Home » No, This Isn’t Something AI Created When Asked To Draw A ’90s SUV, This Is A Real Truck That Isuzu Sold

No, This Isn’t Something AI Created When Asked To Draw A ’90s SUV, This Is A Real Truck That Isuzu Sold

Isuzu Bighorn Ts Copy
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This is the Isuzu Bighorn and I swear that it’s real despite so many factors that make it seem like the output of an AI prompted with “cheap and terrible from the 1990s.” It’s objectively weird, incredibly practical (so long as horsepower and speed aren’t something you need), and probably has enough quirks to make Doug DeMuro’s head explode. Let’s dig into this little SUV that just went over the auction block for a measly $6,500.

The Bighorn is essentially an Isuzu Trooper, which we did get here in the USA. It has a few really lovely features though, including a diesel engine we didn’t get here in the States. It makes just 133 horsepower and 217 lb-ft of torque but leverages genuine four-wheel drive and a four-speed automatic transmission. This example has 157,600 miles on the odometer so it’s lived a life already.

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The list of standard features sounds not too far off from what buyers look for on sale today. It has three rows. The second row folds forward and the third row folds upward and sideways onto the walls of the cabin. The front row also gets heated seats.

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Speaking of creature comforts, this little classic SUV also has automatic climate control. The windows and mirrors are power-adjustable and even the switches are charming. Isuzu could’ve just made a switch panel like everyone else, but instead, these switches are angled in the housing!

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The exterior is full of weirdness too. Take a gander at the front passenger-side fender and you’ll see a mirror there to help drivers determine where their bumper is. It has side steps, and just above them a little badge that says “Suspension by Lotus.” That’s right, this is from a time period when Lotus worked on some of the suspension systems for Isuzu (as trumpeted by this Impulse ad) and the Bighorn benefited from that. In fact, the steering wheel has a Lotus badge, not an Isuzu one.

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The Bighorn has some custom mods too including 16-inch wheels, rain guards, a manually-operated glow plug system, and a Panasonic head unit that says “WARNING – Let’s Enjoy Safety Driving” when it starts up.

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Finally, let’s chat about the little sticker on the back. It’s written in Chinese and features what looks like a floral Chrysler Pentastar inside of a Dharma Initiative-esque shield. The words above it say (according to Google translate) “Pray for traffic safety” and the words to the right of it say “Hakusan Hime Shrine” referring to a Shinto religious meeting place.

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Sure, it wasn’t a factory decal like the Lotus ones but it provides a small glimpse into the history of this particular Bighorn. This little SUV is just full of charm. I’m a little sad I missed out on it but that’s okay. My Ford Flex is one of the greatest cars ever made.

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Photos: Cars & Bids

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Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
2 days ago

I sold Troopers for a brief period after returning to the US from Japan in 1993.

For the money, I believe these were much better SUVs than the 4Runners that everyone else wanted – particularly when equipped in twin-cam LS spec that produced 190 hp rather than the standard 175. Plus you could get a massive sliding glass sunroof in LS spec only. (Well, it was massive for it’s time)

I’d bet those Lotus badges and steering wheel were added aftermarket – like the many accessories and the JAPANESE Shinto badge at the rear.
(Why would a badge about a Japanese religion be written in Chinese? Really – Think about it.)

Last edited 2 days ago by Urban Runabout
Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore
1 day ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

I’d bet those Lotus badges and steering wheel were added aftermarket

No, I don’t think so.

https://i.imgur.com/ybthLpm.png

For the money, I believe these were much better SUVs than the 4Runners that everyone else wanted – particularly when equipped in twin-cam LS spec that produced 190 hp rather than the standard 175.

Weren’t these engines notorious for high oil consumption and failure? I used to see lots of blue smoke out of final-gen Rodeos and the related Passports. Now I just don’t see any of them anymore.

Last edited 1 day ago by Alexander Moore
Mustang 'DontHitTheCrowd' GT
Mustang 'DontHitTheCrowd' GT
1 day ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Owned a 1999 Trooper as my first car, honestly the interior space in the thing was heavenly. It was also super reliable – 202k miles and no major issues, held on to the end

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