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!
I have owned this car for about 8 months. I think 2.2 engine is not strong enough to handle the size of vehicle. Fuel is 20.5 mpg, which is good for a SUV. It has a noise engine when you accelerate. Interior is just average, it could be much better.
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.
I looked at the Rodeo because a millionaire friend of mine loved his. I test drove it and loved it. It has been unbelievably reliable and trouble free. It has 55,000 miles in 2 1/2 years and runs like new. I haven't put a dime into it.