As soon-to-be Governor of California once famously said about a headache in the Nineties movie classic Kindergarten Cop, it’s not a toomer, uhm – tumor, which has everything to do with the apparent confusion between the first generation Mitsubishi Montero and Isuzu Trooper. Even at the annual state inspection of the Vermontero, the proprietor of service station told someone to get the key for the Trooper. While it might be easy to confuse the handsome good looks of the first generation Montero with the similar tall boy styling of the Isuzu Trooper, they are not the same sport utility vehicle.
Nothing demonstrates the point better than a few comparative photographs. Luck and chance fell onto Clunkbucket some years ago at the nearest Harbor Freight Tools parking lot. After going in to get an AC manifold gauge set, a few bicycle hooks, and some garden gnomes, it was found that a 1988 Trooper II had parked directly next to Vermontero. After reveling in elation I was not the only one who always tried to find a similar automobile to park next to in parking lots, it was time to take a few photos with the cell phone camera which resulted in these potato-quality images.
The first-generation Montero was sold here in the United States from 1987-1991 in short and long wheelbase forms. The short wheelbase version was also sold as a rebadged Dodge Raider. The US-spec Monteros and Raiders were equipped with either a 2.6-liter inline four or the 3.0-liter V-6. The first-generation Montero was sold as the Pajero in global markets and the Shogun in the United Kingdom from 1982-1991. The first-generation platform was licensed by Hyundai, who produced the Montero-based Hyundai Galloper from 1991 until, wait for it – 2003!
In production since 1981, USA Trooper sales started with the 1984 Trooper. 1987 brought the more powerful 120 hp 2.6-liter engine. A manufacturing arrangement between Isuzu, Chevrolet, and Suzuki eventually resulted a more powerful Trooper with a General Motors 135 horsepower 2.8-liter V-6. The Trooper was also sold as the Holden Jackaroo, Subaru Bighorn, SsangYong Korando Family, Isuzu Rodeo Bighorn. In America, the Trooper was the Trooper or Trooper II in maximum rectangular format before being rounded off and widened for its second iteration in 1991.
Time taking photos produced the Trooper’s mechanic-owner, who said his Trooper was a daily-driven four-season machine. The similarities and differences of the two Japanese sport utility boxmobiles were splayed out in the parking lot at sunset. The most significant difference is in the engine department. Next up is size. The Montero wagon is taller and slightly wider than its Isuzu contemporary. This was recently confirmed with by a leg up into another Trooper rescued from a field in Virginia and daily driving around southern New England Tri-State region. Definitely narrower inside, with similar headroom, but the Montero is not a Trooper.
1989 Mitsubishi Montero Five-Door Specifications
Engine: Mitsubishi 3.0-liter Mitsubishi 6G72 Cyclone SOHC V-6
Horsepower: 143 with 168 ft-lb of torque
Transmission: KM148 four-speed automatic
Height: 74 inches
Width: 66 inches
Length: 181 inches
Weight: 3968 pounds
Average cost today from NADA: $4,000
1989 Isuzu Trooper Five-Door Specifications
Engine: Isuzu 4ZE1 2.6 Liter SOHC
Horsepower: 122 with 152 lb.ft of torque
Transmission: Aisin-Warner four-speed automatic
Height: 72 inches
Width: 65 inches
Length: 176 inches
Weight: 3750 pounds
Average cost today from NADA: $3,200