When Vauxhall dropped the Brava from its line-up in 2002, Isuzu started selling it as the TF — it was a rebadged Isuzu in the first place. This gave dealers the chance to prepare themselves for the arrival of the all-new Rodeo pick-up in late 2003. Rodeo is available as a single and a double cab, both with either two- or four-wheel drive.
The 4x2s retain the 2.5-litre Di turbodiesel from the TF which produces 101hp, but the 4x4s get the new 3-litre Di TD which boasts a generous 130hp and a substantial 281Nm of peak torque. The 3-litre is a development of the old 2.8-litre from the Trooper and it endows Rodeo with bags of performance.
Refinement is not one of its strong suits, however. Rack and pinion power steering is standard on all Rodeos, as is an antilock system for the front disc/rear drum brake set-up.
The load length for the single cab versions is 2,270mm, dropping to 1,380mm for the double cabs and the loading height is 690mm on the 4x2s, rising to 750mm for the four-wheel drivers. A centre-mounted handle releases the tailgate. Supported by a pair of steel struts it locks horizontally.
The cab is pretty standard for a one tonne pick-up. It’s comfortable, with a good driving position and there is no need to fiddle with a ‘gearstick’ to select four-wheel drive. It’s all done from push-buttons on the facia which control the system electronically.
Rodeo comes with a three year/ 60,000 mile warranty and servicing is every 12,000 miles.
With the launch of the Rodeo Isuzu caught up with the competition, rather than taking a giant leap forwards. A new heavily revised Rodeo Double Cab is now on sale and it brings it much closer to the top-notch competition.