1999 Rodeo New Car Test Drive
The Isuzu Rodeo looks at home near the soccer fields. It's light on its feet and easy to drive, which makes it better than average for the kind of suburban/metro duty most sport-utilities perform. And it's comfortable and nicely equipped, which makes it a great family vehicle.
Yet there is another side to the Rodeo you would never guess existed unless you ventured into rough country. A frisky V6 engine and highly capable four-wheel-drive system turns this friendly, easy-to-handle city car into a serious trailblazer that can navigate some amazingly rough territory.
Isuzu's Rodeo was completely re-engineered for 1998, the first complete change since its 1991 introduction. It's substantially more refined than the first-generation. For 1999, there's an expanded list of options, new colors, additional refinement and an all-new trim level. The keyless remote is improved.
Three models and two engines are available, but all come with dual air bags and anti-lock brakes.
The base $18,180 Rodeo S comes with two-wheel drive, a 5-speed manual gearbox and a 2.2-liter twin-cam 4-cylinder engine.
The S-V6 and LS come standard with Isuzu's 3.2-liter 24-valve twin-cam V6 and a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. An optional 4-speed automatic adds about $1,000. We drove one of these popular mid-line Rodeos and they offer a good value, balancing price, performance and features. Our $26,490 LS 4WD came with the automatic, 16-inch aluminum wheels ($200), 6-disc in-dash CD changer ($650), cargo mat ($60). With $495 destination, the total was $28,895.
At the top of the line is the new, fully loaded $30,650 LSE 4WD, which comes standard with Isuzu's 205-horsepower V6, a four-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, a supple leather interior, keyless entry, moonroof, foglights and rear power outlets. A gold trim package is available with black or white paint colors, while a new Red Palazzo Mica comes with gray leather.