1996 Isuzu Trooper

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1996 Isuzu Trooper
Available in 4 styles:  Trooper S-PEP shown
Asking Price Range
$1,393–$4,085
Estimated MPG

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chicagotribune.com
The Isuzu Trooper is not your father's Oldsmobile, but it came close.

When Olds was looking for a sport-utility vehicle to call its own rather than continuing to share the Blazer platform with Chevrolet, it sought out Isuzu.

Isuzu produces the compact Rodeo sport-ute, one of the best of that breed, so Olds figured it might do well to join forces with Isuzu to provide it with a sport-utility.

But rather than a version of the compact Rodeo, Olds considered a version of the much larger Isuzu Trooper.

Currency fluctuations being as they may, the yen went wild against the dollar and an Olds Trooper became an expensive proposition--much more costly than an Olds Blazer named Bravada.

So Olds went the Blazer route and Isuzu found a customer in Honda, which opted to enter the luxury sport-ute market quickly by having Isuzu tinker with the Trooper to produce a leather rendition called the Acura SLX for Honda's luxury division.

After testing the Acura SLX and the Isuzu Trooper, we can safely say that Olds made a wise decision. Rodeo is a wonder machine. Trooper is a trouper in that it that plods along.

We tested the top-of-the-line 1996 Trooper SE with four-wheel-drive.

It's a big machine--a giant, in fact. In the parking lot, it seems to block the sun. That's one of its problems. It stands tall and you feel the height behind the wheel when taking a sharp corner or turn. Do so gingerly because the machine feels top heavy.

The 3.2-liter, 190-horsepower, V-6 comes up short in power and fuel economy. Resolve to be passed more than you pass. Sadly, usually when an engine sacrifices performance, it atones with an above-average fuel-economy rating. The Trooper SE is rated at 15 miles per gallon city/18 m.p.g. highway. That's not atonement.

On the plus side, the availability of four-wheel drive means all-season motoring. And the novel swing-out rear doors are functional. The wide left-side door has a small right-side companion. You can slip 2x4s or a ladder in one door and close the other. Nice touch--except that the left-side door requires you to pull a metal bar near the hinge to close, raising the risk of pinched and/or dirty fingers.

The center console has built-in dual cupholders that serve as convenient change holders for the tollway.

Base price is $38,500. Standard equipment in the SE includes leather, power-heated seats; fender flares with mud flaps; four-wheel anti-lock brakes; power moonroof with sunshade; limited slip differential; and aluminum wheels, along with dual air bags.

>> 1996 Isuzu Trooper SE
Wheelbase: 108.7 inches Length: 178.9 inches Engine: 3.2-liter, 190-h.p., V-6 Transmission: 4-speed automatic EPA mileage: 15 m.p.g. city/18 m.p.g. highway Base pr ice: $38,500 Price as tested: $41,030. Includes $1,000 for air conditioning; $570 for power windows/door locks; $270 cruise control; $150 for AM/FM stereo with cassette and six speakers; $300 for split reclining rear seat; $30 for visor mirrors, illuminated on passenger side; and $210 for power outside mirrors with defogger (you can order all these items in a preferred equipment package at a $1,000 discount). Add $445 for freight. Pluses: Big hauler with 4WD off-road or snowy-road security. Swing-out rear doors allow you to haul a ladder more easily than with a hatchlid. Roomy interior. Minuses: Feels top heavy in corners. Mileage is nothing to write home about unless you write to Amoco. Styling a bit bleak. The V-6 could use some muscle. >>

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Certain specifications, prices and equipment data have been provided under license from Chrome Data Solutions ("Chrome Data"). ©2013 Chrome Data Solutions, LP. All Rights Reserved. This information is supplied for personal use only and may not be used for any commercial purpose whatsoever without the express written consent of Chrome Data. Chrome Data makes no guarantee or warranty, either expressed or implied, including without limitation any warranty of merchantability or fitness for particular purpose, with respect to the data presented here. All specifications, prices and equipment are subject to change without notice.