2000 Rodeo New Car Test Drive
The Isuzu Rodeo is schizophrenic. Its sporty looks, sure feel, and nimble highway manners make it good city/highway vehicle. A second personality surfaces when you leave the highway behind in quest of serious off-road fun. This is one personality disorder that's very easy to live with.
Rodeos have long been solid machines that offer good value. Improvements and new features to the 2000 models make them even better. Changes include a restyled front end, improved seating, and new colors. Even more significant are a new computer-controlled suspension system and the introduction of what Isuzu claims is the longest powertrain warranty offered by any automaker in the US.
The Rodeo is available in three different trim levels: S, LS and LSE.
Two engines are available. All models except the base model come equipped with a 3.2-liter V6. A four-speed automatic transmission is a $1,000 option on S and LS models, but comes standard on LSE.
Isuzu's 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine is only available on the base S model with two-wheel drive and a five-speed manual gearbox.
Standard equipment on all Rodeos includes power steering, four-wheel antilock brakes, dual air bags, tinted glass, cargo area side boxes, and skid plates under the radiator and fuel tank. The base S model is equipped with a four-speaker AM/FM/cassette stereo. V6 models add cruise control and a tilt steering wheel. Four-wheel-drive models add a transfer case skid plate. The spare tire is mounted under the floor on two-wheel-drive models and on the tailgate on four-wheel-drive models.
LS 2WD ($23,435) models include power mirrors, variable speed intermittent windshield wipers, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, 6-speaker AM/FM/cassette stereo, retractable cargo cover, cargo convenience net, front and rear floor mats, remote keyless entry, theft alarm, color-keyed carpeted floormats, and a useful power outlet in the cargo area by the back door. Rodeo LS 4WD ($26,120) models also get a limited-slip rear differential.
The luxurious LSE ($28,790 for 2WD, $31,265 for 4WD) comes with Isuzu's new Intelligent Suspension Control system, leather trimmed seats and door panels, wood grain trim, a six-speaker AM/FM/cassette/6-disk CD changer stereo, power moonroof, alloy wheels, fog lamps, privacy glass, color-keyed trim and roof rack crossbars.
An optional Ironman Package ($1,052) is available on Rodeo LS models that commemorates Isuzu's sponsorship of the Ironman Triathlon race. Ironman LS models feature the Intelligent Suspension Control system; special beige velour upholstery; moonroof; Ironman Triathlon badging; Titan Gray trim, overfenders, and molding; 6-spoke alloy wheels; and Yokohama 245/70R-16 tires.