On the road
It is not only this truck’s looks that are stunning – I was genuinely shocked to see that nigh on two tonnes of beefcake and all that kit comes at such a low price.
It’s a package that none of the other manufacturers can match on price and could well sway buyers towards it.
Climbing aboard, the dashboard, knobs and switches are all of Tonka toy proportions that befit the Rodeo and the leather seats are soft and figure-hugging, although I did feel that tubbier characters might find them tight.
There is a reasonable amount of room for rear seat passengers and the cab in general feels more car than van.
There are some nice silvery touches round the switches and trim and the sat-nav unit is a touchscreen one which can be understood without going to college first and gaining a degree in electronics.
In the back, the bottom section of the tailgate folds down to make a solid base for sitting on or sliding loads in.
The load liner means the rear end can be hosed out after carrying dirty loads.
The engine fires up with a nice meaty thrum and then settles down to a gruffle that doesn’t intrude into the cab.
The floor-mounted gearshift proves slick and sure although on motorway surfaces the steering feels a bit vague and uncommunicative.
But there is certainly none of the old problems of hard suspension that these trucks used to suffer.
My workmate and I managed two 150 mile non-stop journeys with no back pains and twinges.
It’s nice to see that changes into four wheel drive can be made with the press of a button and although we didn’t exactly take things to extremes, the bit of off-roading we managed saw this vehicle behaving admirably.
The classy exterior of the Rodeo may lead some to believe that it isn’t up to the dirtier jobs.
But during our test week, it proved a pretty tough cookie and a credible alternative to the more mainstream offers.