Posts Tagged ‘4L30-E’

Test Drive: 2002 Isuzu Trooper Limited

On February 4, 2012, I test drove a 2002 Isuzu Trooper Limited at Wheels & Deals Auto in Norco, California. The exterior is Alpine White with a beige leather interior. The SUV has 110,000 miles with an asking price of $5,999. The Isuzu Trooper Limited has a 3.5 liter DOHC V6 engine that produces 215 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm and 230 lb-ft or torque @ 3,000 rpm. The engine’s codename is 6VE1. The Transmission is a GM 4L30-E four speed automatic with standard four wheel drive. The Isuzu Troopers were some of the most popular off-road vehicles in the world, competing with Land Rovers, Toyota Land Cruisers, Nissan X-trails, Mitsubishi Monteros, and others. Along with the Trooper, Isuzu has built other vehicles identical to them, but under different nameplates. One example that I have on this site is the Acura SLX which I have test driven in January. The following is a list of vehicles based from the second generation Trooper:
• Acura SLX (North America)
• Chevrolet Trooper (South America)
• Holden Jackaroo (Australia)
• Holden Monterey (Australia)
• Honda Horizon (Japan)
• Isuzu Bighorn (Japan)
• Opel Monterey (Europe)
• Subaru Bighorn (Japan)
• Vauxhall Monterey (United Kingdom)
There were also two door versions of some of these vehicles outside of North America. The second generation Trooper based SUVs have been produced from 1991-2005. The 6VE1 V6 engines were used to power all North American Troopers starting in 1998; replacing the 3.2 liter 6VD1 V6 motors. In other parts of the world, 3.0 liter and 3.1 liter four cylinder diesel engines were offered. The Isuzu Troopers were not well loved by everybody. Consumers were concerned because of the vehicles’ tendencies to roll over. The vehicles also have poor fuel economy ratings for six cylinder engines with an EPA rating of 14 city and 18 highway. I personally don’t trust the EPA, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they got as low as 12 mpg on average. Sales of the vehicles went down overtime as a result of both. The Isuzu Trooper Limited did make at least two appearances in kids’ movies that I know of. There was a burgundy Trooper with gold emblems seen in “Cats & Dogs” and a black and tan two-tone one in Spy Kids. 2002 was the last model year for the Trooper in the United States. Isuzu’s U.S. downfall started around the same time. The Trooper’s successor, the Ascender, was a huge failure because it was really a rebadged GMT360 Chevrolet Trailblazer and GMC Envoy (2002-2009). Isuzu also introduced a new model for 2002 called the Axiom, which sold poorly. In 2004, Isuzu dropped both the Axiom and their bestselling vehicle the Rodeo. From 2006 to 2008, Isuzu produced compact pickups based from the Chevrolet Colorados and GMC Canyons called the I-Series (I-280, I-290, I-350 and I-370). In January 2009, Isuzu quit building passenger vehicles for the United States. Today, the most common Isuzus seen in The United States are the Rodeos. Troopers aren’t as common as they likely once were and there isn’t a strong demand for them anymore. Now let’s get back to the test drive.
When I arrived at Wheels and Deals I didn’t think that I’d get an opportunity to test drive the Trooper because it was blocked by three cars in front of it. The SUV was located on the edge of the lot. Behind it was the curb which divided the dealer lot from a Goodwill parking lot. I walked on the lot telling them that I wanted to look at the white Isuzu Trooper. They gave me the key to start it up. When I started the car I tested all the mechanical functions. Everything worked with absolutely no faults whatsoever. There was a button to push that would automatically fold the mirrors, and that is convenient to have