People like to say “they don’t make ‘em like that anymore,” and when it comes to Isuzus today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Trooper, they don’t make ‘em at all. Let’s see if this old luxury SUV from a defunct car brand not known for luxury can still make its asking price.
Okay people, some wild news—I have discovered that I have the ability to predict the future! It’s amazing and I am humbled by the honor and the responsibility I have wielding this remarkable power.
Oh, I should caution that this prognostication ability is singularly limited to the determination of the vote on yesterday’s custom turbocharged 2000 Honda CR-V and it’s $11,500 price. I guess I should have pointed that out, to begin with.
Regardless, I was certain that CR-V would garner a near-unanimous Crack Pipe loss, and with 95 percent of you voting it so, I feel I was eerily prescient in my expectation. Next up I see… a Reuben on rye for lunch. Oh my god, I’m amazing!
Not quite as amazing, but still pretty interesting is this 1996 Isuzu Trooper SE. I’ve been looking at Range Rovers of late since the original models are climbing back up in value after having bottomed out a few years back. At the same time, I’ve been looking for a poorly thought out investment opportunity for my family’s emergency fund. The timing felt right and the money’s just sitting there.
Unfortunately, that train has left the station—late, as expected—with decent condition first-gen editions already placed well out of my budget. That got me thinking, what do Isuzu Troopers go for these days? After all, that’s a right-sized and capable sport utility with pretensions of luxury and Weebles Wobble handling, it should be a similar, and probably cheaper, experience.
Well, we’ll get to that second part in a bit. First off, however, let’s talk about this 172,000-mile example and see how it stacks up, fancy-wise.
The second-generation Trooper hit U.S. shores in late 1991. It represented a major redesign over its more agrarian predecessor, keeping only that model’s name and its clever asymmetrical rear door design. The new Trooper also moved significantly upscale, featuring painted bumpers and rocker moldings, a rounded and more polished body design, and an interior that, while perhaps not Range Rover-level in its appointments, was still a pretty nice place to hang out. Hell, it was even good enough for Honda to rebrand it and shill as an Acura.
This one has all that and, as the ad claims, a fairly new transmission. It also has a bit of interesting history. That involves the truck having three owners, the second of which did the transmission switcheroo, and then chose to… not drive it. Apparently it sat in dry dock, getting started monthly to move the grease and keep the peace for almost six years. At the end of that relegation to relaxation, it was pulled out, dusted off, and handed over to its present owner.
Since then it’s had some miles added, and its rough road sensor replaced which eliminated a recurring CEL. Now it supposedly “runs and drives very nicely.” Under the hood sits a 190 horsepower 3.2-litre V6 and that is claimed to have seen regular maintenance including a timing belt replacement. Behind that is the four-speed automatic replaced in 2014, which feeds a part-time 4WD system through a two-speed transfer case. Everything is said to work as it should.
The bodywork presents in Fir Green Metallic with contrasting champaign-hued rockers and arches. The seller describes it as a “10-foot” truck and includes pics of some dings and scratches in the body. Nothing’s too egregious though, and both top and bottom look to be free of any rot. The factory alloys appear serviceable as well and bracket some hefty side steps for getting in and out.
Once in, you’ll find lots of leather although the upholstery in front seems to have seen better days. The seller’s note about the driver’s seat feeling “loose” is a bit disconcerting. Other issues evident here include a seat heater lamp that doesn’t go on and a crack in the windscreen. There’s also a hesitation upon launch that could indicate… well, a number of things. Perhaps making up for all that, the brake pedal helpfully has “BRAKE” molded into it just in case you are new to driving.
Other than that, it’s all pretty nice, and as I noted, these Troopers do have a presence that could give the old Range Rover a run for their money. That being said, nobody really likes the Troopers all that much. You almost never see really nice ones offered up for sale, and the ones that are on the market typically go for pocket change. Hell, people are even bringing fancy-pants versions over from Japan to fill an imagined high-end Trooper market, as though such a thing exists.
This one looks to be a solid contender and kudos to the seller for what appears to be an honest and comprehensively detailed ad. Another area where we might fete the present owner is in his pricing acumen. He’s asking $2,400 for this clean-title and currently smog-certified SE, and it’s now time for you to vote on that and his chances of getting it.
What do you think, is this Trooper worth that $2,400 asking? Or, is this bargain luxury SUV too old—and too Isuzu—to ask that much?
H/T to Don G. for the hookup!
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