CC Outtake: Two Dead Brands From the 90s – Guess Which One Still Gets Driven?

This blue twosome makes for a very 90s feel. They represent how much has changed, both in terms of two brands that are dead (in terms of passenger cars, for the Isuzu), and otherwise. The Isuzu Trooper (gen2) is a representative of when most SUVs were still quite truck-based, and the Olds Achieva is representative of…well, the death of Olds and GM, as well as all domestic sedans.


I had a real big thing for the gen1 Trooper II. I used to really want one despite its weak-chested engine. But there was something so practical, elemental and just right about its boxy body. But the gen2, now called just Trooper in one of the more bizarre reversals of naming traditions, just didn’t do anything for me from the get-go. It looked puffed up (not so much anymore), and its SOHC or DOHC V6 seemed a bit ambitious for what had been such a basic vehicle. Well, Isuzu was chasing the upper tier of the SUV market, given that it also made the lower-priced Rodeo.

The Trooper was also sold here as the badge-engineered Acura SLX (a car that has not made an appearance here yet) for a few years, as was the Rodeo sold as the Honda Passport. That odd chapter seems like a long time ago now.

Now this Trooper looks very elemental and pragmatic and boxy, compared to the current ones. But it still doesn’t move me; too thirsty and an iffy reliability record, unlike the gen1 which had a stellar record.

And then there’s the Achieva, which hasn’t moved in a little while from the looks of the street sweeper’s impact.

I don’t have any direct experience with these, but my father did have a similar vintage Skylark that I drove a few times, including on a multi-day trip down to Williamsburg and then out to the Eastern Shore and back to Towson. It was typical GM of the times: the roarty V6 had good initial acceleration, but petered out before long. It wasn’t very roomy, but then it was a compact. And it just felt very GM, meaning rental-grade. That’s the under-Achieva’s achievement in life, to be a popular rental car, like most GM cars back then.


Who knows, this one might well have a version of the Quad Four, which now came in both the original DOHC form as well as a cheaper SOHC development. Even with balance shafts, one could tell this was not a Honda four from the first time it ticked over.

The lichen growing on this one suggests it hasn’t seen much action in a while. One hopes so especially at night. I wonder what it’s waiting for.