My bosses here are very good to me, and they give me more than enough leeway to be myself when I write these articles. The opinions that I spray around are not necessarily those of the company, but they let me speak my piece, which is cool.
Now that I have laid down the necessary disclaimer, I can state that I tend to write about cars that are made by American companies. I know that there is no such thing as a true American-made vehicle these days, but I grew up in a town that had a big General Motors presence, and it sticks with me to this day.
Anyway, I am going to deviate from the norm on this day and look at a defunct foreign vehicle that I have some affection for, because I used to own one, and it brings back some good memories.
Back in the 1980s I was doing a lot of hiking and such and I wanted a four-wheel drive kind of thing that had a bit of room. Today they call these cars sport utility vehicles, but I don’t think the term had been coined in those days.
I looked around—price was an issue—and, after weighing my options, I ultimately settled on an Isuzu Trooper. The car had the rugged look, it could get you where you needed to go, and the price was in line with my budget.
Isuzu introduced the first generation Trooper for the 1981 model year, and you had the choice of a three-door or a five-door. The initial engine offering was a 2-liter, but in 1986 they rolled out the 2.3-liter 4ZD1 four-cylinder that was rated at a not-so-astonishing 110 horsepower (this is the engine my car had).
The four-cylinder aspect was cool, because you had enough power to go off-road, but the gas mileage was on point. Plus, the space inside the vehicle was ample; there was much more room than you would expect, given the fact that it was a four-cylinder.
In retrospect, the Isuzu Trooper was a successful car. The first generation lasted through the 1991 model year, and there was a second generation that held on for another decade.
The Trooper fell by the wayside in 2002, but I for one will always remember the vehicle as a solid, dependable, and economical source of transportation.