After much research, test driving, and deliberation, I decided to pick up a 2001 Trooper S 4WD this past weekend.
I've never owned an SUV before, which makes me the exception in Colorado, it seems. Up until September 1st of this year, I was the happy owner of a 1993 Honda Civic. Say what you will about their size and power, Honda certainly makes a reliable, economic car, which is exactly what I needed at the time as a recent college grad.
But tragedy struck in the wee hours of September 1st. I had my car (and a 2000 Kawasaki motorcycle) parked beneath a carport at my apartment complex. Some drunkard came home at about 3AM and parked his car under the same carport, leaving a lit cigar inside. The cigar ignited his car, which ignited the carport roof, which in turn burned the 36 vehicles parked beneath the carport to the bare metal. Including my vehicles.
The curious may view the wreckage at the following website run by a friend of mine: http://www.woodrum.org/fire_at_jb's.htm
The motorcycle was fully insured, but the car, being 8 years old, had liability only. I had thought that, since I had a very safe driving record, I wouldn't need full coverage in case of an accident. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this would happen.
After a period of mourning, I set about trying to find a new vehicle. I used Edmunds.com as my primary resource, as well as the numerous other car websites and Consumer Reports.
My main criteria was space and power. I'm 6'6" tall, and as such was interested in a vehicle with better-than-average interior space. (Yes, a Honda Civic is a small car, but it's amazing how you can make yourself fit when you have no car payments.) Originally, I was quite enamored with the VW Passat. Seems everyone thinks this car is just the bees knees: roomy, zippy, ad nauseam.
So I test drove a 2001 Passat that the local dealership was trying to move at invoice. While I must admit that the dashboard lighting scheme is quite impressive - the purple and red colors resembling something out of "Tron" - I was terribly cramped and uncomfortable in this car, and the performance didn't really float my boat, either. The clincher was when I tried to hit the brakes and discovered that my left foot was resting underneath the brake pedal. That's better than coffee at giving you a thrill, not being able to put your brakes on fully.
I tried every large vehicle I could get my hands on. I fit quite well in the Ford Crown Victoria and Lincoln Towncar, but I feared that owning one of these might, how shall we say, "hinder" my ability to get a date. I tried a white 1996 Ford Bronco I, but was scared away by the reliability issue and the inevitable OJ Simpson cracks that were sure to come my way.
Sure, there were the Chevy Suburbans and Ford Expeditions. But talk about expensive!
Finally, at the suggestion of a frazzled saleswoman who'd had me try every car on the lot for size, I tried the 2001 Trooper. And was impressed. Great interior space, punchy engine (with semi-decent gas mileage), and I even liked the stock radio. I was even more intrigued when I discovered that Joe Isuzu was trying to kick the '01s off the lot by offering the $6,000 incentive.
So I called every Isuzu dealer in the Denver metro area, checking on prices and selection. (Side point - there's a dealer in town who's literally offering a FREE 2001 KIA with the purchase of any new car. Huh.) Finally, I got ahold of a dealer who had just received a 2001 program Trooper that day.
I swung by and checked it out. Trooper S, 4WD, 5,000 miles, still well within the factory warranty, ski rack, tinted windows, cargo mat. Test drove just fine. They wanted $21,000 for it. I gave them $19,500. Personally, I think they would've gone lower, but I was still very happy with the price I ended up with.
To forestall any comments from those out there who could've gotten a better price: please, give me some credit. This is Colorado. Anything with 4WD usually commands a premium. I'm sure that, had I been car shopping in Miami, I could've talked them down to $12,995 and had them throw in a free box of Krispy Kremes, but this is a decent deal for snow country.
Planned upgrades: bug shield (I'll be trying the reasonably-priced Lund, based on the comments I've read in this forum), CD player, and that's about it.
One question for the group here: does anyone have any suggestions as to creative ways of locking the spare tire cover? Unfortunately, I live in a neighborhood that has quite a few "problem children" who enjoy stealing anything that isn't bolted down and protected by a pit bull.
Thanks for listening to my tale of woe-then-happiness. See you on the trails!
sounds like you stole that Trooper. I just got a new 01' with 2WD and thought I got a good deal, but I believe you topped it! I assume you are talking about a "hard" spare tire cover. I too would be interested in knowing how to lock it on. It'a a pricey unit to replace if it gets damaged or stolen. ISUZU had the foresight to make the soft cover bolt down to the frame, then zip up so it can't be taken if you have a locking wheel bolt. Don't know why they wouldn't give as much consideration to the hard cover which is more expensive. Anyway, welcome to the group as others have said, and congratulations on that "stolen" Trooper!! Happy Trooping!! |->
paisan: Thanks for the website reference. I had no idea there was so much you could do to these vehicles.
As far as locking the hard spare tire cover to the vehicle, ah well. Perhaps I'm stressing too much over something that may not even be an issue. But, when you've had a $1,000 stereo and 48 CDs stolen from your car while it sat in the parking lot directly beneath your window, then lose another $1,000 system two years later in a fire (and another 24 CDs), you tend to get a little gun-shy.
(In case anyone is wondering at the wisdom of having that expensive of a system in one's car, all I can say is, it helps you take your mind off the fact that it takes 10 minutes to get from 0 to 60 in an older Civic.)
Sorry about the fire... anytime motorcycles are lost it's a sad day. Congarats on the Trooper! I have 99 and love it. What I have considered and may still do is to store the hard cover and get the vinyl cover from an earlier model (not worth stealing). My main motivation for doing this would be that spare tire style bike racks will fit over the vinyl cover and work well... Just a thought.
My tire cover was stolen off the dealers lot before I purchased my 2000 Trooper new. I actually consider myself lucky to have this happen, and learn from it - while somebody else pays for it.
I have the solution as how to secure the hard cover to the truck.
1st go buy 2 brass master locks - the mid size ones.
2nd get a drill that is just a bit larger Ø than the shank of the lock.
3rd go to the bottom of the wheel cover while it is mounted on the truck (Spare tire also installed) and have a 2nd person squeeze close the gap as much as possible while you drill a hole about 3/8 of a inch from where the gap in the hard cover is, and about 3/8 from the rear of the hard cover. Do this on each side of the cover (total of two times). You will be drilling through the outer shell and through the black plastic on the back. The 3/8 inch from the edge is a estimate, you will need to adjust this based on the size of the locks that you purchase.
The time to complete this job should be 5 - 10 min. It works very well. I cannot see the locks unless I crouch down and specifically look for them. Keep the key in your glove box.
Remember, locks are for honest people, but for about $5.00 this will be a big deterrent.
a 1995 Trooper LS. 4Wheel ABS, premium wheels. 70,000 miles. The only problem the owner says is that he replaced the exhaust. The vehicle looks to be in very good condition. I haven't driven it yet, but plan to in a day or so. He's asking 11 grand. Sounds kinda high for this vehicle. Anybody know what a fair price might be for a good to excellent example? The only extra option appears to be the 4 wheel ABS. Thanks.