I bought this car new in 2003 for my wife. Having owned a 1994 Rodeo with 180,000 with no problems I knew this was the way to go and I wasn't let down. Our 03 rodeo now has 130,000 miles and still drives like new. We've performed regular oil changes and had a new timing belt installed at 70,000 miles. (not because it was giving us problems, that's just what you do at $70,000 miles) but that's it! This car has never been in the shop. This car is so inexpensive to own and maintain. You simply can't beat a rodeo!
Bought this vehicle brand new at the dealership. I got 13-15mph from day 1, no matter how I drove it. About 3 months ago, the low oil light came on. I immediately pulled over, checked the level, and added 4 quarts to bring it to full. For a 5 quart engine, to warn with only 1 quart in the engine is just a little too little. Since that day, I checked the engine every time I started it up for the day and had the oil pan gasket replaced. The engine started making a rapping noise on the day the oil got that low. Since then it has gotten worse and worse. The mechanic told me that it was just the lifters making a little noise. Yesterday the engine seized while driving. Not happy!
An oil warning light that comes on when it is supposed to.
My rodeo never could keep oil in engine. Did not leak on driveway and even tho routine oil changes were performed, the engine light did NOT come on to warn about low oil in between routine changes. Crank shaft in engine blew and beautiful well built vehicle dead. Would have kept this truck forever, but ended up being a nightmare to own.
I've owned my Rodeo since late 2002, using it as a work vehicle. Overall, it's been a dependable work truck with good gas mileage and plenty of ground clearance. So far, I've put 104,000 miles on it with few problems. It's easy to work on, but hasn't needed much repair so far.
8" of ground clearance is helpful for off-road work. The full size spare is also helpful - no need to run to the tire shop immediately if you get a flat.
The interior trim is a little cheap - the rear cup holder broke fairly quickly. The little 4-cylinder motor is a gas sipper, but makes the truck underpowered for acceleration.
Very dependable. Great rear bumper is a 6 inch wide rest, a shelf or a seat when tailgate is open (like no other SUV has). Also, because back window lifts up separate from the tailgate, I can carry 12 ft long pipes and lumber just extending 2 feet out the back window while it is nearly all the way down. The seats lay down as a flat surface unlike most SUVs that leave the passenger seats at an angle when folded downward. CONS: I notice that the paint chips at each rock dent (lacks flexibility) then quickly rusts underneath. Tires squeal in tight turns even at idle speed. What other compact SUV is built to tow over 4000 pounds? It pulls a 17' fiberglass boat easily on road or in & out of ramps.
My '03 came with a 6 cd changer, all functions right at the dash and very accessible. With the power seats and the optional leather, it challenges my BMW 5 series in luxury and without a hugh trans hump restricting passenger leg room.
The name Rodeo sounds like a kid's car or first time low budget starter. It is indeed a sufficiently adequate and powerful utility SUV and should have a more respectable name.