This rock-solid sport/ute is enormously roomy and looks and feels quite refined. Even the doors close with a reassuringly solid thunk.
But the Trooper
--also sold with minor changes as the Acura SLX--is hardly inexpensive. Base prices start at $27,800 and end at $37,990. Add options such as $2,250 heated leather power seats and a $1,100 sunroof to the top-line Limited model and you're staring at a bill totaling more than $41,000.
's 3.2-liter, 24-valve V-6 is much smaller than the V-8s found in rivals such as the Mercury Mountaineer and Jeep Grand Cherokee. But it generates a solid 190 horsepower and provides decent acceleration.
Just be prepared to stop often at filling stations because, despite its size, the Trooper
V-6 guzzles fuel; it delivers an estimated 14 m.p.g. in the city and 18 on highways with its four-speed automatic transmission--and just a bit more with the base model's five-speed manual. I only averaged about 15 m.p.g. with a Trooper
's extreme comfort should win over most buyers, although getting in or out is a bit of a chore because of this vehicle's tall height. However, it's easy to load the long, tall cargo area.
This big, 4,640-pound Isuzu
isn't happy maneuvering in tight spots and is mostly at home cruising on highways. Still, it's fairly nimble, with refined-for-1997 steering and decent brakes that have a standard anti-lock system. The standard four-wheel-drive system can be engaged at speeds up to 60 m.p.h., but isn't for use on dry pavement. Some rivals have a superior full-time four-wheel-drive system.
A soft suspension results in a smooth ride. Reports that the Trooper
has dangerous handling seem greatly exaggerated; body lean was evident when I pushed it hard through turns, but handling never felt alarming. Such lean is to be expected from a tall sport/ute with soft springs.
With its elegance and limo-style roominess, the Trooper
should especially satisfy the many former luxury car buyers who are crossing over to sport/utility vehicles.