There are many classic SUVs that you’re still likely to see on the streets today, like the Jeep Wrangler TJ or even the original Ford Bronco. Then there are others we see hardly see anymore. Take a trip down memory lane with us to revisit these forgotten models.
The Dodge Raider is a perfect example of a model that’s gone but not forgotten. The Raider was Dodge’s answer to the Jeep Wrangler and produced it from 1987 through 1989. The founder Raider found some success thanks to its attractive, rugged exterior and performance capabilities. The Raider featured a 3.8-liter V6 engine was also an ideal option for off-roading. While Dodge ultimately decided to sunset the Raider due to low sales, the SUV is considered as a rare gem today.
The Isuzu Amigo is another ’90s fan favorite. Isuzu built the Amigo to compete directly with the Jeep Wrangler, but it ultimately failed. The Amigo was first available in the U.S. from 1989 to 1994 then brought back for a short time in 2000. What made the Amigo attractive to buyers was its sporty nature and its low base price. Amigo owners still love this SUV because of its removable top and because of its overall reliability.
Suzuki’s Samurai was the first four-wheeled model the carmaker sold in the U.S. The Samurai was available in the U.S. from 1985 until 1995 but has lived on in other markets as the Suzuki Jimmy. Even though it’s tiny, the Jimmy is a competent off-roader that embodies fun and efficiency.
Why can’t we have today’s Jimmy in the U.S., you might ask? Well, Consumer Reports published a story about potential rollover risks associated with the Samurai in the U.S. After CR’s story was published, Samurai sales dramatically tanked, and Suzuki pulled the model from the U.S. market.
The Acura SLX was just a rebadged Isuzu Trooper and was available in the U.S. from 1996-1999. This model got its power from a 3.2-liter V6 and came with four-wheel-drive. In many ways, you could say that the SLX was ahead of its time. The SLX was both luxurious and capable, but this combination wasn’t something buyers were too interested in back in the day. Acura ended up killing off the SLX and replaced it with the Acura MDX, which is still very popular today.
Some might be surprised to know that the Mazda Navajo was just a Ford Explorer in disguise. The Navajo was even manufactured in Louisville, Kentucky, just like the Explorers were. Mazda’s Navajo was its first off-roader and was only sold from 1991 until 1994. This SUV came with many desirable features, such as a stereo system with a cassette player and a removable moonroof. Motor Trend named the Navajo its Truck of the Year in 1991.
For more forgotten SUVs, check out AutoNews’ list.