Phil Weeden – editorial director
Phil Weeden editorial director I’d been looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the Rodeo. When we acquired the company Mazda BT-50 pick-up in 2008, the Rodeo was firmly on our shortlist. It’s better looking than the Mazda and the 3.0-litre turbo diesel feels uber strong, with a purposeful induction roar, a decent turn of speed, plenty of traction and reasonable refinement on the motorway. Only a killer lease price made us choose the Mazda over the Isuzu in the end.
It’s been well documented in previous reports from Hils and Bob that we’re not fans of all the chrome accoutrements, and I certainly agree. The grille is fine, but the tail-light trims look a little tacky in my view and the sidesteps look too bulky as well as prohibiting the Rodeo’s otherwise excellent off-road ability. What a pity that the market for these pick-ups seems to be dictating this level of bling…
The interior is what we’d expect from a vehicle of this price and market; I like the dials, especially their illumination, and the leather seats are rather pleasant. Again, in agreement with previous testimonies, I simply couldn’t get on board with the sat nav, integrated ICE set-up. We headed down to London one Saturday morning and within a mile I’d pulled over to set up tackling all the annoying beeps and chimes it was making. We managed to silence the voice guidance and the bongs that occurred with every key stroke. While safety clearly is important, the fact that you can only input a new destination with the truck completely stationary and the handbrake selected is frustrating, while the time it takes to boot up once the engine has been cranked is ridiculous. My virus-ridden laptop fires up sooner! It is truly one of the worst sat nav systems I’ve ever used. Anyway, having spoken to Isuzu’s product manager in the UK, I’m reliably informed that this unit has been replaced from the 2010.5 MY with a better Clarion system.
Our journey to London was to collect an old Edwardian coat stand that once belonged to my late grandmother. It’s probably about Kev Baldwin-type height, so it didn’t quite fit into the loadbed. We, therefore, had to stick its legs out of the top half of the load hatch, with the tailgate of the Alpha hardtop securely tethered down with some rope.
While it’s cumbersome round corners, and the gear change is a tad mechanical, overall I’m really impressed with the Rodeo. It feels strong, tough and more than man enough for most tasks that could be thrown at it.
Model: Isuzu Rodeo
Spec: Denver Max LE
Recent costs: None
Arrived: March ’10