I bought a 1994 Isuzu Rodeo LS with the manual tranny back in December, 2005 from a dealer in the countryside town of Lancaster, PA. This dealer had serviced this SUV for the original owner who traded it in. The vehicle had 112,000 miles and cost me $2700. It came with custom American Racing chrome wheels and 4 brand-new 235/75X15 ELDORADO SPORT FURY tires (I'd never heard of these before, but they were new, which saved me bucks).
So far, all I can say is GREAT! It's been in snow here in Pennsylvania and off-road a bit, and the 4X4 is excellent. The auto-locking hubs engage and dis-engage very well. I know others who own this same year and model with the automatic tranny, who wish they too had the manual tranny.
As I said, it was dealer-serviced and maintained, and lived in a garage... and it shows it. The original owner really took care of this vehicle. It has an impressive-looking front grille-guard installed, as well as well-placed aluminum running boards, which are mounted high enough to not interfere when off-road. The exterior looks great, and the interior is in excellent shape with no visible wear on the seats, including the driver’s seat. It has manual windows and door locks (which is okay, since it seems all cars with electric windows and locks start having very expensive problems after about eight years).
The engine is very quiet and does not click or tap at all. We’ve had a fairly mild winter here in southeastern Pennsylvania, in that it didn’t become bitterly cold. Probably, the coldest has been around 15 degrees in the morning. The Rodeo starts right up every morning. It uses about 1 quart of oil per 1200 miles (no smoking at all except under hard acceleration), doesn't leak anything, and now has 119,000 miles.
It was last inspected by the dealer in November of 2005 (PA has an annual inspection law, requiring a vehicle to pass a mechanical test and an emissions test).
My only concern is that the gearing in the 5-speed gearbox is too narrow. When I shift to 5th gear, I always wish there was a 6th gear for highway cruising, which would keep my RPM down.
This SUV is fun to drive and easy to park. So far, I'm quite pleased.