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Holden Rodeo
diesel 4x4 crew cab
road test

It all adds up to a great package!

This time out the Next Car team takes the 3.0 litre intercooled turbo diesel Holden Rodeo LX crew cab for a test. The unit was fitted with an alloy tray and 5 speed manual transmission. Automatic transmission is available as an option as is a utility body.

Let's be clear straight away, I like driving the Rodeo. It has car like ride and road handling qualities equal to or better than its competitors. In standard guise straight from your Holden dealer, the Rodeo will go where ever you want to go ..... be it to the bush, the desert or just around the town.

The LX is the lower specification model on offer in 4x4 crewcabs and as such does not benefit with some of the features many drivers want, i.e. power windows and mirrors, which are included in the LT version. The LX model does have an AM/FM radio with a single disc CD player and an automatic up/down antenna. The front bucket seats are quite comfortable and offer very good support. Seating for a total of five, all with retractable lap/sash seat belts is standard across the Rodeo range of crew cabs. The rear doors open wide for ease of entry/egress and an anchor point for a baby capsule/seat is provided. Child proof rear door locks are also fitted. Remote keyless central locking is featured on all models in the 4x4 crew cab range.

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Holden Rodeo 4x4 crew cab
Location: Mt. Sugarloaf NSW

Rodeo LX crew cab 4x4 is not a lightweight unit, tipping the weighbridge scales at just a little under 1,900 kg. Towing capacity is 2,000 kg for a trailer fitted with brakes, the correct towing hitch and equaliser (rated to 2,000 kgs). Ball down weight is 200 kg.

The Rodeo is a vehicle with features and capabilities that make it attractive for both work and play. It is an ideal trades use vehicle with good ground clearance for going on to rough building sites in new developments with unformed roads, Rodeo is quite at home here.

As a recreational vehicle with go anywhere capabilities, you can start right now to choose a destination. For example, camping trips or sightseeing ventures are only limited to your imagination.

Recreational users may consider fitting a dual battery system and towing an off road camper trailer. But limit yourself to your driving experience and capacity. A long range fuel tank is also worthy of consideration. But check with your dealer to determine if it will void any warranty. Standard fuel capacity is 76 litres on all versions (petrol and diesel) of the Rodeo.

The diesel powered Rodeo develops 96 kilowatts (kW) at 3,800 rpm and 280 Newton metres (Nm) at 2,000 rpm which offers a good power to weight set-up. Performance is quite lively, through the gears, once you're underway, with the 5 speed gearbox offering smooth shifts and good ratios. Initially, though, take-off from a standing start is just a little on the slow side.

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Holden Rodeo 4x4 crew cab
Location: Mt. Sugarloaf NSW

Click the image for a larger view

Four wheel drive selection is a dash mounted push button system, with shift on the fly capabilities, meaning that you can select high range 4WD from 2WD without leaving the cab, even whilst driving, to lock-in the front hubs. How good is that? Particularly in inclement weather, it is ideal, that's how good it is. A limited slip differential (lsd) keeps power to the rear wheels or whichever wheel has surface contact, a must if you operate or travel in or on slippery surfaces. Unformed roads? Not a problem here. In fact, the Rodeo was quite at ease in demonstrating its off-road capabilities.

As mentioned, the Rodeo LX test unit was fitted with an alloy tray which, when not carrying a load, rattled. My choice, if I had a tray back, would be to opt for a steel and timber type, as it has fewer rattles. In my opinion it looks better if the steel is colour keyed to the vehicle body. The timber could be stained. My preference for recreational use, though, is the utility back.

The team traveled 786 kms over a period of one week, around the city, along freeways and onto rough dirt tracks. The Rodeo did not falter and I could not find fault in the capability of this vehicle. Rack and pinion steering directs the vehicle to where you want to go, independent wishbone arms with coil springs at the front and semi-elliptical leaf springs with pressurised gas shock absorbers keeps the rear end on the road.

The Rodeo LX Crewcab 4x4 utility offers good value for money and with a wide range of options available you can make your Rodeo into a head turner.

Like I also said earlier, “I like it”. Rodeo is currently Holden’s best selling commercial vehicle and rightly so. In my opinion, the Rodeo is well worthy of your consideration if you're seeking a capable 4x4 ute. The diesel offers good power, the road manners of the Rodeo are enviable and a roomy cabin is provided. And off-road it is great!

On that basis, I'm going to look for another Rodeo drive!

Ken Walker
9th January, 2006

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Holden Rodeo 4x4 crew cab
Location: Mt. Sugarloaf NSW

Click the image for a larger view


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