19 December 2006
Author: Steve Banner
|Price:|| £15,990 - £20,990 (est)|
|Key rival:|| Mitsubishi L200|
Isuzu has revamped its Rodeo 4x4 pick-up, equipping it with a 2.5-litre common-rail diesel pumping out 136PS.
The engine produces 35PS more than the 2.5-litre previously fitted and 5.5PS more than the old model's 3.0-litre diesel, and is married to a new five-speed manual gearbox.
And in an unusual move for the light commercial market, Isuzu has given fuel economy figures for the Rodeo, quoting a combined figure of 34.9mpg.
External and internal styling changes can be described as more of a tidy-up than a major redesign. A new bumper, bonnet, grille and wings have been fitted, while projector-type high-intensity headlamps are said to offer 50% better illumination than the lights previously fitted. Internally, a new instrument panel has been installed and the centre console, steering wheel, air vents, and door and seat trim have been changed. However, dashboard-mounted switches still allow you to select either two- or four-wheel-drive while travelling at up to 60mph.
The Rodeo will initially be sold in the UK as a 4x4 four-door five-seater Double Cab, probably with at least three different levels of specification. Importer IM Group may decide to add 4x2 Double Cabs and Single Cabs to the line-up in the future, but has no plans to market the 4x4 Single Cab here.
The 4x4 2.5-litre Double Cab was not available at the Thailand launch. However, a 4x2 version, along with a 4x4 Double Cab powered by the 163PS 3.0-litre diesel that's been launched in other markets but is unlikely to appear here in the near future, both were. Sampling both gave a reasonable indication of what the UK-bound model's capabilities are likely to be.
Responsive steering helps make the on-the-road handling safe and predictable. The solidly constructed Rodeo rides well, too, with none of the hopping about traditionally associated with unladen 4x4 pick-ups. Engine noise is muted, but wind noise and road roar were a touch too intrusive in the 2.5-litre we tried.
Obviously, the 3.0-litre offers the best performance, but the 2.5-litre is no slowcoach, displaying strong acceleration through the gears and an ability to cruise quite happily at motorway speeds.
All IM Group needs to do now is get the Isuzu name better known. With rival pick-up makers Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Mazda and Toyota all enjoying a much higher public profile, the Rodeo may struggle to gain the attention it deserves - and that would be a pity.