakes. Also new in 1987 were rectangular headlights.

Overseas model engines not released in the United Statesmarker included the Isuzu C223 (2.23 litre), C223T (turbocharged 2.23 litre) and in the late 80's turbocharged 4JB1-T engine (2.8 L diesel straight-4 engines.

First generation Trooper (rear)

In 1989 only, a short wheelbase (90") Isuzu Trooper was imported to the US market as the Trooper. All of these short wheelbase Troopers were equipped with 2.6 L fuel injected 4-cyl engines, 4.77:1 differential gears and 31"x10.5 tires mounted on 15"x7" aluminium alloy "snowflake" pattern wheels. Automatic and manual transmissions were offered.

In Central America Troopers were offered with removable roofs and a higher wheel clearance. Powertrain options included the Isuzu 2.8 L turbo diesel.

Second generation

In 1991 Isuzu completely the redesigned Trooper to keep pace with changes in the SUV marketplace, making it larger, more powerful, and more luxurious. These 5,500 lb. vehicles used a 3.2 L single overhead cam (SOHC), with an available 3.2 L dual overhead cam (DOHC) rated at . A SOHC 3.2 L engine producing was introduced in 1996, replacing the prior engines. Most models still used a part-time four-wheel drive system, which required stopping the vehicle to engage and disengage the front axle. Starting with the 1996 SE Limited Troopers came with shift on the fly engagement.

From 1992, the UBS Series ("Holden Jackaroo", as it is known in Australia) was available with a pushrod overhead valve (OHV) 3.1 L intercooled turbodiesel (designated 4JG2) producing at 3600 rpm, and at 2000 rpm. It was offered as an alternative to the 3.2 L petrol, as a more rugged and fuel-efficient option for towing and heavy-duty operation. The diesel-powered Jackaroo was only available with a five-speed manual transmission and Aisin manually locking front hubs coupled to the reliable turbodiesel. The same engine was also available in the U.K.marker and other markets with a toothed rubber belt-driven overhead camshaft, which developed slightly more power. After 1998, and the introduction of the 4JX1 3.0 L diesel engine, a four-speed automatic transmission was made available in addition to the five speed manual transmission. RFH.

During this period, Isuzu and Honda had a working arrangement that allowed Honda to sell a rebadged Trooper. In Japanmarker it was known as the Honda Horizon from 1994-1999, and as the Acura SLX in the United Statesmarker from 1996-1999.

2000-2002 Isuzu Trooper turbo-diesel (Europe)
in 1998, Troopers in the US were equipped with a DOHC 3.5  L engine producing . European and Asian buyers could opt for the diesel engine option of the 4JG2 3.1 L (later superseded by the more problematic 4JX1 3.0 L). A Borg-Warner Torque on Demand All Wheel Drivesystem was introduced, along with freshened styling. The grille was redesigned again for the 2000 model year.

Transmission options included a five-speed manual transmission and electronically controlled 4L30E four-speed automatic fitted with both a "power" shift feature allowing the gearbox to take better advantage of the engine's power and a "winter" mode permitting third gear starts for added stability in slippery conditions. The 2000 to 2002 Trooper included a feature called "Grade Logic" which allowed the transmission to automatically downshift on steep grades in order to slow the vehicle down.

The suspension consisted of a fully independent torsion bar front suspension, and a multilink coil sprung rear suspension integrated with a solid rear axle.

The Trooper LS and S models offered cargo space, whle Limited models 112.3.

While US-spec Troopers came only in the 5-door, 5 seat models, in Europe and the UK 7 seat and 3-door versions were offered. Optional on all models was a rear limited slip differential.

In 2003, the Trooper was discontinued in the United States in favor of the smaller Axiom and the larger GM-produced Isuzu Ascender, a re-badged GMC Envoy.

A Trooper with the 16-valve 3.0 liter 4JX1-TC engine was sold in the Philippines from 2002 until model year 2005. Known as the Skyroof Edition, it came in a rear wheel drive configuration, with ABS, LSD, a billet type radiator grille, and large power moonroof. are standard. It was luxuriously appointed inside, with standard leather seats, wood trim and a VCD entertainment system, and was succeeded by the Isuzu Alterra.


Consumer reports

The second generation Trooper received some negative press in the United States when the 1995-1997 models were rated "Not Acceptable" by Consumer Reports for their tendency to roll over during testing. In a lawsuit brought by Isuzu against Consumers Union, the court found that some of the magazine's statements showed a "reckless disregard" for the truth. The court found in favor for Isuzu on 60% of the claims in the suit. Ultimately, however, many of Isuzu's other major allegations (including negative statements, test doctoring, and stunt driving) were dismissed by the jury, and the lawsuit favored Consumers Union.

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