in case if you’re in a tight spot or if you’re concerned about something hitting them when parked. The leather interior was very luxurious and clean. It was nicer that I would have expected from Isuzu. Even though it doesn’t have a panoramic sunroof, the sunroof was longer that what I expected in the car. I then walked around the Trooper to look for body damage. There were just some scratches on the passenger doors. This SUV was 90% damage free. I thought the white color was glossy and flawless, but it just wouldn’t suit me at all. It makes the Trooper look more feminine-like. It would give people the impression that I am a wanna-be soccer mom or housewife. I opened the back doors of the Trooper to see how much cargo room there was. When I was done I couldn’t close the big door for some reason. I asked a salesman if he knew what was wrong. He had to lift one of the lower door hinges in order to close it. I then asked him if it was possible to take it for a test drive. He said he would let me, but that he would have to back the car out of the lot by jumping the curb into the Goodwill parking lot. There was a Nissan 300ZX in the parking spot behind the Trooper and it had a dead battery. Jumper cables were used to start the car. After it was moved the salesman got into the Trooper and I had to guide him between two parking poles and a parking sign. It was a tight squeeze and the front left tire tapped the parking sign. The salesman successfully hopped the curb into the parking lot. He didn’t check my driver’s license and he did not go with me on the test drive.
I turned right onto Hamner Avenue. I did not expect the Trooper to be fast, but I expected it to drive well; better than the 1996 Acura SLX that I’ve driven weeks earlier. The trooper ran like it was brand new. It was most likely a one owner car that was very well cared for. This car would jump like a jackrabbit if you step on the gas too much. The Trooper felt like it had rugged tires perfect for driving through a rocky road. Unfortunately, I couldn’t drive it too far because the low fuel light came on. This is something that bugs me so much with used cars! Many of them run with low fuel and it limits me on how far I can drive! The test drive was about four miles long, which wasn’t enough for me to get to know the car. I turned around in front of a gated community entrance and drove back to the dealership. Instead of parking it on the dealer lot, I dropped it off in the Goodwill parking lot. I gave the keys back to the salesman who I had barely any contact with and left. Between the SLX and the Trooper, the Trooper would be my first choice because at least it ran correctly. I went on Kelley Blue Book when I got home and looked up the suggested retail value and I was amazed to see how much the car can sell for. Suggested retail in excellent condition is $10,000 and fair condition through private party is $7,200! The asking price of $5,999 is a good deal, but of course there are additional fees along with it. I have seen this vehicle listed on the internet for at least one or two months and the asking price when I first saw it was $7,500. I’m somewhat surprised that no one has bought it yet, but then again not very many people want this kind of vehicle.
Overall the Isuzu Trooper Limited is a luxurious SUV that’s perfect for someone that drives off paved roads or has a family with two kids. I would recommend this Trooper to any buyer that needs a car with a lot of cargo room, but I don’t think men would particularly care for the pearl white color. If gas mileage is a concern then I would suggest they find a crossover. I wouldn’t buy it for myself, but I’m sure that there’s someone who would love to take advantage of the vehicle’s low price.
Photos taken by wheels & Deals Auto.

