Used Isuzu Trooper 4x4 1998 - 2004 review

Category: Large SUV

The value is appealing, but you can spend your money better

Isuzu Trooper
  • Isuzu Trooper
  • Isuzu Trooper
Used Isuzu Trooper 4x4 1998 - 2004 review
Star rating

What's the used Isuzu Trooper 4x4 like?

Along with the Mitsubishi Shogun, the Isuzu Trooper is almost the definition of an off-road workhorse. Although it normally runs in rear-wheel drive, you engage four-wheel drive via a button on the dash, with low-ratio gears for when the going gets really rough. In short, it's one of the very best in the sticky stuff.

Sadly, it's nowhere near as good on the road. There's loads of body roll through the bends, the steering is imprecise, and the ride never seems to settle. If you'll spend most of your time on the road, try a Honda CR-V instead.


The value is appealing, but you can spend your money better

  • The Trooper is good off-road, well built and great value for money
  • The cabin looks cheap, the ride is unsettled on-road
  • and SWB cars are cramped

However, if you're after practicality, you've come to the right place. At least, you have if you choose the long-wheelbase five-door model, which is much more versatile than its smaller brother.

In both versions, the swathes of black plastic on the dash make it look cheap, and the split rear door (which doesn't open the full width) is maddening.

Ownership cost

What used Isuzu Trooper 4x4 will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Isuzu Trooper 4x4?

At any given age, the Trooper works out cheaper than the equivalent Land Rover Discovery.

In terms of other running costs, the Isuzu looks respectable, too. For example, the various models sit in groups 14 and 15 for insurance, which is almost identical to the Discovery and Shogun.

The V6 petrol engine in the Trooper is also much more fuel-efficient than the Discovery's V8, although the diesel's 26.9mpg does rather lag behind the 30.1mpg of diesel versions of the Discovery.

If there is a downside, it's that the short service intervals mean that routine servicing works out as rather expensive, particularly on the diesels.

However, on the other hand, unscheduled work should not be too dear. Warranty Direct tell us that Isuzu's labour rates and average repair costs are lower than average - and considerably lower than those for other 4x4-renowned companies such as Jeep, Mitsubishi and Land Rover.

Our recommendations

Which used Isuzu Trooper 4x4 should I buy?

The Trooper only ever had two engines: a 3.5-litre V6 petrol and 3.0-litre turbodiesel. As the Trooper is best as an off-road workhorse, the diesel makes the better choice.

It's the more fuel-efficient (although not by much), but most importantly it has more low-down pulling power, which makes it better suited to off-roading, towing or carrying heavy loads.

Steer clear of the three-door model. Not only do we think the five-door is better looking, the SWB car is effectively only a four-seater and the LWB car can take up to seven, with an optional third row of seats.

It's best to avoid the most basic (unbadged) trim in favour of the next step up, Duty, which has twin airbags and central locking. You can step up to Citation for air-conditioning (climate control from December 1999), or Insignia (from October 1999), which had leather upholstery and a CD changer. However, both are needlessly dear.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Isuzu Trooper 4x4?