Bought this in 2002 after reading many reviews and talking to a few different owners. I've had this vehicle for 9 years and other than normal wear and tear repairs, have not had any issues. I am still getting 23 mpg on the highway; about 19 city. As long as the routine maintenance is kept up, this vehicle has been a gem.
Every vehicle line has its lemons. Our Rodeo SE has been a solid and reliable all-round truck. I have been the only owner from 12 km and have beat it around in the snow and through the bush a lot. This year we picked up a 2700 lb (loaded) tent trailer for it to haul. After hauling the trailer fully loaded up a 12-15% minimum highway grade for about 40km, it didn't falter once. In fact it performed very well. Changing all fluids at the regular service intervals helps keep it going. If you are concerned about mileage, change your fuel filter. It's a $12 part and only takes 15- 20mins. Mine is changed yearly due to local delivery of poor fuel quality. Its like driving a new truck every year.
My parents bought my Isuzu Rodeo new in 2002 from the dealership. I inherited it when it hit 200,000 miles in 2010 (my mom commutes and we did a lot of road trips.) This little SUV has gone through Canyonlands National Park, back roading in Idaho, and has been an every day commuter since 2002. The 4 wheel drive has been excellent throughout the mountain west, and has been used as my vehicle to ski mountains since 2010. It currently has 262,000 miles on it, and while it's lost some power, and the check engine light is on, it seems to just keep on trucking. We treat it with a little more respect now - it doesn't go off roading as often, and I typically keep it in the Salt Lake valley. We have never had any serious maitenance- just a wheel bearing at 230,000 miles. For the cost, it has been probably the best value vehicle my husband I will ever own (and my parents for that matter). I keep saying it's time to get a new car, but it's just the little Rodeo that could... It looks like we will keep it until the end (who knows, it could have 40,000 more miles in it?!)
When I bought my rodeo, it already had 100,000 miles on it. I am at 168,000 now and driving strong. No problems at all except had to replace tires and alternator. And I have crack in the radiator. But other than that, it is very dependable and handles well, especially on dirt, hilly roads. I just wish it got better gas mileage, only get about 260 miles per tank now. Use to get almost 300 when I first bought it.