We'd be really surprised if you've seen all five of these.
Modern day crossovers are taking over the market, but many of them are simply car-based SUVs that have been lifted a few inches. We miss the days when SUVs were actually built to go off-road. There are still a few modern cars that can tackle an off-road trail, but we think that the older models are a bit more special. There are many popular choices like the Toyota Land Cruiser and Jeep Wrangler, but we wanted to focus on off-roaders that almost no one remembers. If you've seen all five of these off-roaders on the road, then you really are a keen observer.
You may notice that this is a Series 1 Land Rover Discovery. In the US, the Discovery is making a comeback after being called the LR3 and LR4 for several years, but the first generation model isn't exactly impossible to find. Look a bit closer and you may notice that this Land Rover Discovery says Honda on it. That's because from 1993 to 1998 Honda built a rebadged version of the Discovery called the Crossroad. The partnership between Honda and Land Rover ended when Land Rover was purchased by BMW. The Crossroad was only sold in Japan and New Zealand, so we doubt that you've ever seen one. We can't imagine that a Honda with Land Rover reliability would have been popular in the US.
Isuzu no longer builds cars in the US, but some of its models were actually quite good. The VehiCROSS was our favorite and was built from 1997 to 2001. Less than 6,000 of these cars were ever built, which is why you've probably never seen one. Back in the '90s, this car had a price tag of $28,000, so it wasn't cheap. It did come with a 3.5-liter V6 with 215 hp and 230 lb-ft of torque, which was commendable at the time. It also utilized a unique 4WD system with 12 independent sensors that made it incredible off-road even by today's standards.
Back when Isuzu was still making cars, one of its most popular models was the Bighorn. This midsize SUV was built from 1981 to 2002 and went by many names over the years. In the US, we most commonly know this car as the Isuzu Trooper, but it was also rebadged as the Acura SLX. Other names around the world were the Chevy Trooper, SsangYong Korando Family, Honda Horizon, Opel/Vauxhall Monterey and Holden Jackaroo/Monterey.
Mitsubishi is another automaker that's now in jeopardy in the US. One of the SUV models that the company used to sell in the US was called the Montero. In other parts of the world, the Montero was known as the Pajero or the Shogun. The last Montero that we got in the US was the third generation, which ended production in 2006. Mitsubishi still builds the fourth generation of this car, but doesn't sell it in the US. Since this car hasn't been sold for over a decade, we doubt that many people remember it.
We really loved the Subaru Brat, a small pickup truck that was built despite the existance of the stupid Chicken Tax. However, we were less impressed by Subaru's second attempt at a pickup truck, the Baja. The Baja was built from 2003 to 2006 and was based on the Legacy Outback platform in Subaru's Indiana factory. The car was available with a 2.5-liter flat-four engine that was also available with a turbo. However, the turbo only produced 210 hp, so it wasn't exactly quick. The car had an odd design and not many people bought them. Only 30,000 were sold over four and a half years, making them pretty rare.