This review will differ from the normal Rodeo review, as I have modified mine quite a bit. I purchased this truck August of 2001 to replace my old beater jeep. It had 128K miles on it. This was to be a 2nd vehicle for me to drive when needed.
The front hubs are auto-locking so you can shift into 4WD on the fly. I prefer manual locking hubs myself, and the auto hubs were non-functional when I bought the truck. They are somewhat expensive to repair, so I installed new Warn manual hubs instead.
It drives very well, and handles like a car when stock. The clutch is easy to use and the transmission shifts well for the most part. (See below) The gas mileage when I got the truck was about 17 MPG on the 3.2 liter GM sourced V6. For a truck this small and light that did not impress me at all, but was only a taste of things to come.
I added a 3" suspension lift and 32x11.5/15 BFG All Terrain tires on black rims in January of '02. The lift went on easily and took about 5 hours to do myself. It changed the ride of the truck to stiffer but it still handles very well. The A/T tires handle extremely well in the snows of Michigan, and I was able to drive through and 25" snowfall without any trouble. That's unplowed roads and heavy drifts. I pulled out friends and strangers throughout the winter and really enjoyed this SUV.
But the side effect of the larger tires was 14 MPG every day. I took a 1100 mile round trip to a friends house with 5 people and towing a 4'x5' landscape trailer mostly on the interstate. Expect 9-10 MPG if you do this very often. I was looking for gas every 150 miles or so! For this reason and others I will be selling this and buying a full size pickup next year.
I also installed a locker in the Dana 44 rear axle to increase traction. It has helped quite a bit, and this little guy can go anywhere you want that doesn't involve heavy mud. It will climb very steep and sandy hills or rocky inclines.
Okay, time to wind this up and give the bad news.
Front hubs both needed replacement, possibly due to mileage.
Hydraulic clutch slave cylinder leaks over time, causing transmission to shift very hard and eventually lock in gear. You must bleed the clutch line to get the air out or replace the cylinder. With labor its a $400 job.
Exhaust flex-fitting behind Y-pipe rotted out, causing louder than normal noise in cabin. Replacement is very expensive, over $900 as it's only available from Isuzu.
Rear hatch window is framless, meaning the hinges and latch are embedded in the glass. Mine exploded on my father when he lifted it up to get into the cargo area. Replacement cost was $1,350 thankfully covered under my insurance policy. That is outrageous for a window, and it is a bad design to begin with.
This motor has a chronic valve sound which is quite loud on cold startup and only quiets down about 50% when warmed up. Also engine consumes large amounts of oil through leakage and burning. It did so when I bought it and has stayed consistant. About 1 quart every 400 miles.
Over all I have enjoyed my Rodeo but hesitate to recommend it to a family or person looking for a reliable vehicle. I would send them to the 4 Runner by Toyota or the Trooper by Isuzu. Both of them have a much better history and reliability record. It's too bad as I love the way this SUV looks, sporty yet rugged.
This is a good SUV to offroad with though, and has quite a hardcore group that modify them. You won't see many modified so you will be unique! I'll end with a couple of resources for off road Rodeo information.
A great forum for the rodeo.
Good source for heavy duty 4x4 parts.
Amount Paid (US$):
1993Model and Options:
5 speed, 3.2L V6, tow package.