 

Test Drive: 2001 Cadillac Catera

On January 6, 2012, I test drove a 2001 Cadillac Catera at Empire Auto Sales in Hemet, California. The car has a beige exterior with a beige leather interior. It has 104,000 miles, with an asking price of $5,999. The Catera has a L81 3.0 liter V6 Engine that produces 200 horsepower @ 6000 rpm, and 192 lb-ft of torque @ 3600 rpm. The car has rear wheel drive, and a 4L30-E transmission, which is one of General Motors’ 4 speed automatic units. The Cateras were not engineered or assembled in the United States. They were originally from Germany. The Cateras are based off of the Opel and Vauxhall Omegas for the European market. There were also Omega wagons for both the Opel and Vauxhall brands. In Europe, many Omegas were used in law enforcement more so than as luxury cars. Between the Omegas and Cateras, there are not many significant differences. The Cateras first debuted in the United States as 1997 models. In 2000, the cars underwent a facelift. In 2001, the Cateras were discontinued, and were replaced by their popular successor, the CTS (Catera Touring Sedan). The Opel/Vauxhall Omega production ceased after the 2003 model year. While the Omegas were well known in Europe, Cateras were not very popular in North America. Now, let’s get back to the test drive.
I first went to San Jacinto which is next to Hemet because on the dealer’s website the car was listed at Empire Auto Sales’ San Jacinto lot. When I got there, I didn’t see the Catera. I asked a salesman if they still had the car on the lot, and he told me it was at the Hemet lot. He called the other dealer to tell them I was coming, and then gave me directions on how to get there. The two dealers were only four miles apart from each other. When I got to the Hemet lot, I met with a salesman named Dave. He pointed to the car outside, and I took a look at it while he was getting the keys. The body style of the car looked sporty, but its roundish shape doesn’t fit for a Cadillac. From a distance, somebody may think it’s a Chevy Malibu, Ford Taurus, or a Chrysler. The Catera did not have many noticeable blemishes. No dents that I can recall; just some scratches on the rear bumper, and the Cadillac crest in the grille was missing. After Dave got the keys, I tried using the keyless entry to unlock it. It was broken so I unlocked it manually. The Catera’s interior looked outdated for a 2001. It looked as if it was from another Cadillac or Buick from the late 80’s to mid 90’s. The driver’s seat was plushy when I sat in it.
When I started the car, I made sure that the electrical parts worked such as the seat, mirrors, and windows. The front passenger’s window switch for the passenger didn’t work (only the switch for the driver worked), nor did the passenger mirror when trying to move it to the right. The rear view inside the car was slightly loose when moving it, but still intact. The shifter knob was unusual because it has a button on top of it and another one on the bottom. The top one I found out was for the sport mode. Dave wanted to go with me on the test drive, so I didn’t get to have the chance to drive it where I wanted to go. When backing out of the space, I thought the rear visibility wasn’t the best when looking over my right shoulder because of the head rest. The car’s V6 engine was not the fastest one I have driven. I’m guessing it would take 8 ½ seconds to go from 0-60 miles per hour; At least when the transmission worked properly. When I came to my first stoplight, it apparently didn’t go to first gear. I wasn’t sure if it had to do with the sport mode. When I tried to take off, the engine revved, but it barely moved forward. After keeping my foot on the gas for about five seconds, it caught up to speed. I wanted to drive the Catera on more open roads with less traffic so that I could get a better feel for the power. I did make a few sharp turns and a U-turn, but I didn’t think it was enough to get to know the car. After turning around on a cul-de-sac, I drove back to the dealership. Dave wanted to know what my cell phone number was. Instead of giving it to him, I give him my mom’s fax number, and of course I didn’t tell him that it wasn’t really my number. The test drive was disappointing because there was traffic, and I was mostly driving straight.
When I got home, I checked the suggested retail value from Kelley Blue Book. It was $4,900, so the dealer was asking about $1,000 more than what it was actually worth. I also read some consumer reviews about the Cateras and I was very surprised by the number of negative reviews I came across. There were a few people that had so many problems with their cars that they couldn’t even trade them in. Many of the problems were oil leaks, blown head gaskets, transmission slips, deteriorating timing belts, electrical malfunctions, and the craziest one I’ve read were the seat warmers burning through the seat cushions! Many have also said that the Cateras were the absolute worst Cadillac ever made! What’s funny is that underneath, it’s not really a Cadillac; it’s an Opel. One of the most common issues I saw in these articles was the tires. A lot of owners stated either that the tire tread on their vehicles did not last long, or that they would lose a lot of air. No wonder why I don’t see a lot of Cateras on the road. These cars are probably junk! Overall, the Cadillac Cateras are sporty looking cars, but they do not have Cadillac looks to them, and they most likely were built with shoddy craftsmanship. After reading other articles, I would never buy nor suggest buying a Catera. If you are planning to purchase a Catera, do it at your own risk.
Photos taken by Empire Auto Sales.