The step-in height for the 1999 Isuzu Rodeo is lower than most other midsize SUVs, so entry and exit is a lot easier for the Rodeo than for its rivals. The rear door in particular allows passengers to enter with relative ease, although it could have been improved with a wider opening angle. The low cowl and hood line provide excellent forward visibility, but the optional spare tire is an obstacle for the driver’s rear visibility. The new side-opening tailgate also has a confusing opening system that requires two hands, which is quite a nuisance.
The 1999 Isuzu Rodeo may be fitted with a 2.2-liter straight-four engine or a 3.2-liter V-6 engine, depending on the model. The straight-four engine deliver 130 horsepower and 144 lb-ft of torque, while the V-6 engine delivers 205 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of torque. Both engines could be mated to a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission. The suspension for the 1999 Isuzu Rodeo provides a stable and smooth ride with little bouncing and pitching, even though small bumps and irregularities cause an unpleasantly choppy ride. Large bumps and potholes are also not absorbed as well as expected, and the ride quality tends to become very harsh at such times. The four-cylinder engine is underpowered, but the lack of power is manageable with a manual transmission being used. The V-6 engine is much livelier than the straight-four engine and its previous version, and offers plenty of passing power and brisk acceleration. The automatic transmission works well with this engine for smooth and prompt gearshifts.
The 1999 Isuzu Rodeo's interior space is greater than that of the previous generation. Although there is a shortage of legroom at the rear, overall passenger room is good all around. The driver’s seat is not height adjustable, which is a feature present in most other SUVs, but the seat has been positioned so well that most people would have no problem with it. The firm and supportive seats at the front and rear are surprisingly comfortable and earn high marks for the SUV. On the other hand, the climate and audio system controls are recessed and a little out of reach for the driver. Moreover, the stereo controls are small and difficult to distinguish. Apart from these problems, the dashboard looks and feels great.
The 1999 Isuzu Rodeo received four out five stars in terms of driver and passenger safety during frontal impact collision tests conducted by the NHTSA.