In 1981, the Japanese automaker Isuzu launched a mid-sized SUV named the Isuzu Trooper. It was marketed in many countries under different names such as Isuzu Trooper, Isuzu Bighorn, Isuzu Trooper II, Subaru Bighorn, Honda Horizon, Opel/Vauxhall Monterey, Holden Jackaroo, Caribe 442, Acura SLX, Chevrolet Trooper and Holden Monterey.
The Isuzu Trooper remained in production for two generation, i.e. from 1981 to 2005. After the 2005 model, Isuzu discontinued its exports. The Trooper started its life as a basic and slightly less powerful on- and off-road vehicle. It featured a 4-cylinder motor and a 5-speed manual transmission as well as a part time 4-wheel drive. The Trooper was launched with an option of power windows, air-conditioning and a V6 engine. As for second generation model, it was available both as 2-wheel drive and all-wheel drive forms.
First Generation (1981–1991)
The first generation Trooper was launched in 1980 as 1981 model year. It was introduced as a 3- or 5-door SUV. It featured a solid rear axle and an independent suspension at front. It was launched in Japanese market under the ‘Isuzu Rodeo Bighorn’ nameplate. However, the ‘Rodeo’ moniker was discontinued later. The vehicle was launched with two engine options, i.e. a 2.0-L gasoline and a 2.2-L diesel engine. IT featured both Aisin manual-locking and Isuzu’s auto-locking hubs. A three-position shifter next to the transmission shifter was used to engage the four-wheel drive system.
The Trooper lacked a front differential which means that when it was in 4-wheel drive modem the front wheels of the Trooper remained turning all the time, so offered maximum traction. It is for this reason, Trooper came with a warning that four-wheel mode shouldn’t be employed unless on soft substrate surfaces, e.g. sand or snow.
Isuzu introduced a 2.3-L engine with 110 hp (82 kW; 112 PS) in 1986 that offered a reasonable power boost over engines offered previously.
Second Generation (1991–2005)
The second generation Trooper was launched as the 1992 model year in 1991. It was entirely a redesigned model by Isuzu who wanted to compete with the prevailing market of SUVs. This redesigned version was larger, powerful as well as luxurious. The second generation Trooper was powered by a 3.2-L SOHC petrol engine delivering 175 hp (130 kW; 177 PS) as well as a 3.2-L DOHC engine with 190 hp (142 kW; 193 PS). An upgraded 3.2-L SOHC version of was released in 1996 boosting the power to 190 hp (142 kW; 193 PS). Part-time four-wheel drive system was offered in a good number of models and needed to stop the vehicle so as to employ or disemploy the front axle. For the SE Limited Trooper (1996), shift on the fly engagement was introduced.
In Philippines, a Trooper with a 3.0-L 16-valve 4JX1-TC engine with an output of 157 hp (117 kW; 159 PS) was offered from 2002 model up to the 2005 model year. It was sold as Skyroof Edition. This rear-wheel drive vehicle came with features like ABS, LSD, a billet type radiator grille and a large power moonroof.