Dated structure, ABS is not standard, anemic 4-cylinder engine
All 4WD models get a standard shift-on-the-fly transfer case, and improvements have been made to reduce noise, vibration and harshness.
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 1997 Isuzu Rodeo S V6 4dr SUV and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.26 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Isuzu's Rodeo is getting a bit long in the tooth. Only mild updates have accompanied new model years since midseason 1995, when Isuzu added airbags for the driver and front passenger housed in a redesigned dashboard, roof-mounted speakers that expanded available cargo space in the revised interior, plus an improved stereo system. The new dashboard, designed with assistance from Honda, replaced the old unit with an organically swept affair complete with more legible gauges and improved ergonomics.
This year is no different. Isuzu puts the finishing touches on the first-generation Rodeo with standard shift-on-the-fly operation for 4WD models that can be engaged at speeds up to 62 mph and NVH improvements. Continuing from last year is optional four-wheel antilock brakes and two trim levels; basic S and more luxurious LS.
Rodeos are spacious for five inside, and V6 models have a swing-out spare tire that creates even greater elbow room. The rear seat folds flat, resulting in a long cargo floor, but the clamshell tailgate design makes it difficult to access the back of the cargo area easily. Fortunately, the rear glass will open independently. Oddly, the only way to get a 60/40 split folding rear seat is to order a top-of-the-line LS model; not very convenient, or sensible. Options include side steps and a brush grille guard.
Road noise might be a drawback, though the 3.2-liter V6 engine is quiet-running and strong with either five-speed manual shift or the available four-speed automatic transmission. A 2.6-liter four-cylinder engine, delivering 70 fewer horses, powers the two-wheel-drive S edition, which comes only with manual shift. Automatic transmissions have Power and Winter modes, the latter starting off in third gear to reduce wheelspin on slippery pavements. Towing capacity is 4,500 pounds with the V6 engine, but only a ton with the four-cylinder.
Anyone seeking a capable blend of comfortable highway ride and tempting off-road talents could do well to look for an Isuzu dealer, though buyers may want to wait for the all-new, completely redesigned 1998 Rodeo. Comparison shoppers beware; Honda markets a version of the Rodeo and calls it the Passport. The Passport tends to be a bit more expensive, and doesn't come with as comprehensive a warranty. For those reasons, we suggest you stick with a Rodeo.
Read what other owners think about the Used 1997 Isuzu Rodeo.
I've owned this truck for about 7 years and had no major issues of any kind. Just general maintenance, brakes, etc. Please do not save money on oil and this car may run for up to 200000 miles. Mine has approx 140000 miles, my friend has Trooper with over 200000 miles and it is still going strong. Use Castrol synthetic blend 5w/30 for your high mileage Isuzu truck.
4.38 out of 5 stars
There is no place it can't go.
1997 Isuzu Rodeo S V6 4dr SUV 4WD
Boxed ladder frame, skid plates, limited-slip Dana 44 rear differential. I assumed it to be a perfect off-road capable truck. I was correct! I have been to many Off-Road trails in Utah and Colorado without a breakdown. Recently took it up Wheelers Lake in Colorado. The included skid plates did come in handy. And, unlike some of me wheeling friends, I drove to/on/from the trail in … the Rodeo. Great daily driver too, only minus is the fuel economy in the city. Ground clearance could be better but that can be fixed with the many lift-kits available. A few of my firends with Jeeps have traded up to Rodeos. I couldn't be happier with this truck.
4.63 out of 5 stars
1997 Isuzu Rodeo LS 4dr SUV
I've had this Rodeo for going on 9 years, and have not had a single mechanical problem. It drives great, the engine is perfect (mechanics comment on it all the time), and is fun to drive. Not the best gas mileage, but it is an SUV. Highly recommend!
5 out of 5 stars
Under rated workhorse
1997 Isuzu Rodeo S V6 4dr SUV 4WD
I purchased this gem in 2000 with only 14k on the odometer. I currently have 172k on it now. I have used it for traveling across country with my family, camping trips and of course, done some serious off-roading. I have only had minor repairs I have made to the truck, brakes, hoses, belts, timing belt and tensioner, alternator and battery, mostly wear items. This has been , by far, the … most durable and reliable vehicle I have ever owned. Fantastic truck!
We have a limited number of reviews for the 1997 Isuzu Rodeo, so we've included reviews for other years of the Rodeo since its last redesign.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
Driver4 / 5
Passenger3 / 5
Side Crash Rating
Side Barrier Rating
Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
Front SeatNot Rated
Back SeatNot Rated
Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
Side Impact Test
Roof Strength Test
Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
Moderate Overlap Front Test
More about the 1997 Isuzu Rodeo
Used 1997 Isuzu Rodeo Overview
The Used 1997 Isuzu Rodeo is offered in the following submodels: Rodeo SUV. Available styles include S V6 4dr SUV, LS 4dr SUV, LS 4dr SUV 4WD, S V6 4dr SUV 4WD, and S 4dr SUV.
Pre-owned Isuzu Rodeo models are available with a 3.2 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 190 hp, depending on engine type.
The Used 1997 Isuzu Rodeo comes with rear wheel drive, and four wheel drive.
Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic.
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