The Frontera, though assembled in Luton, is actually a rebadged Isuzu design, but more so than the Isuzu Trooper/Vauxhall Monterey (RIP) twins. The engines are a successful mix of European and Japanese, like the styling.
There were three models at the October 1991 launch - a 2.0-litre three-door Sport, a 2.4-litre five-door and a 2.3-litre turbo diesel five-door. The first change came in September 1993 when the 2.0-litre engine gained fuel injection. The model retained the Sport name but gained electric mirrors and windows. Apart from a couple of very limited-run special editions and a short-lived but desirable open-topped Sport version, there were no further changes until April 1995 when new engines arrived, including a 2.2 and a 2.8-litre turbo diesel.
For the 1997 model year, driver and passenger airbags became available and the 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine was swapped for a 2.5 with more power and torque. A new dashboard lifted the appearance of the interior and addressed all the ergonomic criticisms that had been thrown at it since the 1991 launch.
The line-up was replaced by an all-new range (including a V6 derivative) in October 1998. This featured more modern styling and a new 2.2-litre (Opel rather than Isuzu) direct injection diesel engine. The 2.2-litre petrol engine from the old model was retained and the 3.2-litre V6 from the (now defunct) Monterey was borrowed for the replacement flagship Estate model. This 3.2-litre engine was also added to the three-door range in October 2000 in the Sport RS model.
Late 2001 saw further changes to the Frontera line up, with a V-shaped grille, clear light lenses and new designs of alloy wheels adopted. The Olympus models, previously special editions, were subsumed into the mainstream range whilst the 3.2-litre engine was now offered in both three and five door body styles. By early 2004 it was all up for the Frontera.