Known as the Rodeo when wearing an Isuzu badge, this midsize sport utility vehicle has also been sold in similar form at Honda dealerships as the Passport. The two vehicles are nearly identical except for minor appearance and equipment differences. Both have been built at an Isuzu plant in Lafayette, Ind., thats shared with Subaru. Honda dropped its Passport after the 2002 model year and replaced it with the new Pilot. But Isuzu continues to offer its Rodeo, which gets only a handful of changes for the 2003 model year.
Isuzus traditionally styled four-door SUV comes in S, LS and LSE trim levels. A Preferred Equipment Package is available for the S, and a Comfort Package is offered for the LS. A Special Edition Package for the LS includes 18-inch tires and Iron Gray lower body trim. An optional Chrome Package for the LS adds 18-inch chrome-alloy wheels, tubular side steps and Isuzus Intelligent Suspension Control system. The Rodeo has been reasonably popular, with 54,807 units sold during 2001, according to Automotive News.
Stretching to 177.5 inches long overall, the four-door Rodeo rides a 106.4-inch wheelbase and measures 66.4 inches tall and 70.4 inches wide. A tailgate at the rear swings open to the left. The back window swings up separately and must be opened before the tailgate. The Rodeos spare tire mounts inside on the base S version but goes outside (or may be stowed underneath the rear of the vehicle) on four-wheel-drive (4WD) models. A power sunroof and fog lights are installed on the upscale LSE edition.
All Rodeos seat five occupants on two front buckets and a three-place, 60/40-split rear bench that folds to produce additional cargo room. A cassette stereo and intermittent wipers are standard. Moving up to the LS model adds air conditioning, remote keyless entry, and power windows, door locks and heated mirrors. Leather upholstery and a six-CD changer are part of the top-of-the-line LSE version.
Under the Hood
The Rodeo may be equipped with either a 130-horsepower, 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine or a 205-hp, 3.2-liter V-6. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) and 4WD are available. The base S model with RWD uses the four-cylinder engine, while other models get the V-6. All are available with either a four-speed-automatic or five-speed-manual transmission. The Chrome Package includes electronic ride control, called Intelligent Suspension Control, which adjusts suspension firmness to one of 17 settings.
Antilock brakes are standard on RWD models, and all-disc antilock brakes are standard on 4WD versions. Side-impact airbags are not available.