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Isuzu Rodeo review (2003-2012)

Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

PROS

  • Robust looks
  • Sturdy build
  • User-friendly

CONS

  • Feels old alongside newest rivals

Summary

The Isuzu Rodeo is the successor to the TF pick-up truck and, with the gradual disappearance of the Isuzu Trooper, is expected to be both a workhorse vehicle as well as a family 4x4.

Isuzu Rodeo review on Parkers Vans - front end exterior

The Rodeo succeeds in appearing less rugged and perhaps less intimidating than many pick-up trucks, with a neat interior and attractive design. Two-wheel drive-only models offered at the bottom end of the range with the rest featuring a part-time 4WD set-up.

A good effort but almost outclassed by the latest Nissan, Toyota and Mitsubishi pick-ups.


Isuzu Rodeo (03-12) driving experience

3.5 out of 5 3.5

The 2.5-litre model offers 100hp, while the 3.0-litre model produces 130hp. Since the Rodeo's launch Isuzu has also offered an official aftermarket power upgrade for 3.0-litre models through its dealer network.

The Rodeo was also the first diesel pick-up truck in the UK to be offered with an automatic transmission option (available on 3.0-litre models). The 3.0-litre engine is able to hustle the Rodeo along at a decent rate which should be more than acceptable for anyone switching to the vehicle from a car or 4x4.

Isuzu Rodeo review on Parkers Vans - rear end exterior

The engine perhaps is not as refined as more recent entrants in the market, but is still good for what is essentially a commercial vehicle. The Rodeo steers precisely and doesn't wallow around too much when cornering.

Isuzu Rodeo (03-12) cabin & interior

4 out of 5 4.0

The Rodeo feels surprisingly car-like inside compared to other pick-up trucks. There is no secondary lever next to the gearstick to engage four-wheel drive or low-ratio mode - merely three simple buttons, each one labeled for the corresponding transmission mode.

Isuzu Rodeo review on Parkers Vans - cabin interior

There are plenty of soft-touch materials yet the Rodeo has a sturdy feel. The elevated driving position offers a good view of the road and the dashboard and instruments are uncluttered and clear.

Isuzu Rodeo (03-12) mpg, costs & value

4 out of 5 4.0

Entry-level Rodeos are quite cheap, particularly if you don't need four-wheel drive and just have some tools and equipment to transport around. A CD player and limited slip differential are among the standard equipment.

Crew Cab models add side protection mouldings, wheelarch extensions on 4x4 models, larger wheels and tyres, a rev counter, interior carpets and a heated rear window.

Isuzu Rodeo full review on Parkers Vans - dashboard detail

Denver models come with alloy wheels, body-colour bumpers and side mouldings, electrically-adjustable door mirrors, front fog lights, air conditioning, extra audio speakers, higher grade cloth, remote central locking and alarm, height adjustable steering wheel and the option of an automatic gearbox.

The special edition Denver Max has more equipment.

Isuzu Rodeo (03-12) reliability, common problems & faults

4 out of 5 4.0

The Rodeo is generally reliable and comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty to cover all mechanical parts.

Isuzu Rodeo (03-12) safety & security

3 out of 5 3.0

Rodeo performed terribly in Euro NCAP crash tests, scoring just two stars out of five. Safety experts stated that occupants were subjected to an 'unacceptably high risk of life-threatening injury'.

ABS with electronic brake force distribution is standard on every Rodeo, as well as driver and passenger airbags, front seatbelt pre-tensioners, ISOFIX child seat mountings in the rear of double-cab versions and the front passenger seat of single-cabs, and all models have a rolling code immobiliser. Denver models add an alarm.

Which Isuzu Rodeo (03-12) is best for me?