Pros: strong 4x4, good price, roomy.
Cons: unreliable, transmition and brake problems, dealer service problems.
On the world wide web, looking at the many choices of midsize SUVs, we were dazed and confused. What would we choose? The Pathfinder looked nice, but so did the Explorer. We were drowning in a sea of 4x4s.
Needing a car sooner than later, we found ourselves on the local Isuzu lot peering into the windows of new Rodeos. It seemed nice enough, and since it was a lease, we would only have it for three years. So we snatched up a loaded LS model with a sticker of $31,000.
The Rodeo proved great in the snow. I tackled dirt roads, twisty mountain snow roads, and even beaches in Nantucket. The four-wheel-drive system was awesome. It also had tons of room for a family of four on vacations and during everyday driving.
But about two years after first getting the car, the problems started. We noticed the car getting more and more sluggish, but we just shrugged it off. After all, it would only be another year until the lease was up. However, it got more and more annoying. At this time, we did not know what trouble it would bring.
Getting off and exit from the Garden State Parkway, the engine stalled not once, but twice, and not even at the same time, but weeks apart. The engine started up both times. Then, on Interstate 91 in Springfield, MA, it stalled not on an exit ramp, but in the traveling lane. Only this time, the engine did not start again. Luckily, we were able to pull into the breakdown lane safely. The car was towed to a local Isuzu dealer, where they told me the clutch for our manual transmition was to blame, it had to be replaced. They also told us that the brakes had severely diminished. These were things that our dealer service department had apparently overlooked many times.
We were furious. The dealer had not done necessary work that our lives could have depended on. We also had to do about $2,000 worth of work shortly before our lease was up. The two teenagers that ride in the car constantly could have been with us on I-91
All cars have problems, there is no avoiding it. But these are serious problems. The 1998 Rodeo was a newly redesigned model, so it is possible that Isuzu didn't work out all the "kinks". Maybe the years following were better quality. But we're also disapointed in our dealer for not noticing what was wrong, or maybe just not telling us. In any case, that car is now gone. Even though it had it's problems, it is a very strong 4x4, but talk to other people you know with Rodeos and get they're opinions before buying one for yourself.