Pros: Low end purchase cost new vs. Ford/Japanese SUV's
Cons: 6 recalls, Service fair, eats front tires, brakes are supposed to stop you, right?
Bought my 4WD, fully optioned Rodeo LS new for 28K, thousands cheaper than an Explorer or Cherokee. No problems for the first 30K miles expect for postcards from IsuzuNA telling me to bring it in for various recalls, new alternator wiring loom, suspension bolt retorques, so forth. Local Dealer (Leith, Fayetteville,NC)than had a chance to show me there stuff with some problems that flaired...couple rear defroster grid wires dead, gas gauge only showing 1/2 full when full. They managed to screw both up..mistakenly replaced dash instruments on my Rodeo,a job earmarked for another customer's car and then redid my dash leaving out a few screws and not connecting the A/C duct under the steering, plus left all the "Odometer has been changed" stickers on mine. The rear defroster repair really cost IsuzuNA since they charged for a new rear window (nothing to me under Warranty) but actually only laid down a 2" strip of silver solder on the grid.
At 50K, the intake manifold gasket went, a common item. Since new, the Rodeo always took a tremendous amount of pedal pressure to stop, something other owners have noticed. Finally, since the Dealer never did anything when I mentioned this, I looked at the brakes with 60K miles...the pads were hardly worn...the friction material they must use OEM is hard as diamonds. With a set of aftermarket pads, I discovered how nice it was to hit the brakes and realize I was stopping!! Excessive front camber(non-adjustable) wears out the outer edges of the Goodyears in about 25K-30K miles. I have 65K miles now and am ready for the 3rd set of fronts. Another recurrent problem is the gas gauge failing...will only read 1/2 way or always empty or low fuel light flashes inappropriately. Since my Dealer scares me, I finally dropped my gas tank (not to hard if you have a helper) and removed the level sender/fuel pump assembly (all one unit so you get to replace both if either fails). The contacts on the float arm which contact the rheostat( one for the actual level, one for the low light) were 1/2 burnt so no contact was made. I bent them so contact was made and all is well until they further deteriorate. The fuel pump has an intergral mesh filter on the bottom...if you have dirty gas in your area it will clog and burn out your pump. I slit an opening in mine just big enough to remove a ton of crud/rust particles. I'll replace the $10 inline filter more often and hopefully save the pump although, if I want a gas gauge when it finally cr*ps out, I'll need to replace the whole unit.
Another common problem, the ABS light comes on intermittently. While it may be due to a real ABS problem in some, commonly the wiring harness is at fault. The rear differential sensor connector (sensor not near discs like in front), connector under rubber boot under driver's seat, and the front connectors inside engine compartment, near wheel wheel need only cleaning to stop this problem, particularly when the Dealer says "We don't see any error code for the ABS".
Gas mileage is fair, 18-20 miles/gal. city/highway, interior plastic quality good, carpet cheap but beats Ford, transmission solid but near impossible to check/change fluid on own, shocks/suspension soft with long travel so high speed bumps can make life exciting, driver's seat padding pretty well shot at 65K miles, frequent rattle from rear interior can often be traced to loose/ill fitting rear window latch, sound system OK, thin gauge sheet metal so dings more frequent, small gauge headlight wires so charring of connector second to high resistance heat common, cold A/C 'cause of larger than usual condensor and twin fans, glass lenses on fog lights so sandpitting/clouding less than with plastic, leather is "painted", not vat-dyed so wear, lose of color occurs with age, exhaust looks good because of stainless pieces,has only 2 less O2 sensors than spark plugs (4!!).
Overall, less than average repairs needed in it's 65K miles but early frequent trips for initial malfunctions/recall items. Frequent ABS, gas gauge, intake manifold gasket problems which usually show up under Warranty. This is my 2nd Rodeo....would recommend for power, interior size, towing (4,500lbs with V6), PRICE over Explorer, Cherokee, Liberty but will spend more next time for Trooper which has a better recall record and less customer complaints than the Rodeo line