Used 1997 Isuzu Rodeo SUV

1997 Isuzu Rodeo
List price range
1997 Isuzu Rodeo


  • Rear leg room, rugged styling, dual airbags


  • Dated structure, ABS is not standard, anemic 4-cylinder engine

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

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.

1997 Highlights

All 4WD models get a standard shift-on-the-fly transfer case, and improvements have been made to reduce noise, vibration and harshness.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Isuzu Rodeo.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Runs like new at 168,000 miles
I purchased my 1997 V6 Isuzu Rodeo with 108,000 miles on it. Currently I am at 168,000 miles and it runs perfectly. I change the oil every 3,000 miles and it doesn't use any oil between changes. I've replaced the starter and alternator and brakes. Runs great on the highway as well as in town. I run BF Goodrich All Terrain tires on it and have pulled quite a few vehicles out of snow drifts. I think the only complaint I have is the frail design of the cup holder. The body has no rust and the finish of the paint still looks new. This truck is my daily driver and I'm curious to see how many miles I can put on it. 200,000 miles will be no problem.
Great little truck!
I have experienced absolutely no problems whatsoever with my Isuzu Rodeo. She's great in the snow. (Fantastic in the snow. (We even had to pull out a Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Durango during the last blizzard.)
Very good, reliable truck
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.
Great truck
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!
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Features & Specs

14 city / 17 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
190 hp @ 5600 rpm
15 city / 17 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
190 hp @ 5600 rpm
15 city / 17 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
190 hp @ 5600 rpm
15 city / 17 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
190 hp @ 5600 rpm
See all Used 1997 Isuzu Rodeo SUV features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
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 1997 Isuzu Rodeo
Used 1997 Isuzu Rodeo SUV Overview

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Find a used Isuzu Rodeo for sale - 4 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $14,777.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Isuzu Rodeo?

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.

Check out Isuzu lease specials
Check out Isuzu Rodeo lease specials