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New Car/Review

1997 Isuzu Trooper

by Aaron Cooper

Isuzu

SEE ALSO: Izuzu Buyer's Guide

The purchase of a new luxury four-wheel drive vehicle should be carefully considered. For the price range nearing forty grand, there are a plethora of more refined vehicles that youíll probably be happier with in the long run. The Nissan Pathfinder and Jeep Cherokee offer equally amounts of ruggedness at a better value. While the Toyota Land Cruiser offers better engineering and off-road capabilities.

Our test Trooper here at The Auto Channel came fully equipped with air, an automatic transmission, and high-grade stereo. Along with these necessities, the Trooper came with leather seating and a digital compass mounted above the windshield.

Upon entering the Trooper for the first time you canít help notice the high quality feel of the interior. Even the turn signal feels as if itís been treated with Teflon. The drivers seat is extremely comfortable, although the armrest on the right-hand side of the captains chair isnít complemented by a armrest on the left-hand side. Instead, there is an indentation in the door that doesnít seem to match its counterpart.

The engine in the Trooper is extremely smooth during idle. The automatic transmission isnít quite as refined. Shifting from park to drive takes concentration as the shifter tries to slip past drive into third gear. This is complicated by the fact that there is no indicators of what gear you are in near the dash. Once on the road, shifts are abrupt and sudden. Visibility is excellent except from the rear. The outboard mounted rear tire robs the Trooper of needed rear visibility.

Behind the wheel of the Trooper youíll be reminded that the luxurious interior cannot hide the fact that youíre driving a large four-wheel drive. The ride is bumpy and the rear suspension tends to wobble and drift on uneven pavement. Added to this is the strange movement of the front passenger seat. Even when driving on smooth roads it seemed to shake and vibrate. This is either due to manufacturing defect or poor structural integrity (a common problem with cars in this class). Handling is uninspiring, and the tire squeal when turning at fairly low speeds. A bonus however is the Trooperís ability to soak up large bumps and its commanding view above traffic.

The climate control system is easy to operate. The driver and front passenger seats are heated, and the air-conditioning will shower you with cold air even on the hottest days. One notable except is that the air-conditioner loses much of its power when the trooper accelerates. Perhaps this V6 engine needs all the help it can get to move this lofty vehicle?

Performance ran with the pact. The Trooper wonít win any races, but youíll be able to merge with traffic with the same confidence as you would if you were driving an Honda Accord. The comfortable seats and good visibility make the Trooper an outstanding long-distance companion. The same isnít true for short trips around town however. The Troopers tight steering make navigating around city traffic fatiguing.

If youíre interested in buying a Trooper, I suggest you look closely at itís competition. Although the Trooper excels in many key categories, many other cars offer the virtues and better value without any drawbacks.