Posts Tagged ‘Opel’

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: 1996 Acura SLX

On January 13, 2012, I test drove a 1996 Acura SLX at Glendora Motorcars in Glendora, California. The vehicle has a green and tan two tone exterior with a black cloth interior. The rear seat bench cushion didn’t match the rest of the upholstery in the car. It was some kind of grey, leather-like cushion. I’m not sure if it’s original or not. The car has 165,000 miles, and the asking price is $2,650. In case if you didn’t notice, the Acura SLX is exactly identical to the Isuzu Trooper. In that case, it has the same Isuzu built 3.2 liter V6 engine as the Trooper. The engine’s codename is 6VD1, which produces 190 horsepower @ 5600 rpm and 188 lb-ft of torque @ 4000 rpm. The transmission is a 4 speed automatic with four wheel drive. When someone thinks of an Acura SUV, the MDX or RDX will most likely come to mind. The SLX was the first SUV under the Acura name, but it wasn’t the first one designed by the Acura brand itself. The Acura SLX debuted as a 1996 model only to the North American market. The SLX’s square like styling isn’t any different than that of the Trooper’s. In 1998, the SLX as well as the Trooper got a minor facelift with new headlights, front bumper, and grille. Production of the Acura SLX ended in 1999 because of low and unsuccessful sales. Like the Trooper, consumers were concerned about the vehicles’ potential of being involved in rollover crashes. Most of the focus was on the Trooper because of the SLX’s low popularity. I have not come across very many Acura SLX SUVs on the road or online. When I found the Acura SLX in Glendora on Autotrader, it was only one of five in the entire United States. I did come across one or two listed on my local Craigslist, but that’s about it. Now, let’s get to the test drive.
I went to Glendora Motorcars and expected a non-pushy salesperson because it specifically said in the Autotrader dealer description, “No pushy sales or finance people to bother you!” I walked in, and there was just one, middle-aged man named Mike in the office. I think he may be the only one that works at the dealer. I just told him that I found the Acura SLX on Autotrader and I wanted to have a look at it. He got the key and we went outside. He told me that the vehicle has been sitting for a few weeks and that it may not start. He was right. He went back inside the office to get a pair of jumper cables. He used a Chevy Suburban parked next to the SLX to jump start it and it worked. The SLX had a very loud start up noise. It could have been from a bad belt or a pulley. The squealing noise went away after a few seconds. While the vehicle was warming up, I walked around it to check it out. There were deep scratches around the body, especially on the light bar cover above the rear license plate. The paint on the hood was dull in color as well. No body damage other than those. The carpet in the cargo area had a few stains in it from whatever was put in there previously. The armrest cover for the front passenger seat was cracked and worn. The interior door handle on the left passenger door didn’t work, but that’s a minor fix. The radio worked, but the power and volume button was missing and I couldn’t hear anything from the front speakers. The power windows and mirrors did operate though. After a few minutes of the SLX warming up, I asked Mike to drive it. He said yes, but he didn’t want me to drive it for more than a mile down the street.
When I put the car in reverse, it slipped into neutral. The shifter in the car was very loose and easy to shift into a different gear without pushing the button. I think if someone wanted to play with the shifter while the vehicle was in motion, it could slip out of gear causing a serious problem. I was extra cautious while backing out. The spare tire would hit something behind me before the bumper would. I also drove very slowly to make a right turn out of the dealer lot, and onto Route 66. Like with many SUVs, the turning radius was not very sharp. Right after taking off, I started noticing some problems. The check engine light has been on since the vehicle has been started. When I floored the SUV as it went into second gear, the power cut off and I couldn’t go any faster than 45 miles per hour. It would then accelerate into third gear after about five seconds. I thought that the car needed a new transmission. I would not recommend driving this SLX on the freeway. I made a U-turn after driving for about a mile and started hearing a quiet rattling noise coming from the engine compartment. It sounded like a winding toy car. I then tried to accelerate and again, after hitting second gear, the car’s power would cut off at 45 miles per hour. I drove it to a residential street next to the dealer. I made a three point turn at a cul-de-sac because a car was parked at the end of it. After driving it back to the dealer, I kindly mentioned to Mike that the Check engine light was on, and the car needed work. I suggested to him that he should drive it so that he can have a better understanding of what was wrong with it. Mike didn’t seem to care a whole lot, saying that the vehicle will be sold as is and that $2,650 was a good price. He didn’t sound mad or offended, but he didn’t seem to think much of what I said. He gave me a business card, and then I left. Mike was a nice and patient guy, but he just didn’t want to fix the vehicle.
Overall, The Acura SLX is big and spacious, but it needs to be maintained well in order to run correctly. If this SLX was repaired and running like it should, then it would make a great vehicle to drive; at least if gas mileage isn’t a big concern. I really liked it, but I was disappointed that it was being neglected and abandoned on the lot. Even though the Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value in excellent condition is $2,871, no one will buy it unless if repairs were done on it. Still, I think $2,650 is a little too much. The fair condition value for private party is only $1,196, and in excellent condition, it wouldn’t be worth anymore than $1,950. Basically, it’s worthless. It will be sitting on the lot for a long time unless if Mike does something about it, whether it’s fixing it, selling it for much cheaper, or junking it.

Photos taken by Glendora Motorcars.