2002 Isuzu Rodeo Sport Review

Pros & Cons

  • Hard or soft-top option, youthful appeal, attractive design.
  • Excessive engine noise, sub-par suspension and handling, cramped interior.
Other years
Isuzu Rodeo Sport for Sale
List Price Estimate
$874 - $1,770

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A somewhat-charming specialty SUV let down by sloppy handling dynamics and an unrefined interior.

Vehicle overview

Looking for a fairly affordable vehicle that offers a sporty personality, decent off-road skills and the possibility of open-top excitement? The Isuzu Rodeo Sport could be the vehicle for you.

Formerly known as the Amigo, the Rodeo Sport comes in a multitude of configurations including a hard or soft top, two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, four-cylinder or V6, and manual or automatic transmission.

When you're out for a jaunt in the sun, the soft top can be stored in the cargo area, while the hardtop features a rear passenger moonroof for maximum UV exposure. A hard plastic spare tire cover is standard with the 16-inch wheels.

Powering the base Rodeo Sport is a 2.2-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine that pumps out 130 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque. The more powerful 3.2-liter V6 engine, the same one found under the hood of its four-door Rodeo sibling, makes 205 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. Four-wheel drive models have a dash-mounted switch that engages the shift-on-the-fly transfer case at speeds up to 60 mph.

While on-road ride quality is better than a Jeep Wrangler's, it's still a generally unpleasant affair. The Rodeo Sport handles sloppily and does not inspire confidence in the vehicle's abilities. Disconcertingly light steering, a shaky ride and sub-par brakes all contribute to the sensation that this SUV shouldn't be taken to the limit. Its short wheelbase (96.9 inches), however, does make it easy to maneuver around town and into parking spaces.

Four-wheel ABS is standard on all models, with cruise control standard on V6 editions. You'll also get driver and passenger airbags and rear bench seats that fold down to reveal more than 62 cubic feet of space. Power windows, locks, air conditioning, keyless entry and a CD player are all available options. If you're worried about durability, know that all Isuzus come with a transferable 10-year/120,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Blithely fun-loving individuals might be willing to overlook Rodeo Sport's flaws in favor of its sunny demeanor and truck-based utility. The four-wheel-drive model offers a viable alternative to those who crave the Jeep Wrangler's off-road ability and youthful appeal, but appreciate Isuzu's slightly more refined design and comparatively quiet cabin. For buyers looking for a cute-ute with genuine off-road ability who don't mind putting up with stunted on-road performance, the Rodeo Sport might be the answer. But we recommend taking a close look at some of the other small SUVs on the market and going on a few test-drives before settling for this warmed-over Amigo.

2002 Highlights

Other than new 16-inch wheels, Isuzu's two-door Rodeo Sport SUV is unchanged for 2002.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2002 Isuzu Rodeo Sport.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

best liitle SUV ever!
S V6 Soft Top 2WD 2dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 4A)
i got this little monster 2 1/2yrs ago with 52000miles on it and still loving it since that very day i took this out from the dealership. its really fun to drive and good looking SUV. took it for 1300miles long drive and there was never been a problem. looks a little bit deceiving 'coz size-wise its smaller, but with a 3.2 V6 engine somebody will eat my little monster's dusts. did all the maintenance by myself from oil change, air filters, sparkplugs, coolant and tire rotations and everything works perfect. the gas mileage ratio is just 18miles a gal, but who cares about it if you're loving it. i'll keep this little monster the next 3 years.
Truck based SUV
S V6 Hard Top 2WD 2dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 4A)
I have driven this for 3 years now and I absolutely love it. In FL we have lots of summer rain storms where having a truck-based SUV comes in handy. It accelerates like no other SUV I have ever driven (Power speed button at your finger tip). The HP is amazing. The removable sunroofs are the best feature. Don't buy a girly car based SUV like a CR-V. Buy an Isuzu Rodeo Sport. I have driven my in laws CR-V several dozen times and it simply does not compare. I have have done nothing but routine maint. in 3 years of ownership.
Overall an "A"
Larry B,06/24/2002
S V6 Hard Top 2WD 2dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 4A)
Purchased my Rodeo Sport for all the right reasons. I wanted the power of the V6 but better responsiveness than a sluggish larger type SUV. I feel it combines the best of both worlds.
An Amigo by any other name...
S V6 Soft Top 4WD 2dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 4A)
Ever like how a car looks but HATE the way it drives? That's how I feel about my Amigo/Rodeo Sport. I think the design is great, but definitely less than the sum of its parts. On paper, the car has impressive hardware but the execution is poor. The resale value is terrible! My 2000 Amigo depreciated from $22K to $12K in 20 months! The ride is harsh, atrocious 14 mpg city, rear visibility blocked by tire/rear seat headrests, seats are uncomfortable, driver legroom is tight, factory sound system poor, and rear end hops around on bumps - dangerous when it happens on curves. Whatever you call it, it's not a very good buy. I would not buy another Isuzu product.


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2002 Isuzu Rodeo Sport

Used 2002 Isuzu Rodeo Sport Overview

The Used 2002 Isuzu Rodeo Sport is offered in the following submodels: Rodeo Sport SUV. Available styles include S V6 Hard Top 4WD 2dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 4A), S Hard Top 2WD 2dr SUV (2.2L 4cyl 4A), S V6 Hard Top 2WD 2dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 4A), S V6 Soft Top 4WD 2dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 4A), S Soft Top 2WD 2dr SUV (2.2L 4cyl 5M), S V6 Soft Top 2WD 2dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 4A), and S Hard Top 2WD 2dr SUV (2.2L 4cyl 5M). Pre-owned Isuzu Rodeo Sport models are available with a 3.2 L-liter gas engine or a 2.2 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 205 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2002 Isuzu Rodeo Sport comes with four wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic. The Used 2002 Isuzu Rodeo Sport comes with a 3 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 10 yr./ 120000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Isuzu Rodeo Sport?

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Which used 2002 Isuzu Rodeo Sports are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2002 Isuzu Rodeo Sport for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2002 Isuzu Rodeo Sport.

Can't find a used 2002 Isuzu Rodeo Sports you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

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Should I lease or buy a 2002 Isuzu Rodeo Sport?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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