1999 Isuzu Rodeo Review

Pros & Cons

  • Stylish interior, rugged exterior, roomy rear seat.
  • Disconnected steering feel, lousy 4WD button placement.
List Price Estimate
$836 - $1,679

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Choices in the compact sport-utility class are numerous. Figuring out which truck best meets your needs almost always requires a compromise of some sort or another. The closest thing to perfect in this price range has been the lower trim levels of the Ford Explorer, and spectacular sales of this popular SUV prove that buyers find its combination of room, style and power the best in the segment.

The Explorer is a fine sport-ute, but there's another face in this neighborhood that deserves consideration. Enter the Isuzu Rodeo, which was completely redesigned last year, adding modern styling, a user-friendly interior, more V6 power and extra passenger and cargo room.

The Rodeo's interior provides cupholders, excellent ergonomics, the industry's most perfectly designed steering wheel, and plastic trim that looks anything but cheap. Clamber aboard and head for the hills; it's easy to thwart nature's obstacles with push-button 4WD and standard antilock brakes.

Buyers can select a hatchback that lifts up from top to bottom or a hatchgate, which employs flip-up glass and a tailgate that swings from right to left. The full-size spare tire can be stored under the vehicle or on the hatchgate. Three trim levels are available: S, LS and LSE. The basic Rodeo has two-wheel drive and a weak 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine. Step up to the S V6 and a 205-horsepower, 3.2-liter unit whisks you along with verve.

At the top of the complaint list about the truck is the absurd location of the push-button 4WD switch, located directly next to the cruise control button, where it could be activated accidentally. Off-road, the new Isuzu feels somewhat undersprung, but takes bumps and dips easily if speeds are kept to a minimum. Front bucket seats are quite uncomfortable over the long haul, though rear seat riders enjoy a supportive bench seat and plenty of leg room.

For 1999, Isuzu added a gold trim package to the Rodeo LSE's option list and enhanced rear window defrosters with a timer. All V6 models receive a more powerful 90-amp alternator and a tilt steering wheel, while four-wheel drive versions get a limited-slip differential.

The Rodeo is an excellent blend of old-fashioned truck toughness and modern day car-like convenience. If you're looking for a new $30,000 SUV, this one should be on your shopping list.

1999 Highlights

Isuzu juggles minor standard and optional equipment for 1999, making items from last year's S V6 preferred equipment package standard on the LS, and last year's LS equipment standard on a new trim level called LSE.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1999 Isuzu Rodeo.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Had Her for 16 Years Still Going Strong!!!
IsuzuDude,09/10/2015
LSE 4dr SUV
Year: 1999 Rodeo 2wd Engine: 3.2L V6, Manual Transmission Mileage: 326207 Any major problems: None I bought Her reluctantly brand new with only 40 miles on Her. I had just started a new job (which turned out to be my career), college and my son was 3 at the time. My dad told me I should get a more reliable vehicle and he picked it out and said he would help with the down payment if I got it. I hated it. Did not want a stick shift although I did want an SUV. So I bought it. It turned out to be the best purchase of my life. Watched my son grow up from his car seat to the driver seat in Her, and She carried my second son home from the hospital when he was born in 06. I kept Her up pretty faithfully with my oil changes and tune ups. I have to do a better job with flushing and replacing coolant and transmission fluids; I have done that at about 2x. But NO MAJOR PROBLEMS. Just got a new catalytic converter in 2013 costed me $600 just to pass smog. Other than that I did most of the work myself starter 2x, alternator once, fuel pump, and brakes once (just the front never had to do the back ones yet). Had the AC compressor replaced a couple times, after this summer it may need it again. The fuel gauge had been broken for years but just replaced the fuel pump a couple months ago and it is working now. I have used Her as a commuter from Sacramento to the SF bay area for 6 years. She is still my commuter but now I only work 30 miles away from home. Thought She was a goner a few days ago; all of a sudden She started smoking on my way to work and heard noise coming from the engine. I was sad. But turned out to be a broken Idler pulley. Got her back on the road the next day. She is still going strong, feels like I can get another 300k miles out of Her!
My perfect Mom Car
csnickie,02/17/2010
S V6 4dr SUV 4WD
I purchased a used 99 Rodeo just before I became a mom.....giving up my truck. Safety was the #1 factor, and love that it "Frame on Chassis" not unibody. Now with over 185,000 mile on it, it is still the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned. As with the rest, the gas gadge went out...drop the tank and add a new one....and it was worth my sanity. For girls who love trucks, like to 4x4 in the snow, or have to haul a trailer, I wouldn't drive anything else. Was actually rear ended by a Chevy Surburban once, and the tire on the back absorbed both the impact and damage. I also drove it to the bodyshop. As all cars, alternator, starter, h20 pump replaced. 185,000 mile though...and counting.
A dependable sturdy working ride
texas,09/29/2008
LSE 4dr SUV
I purchased my Rodeo new and have loved every minute of owning it. I have taken great care of it with regular checkups and changes. I am at 225k all orig. parts. I live in the country on a farm and work 30 miles in town and it has served me well. The great part is it is still going. I have just recently purchased a small car for work and to save on gas but have no complaints with my Rodeo. It has lived up to it's name in all aspects and I am sure it will go well over 300k.
185k and still going
zack_morris,01/28/2013
LSE 4dr SUV
Have had this car for 185k and I'm pleasantly surprised that it's still kicking. Sure, repairs have been needed, but the transmission and engine are still good. The 2 major issues were a defect where the steering column wore through a brake line (covered under warranty), and the ECM on-board computer failed at 165k, causing the engine to missfire and transmission to go wacky, took a while to troubleshoot that one. But overall I'm super pleased with the longevity, versatility, ride, cargo capacity, and perfect size in this mid-sized SUV. I'm planning to retire the old boy at 200k, and I'm having difficulty finding a similar sized SUV with a V6 and the same interior space/cargo room

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • 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
    Poor

More about the 1999 Isuzu Rodeo

Used 1999 Isuzu Rodeo Overview

The Used 1999 Isuzu Rodeo is offered in the following submodels: Rodeo SUV. Available styles include S V6 4dr SUV 4WD, S V6 4dr SUV, LS 4dr SUV 4WD, LS 4dr SUV, S 4dr SUV, LSE 4dr SUV, and LSE 4dr SUV 4WD.

What's a good price on a Used 1999 Isuzu Rodeo?

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Which used 1999 Isuzu Rodeos are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 1999 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.

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