Driven: 2020 Isuzu Mu-X 4x2
The Isuzu Mu-X was first manufactured in 1989, with the terms ‘MU’ standing for ‘Mysterious Utility’. Now more than three decades later, Isuzu continues to keep the Mu-X heritage alive. The only problem however is that the SUV market has grown drastically in demand, with other brands pulling out all the stops to compete with their competitors. Considering this, Isuzu has stepped up their game by introducing a new facelifted Mu-X, and we recently got the opportunity to experience its changes.
In terms of the exterior changes, Isuzu has made slight tweaks here and there. Does it see a whole new change in terms of an outside appearance? We think not. It does however come featured with a new restyled front, the bold radiator grille adding a more modern flair. At the rear bumper, gloss black inserts can be seen on the lower section. The new Mu-X also benefits from new taillights, as well as two-tone roof rails which creates a more modernized look for the Mu-X. In terms of wheels, the Mu-X gets new 18-inch gloss-black diamond cut wheels, which I must say looks good paired with the new gloss black finish on the side steps.
New model, same engine?
Isuzu has said that this is a refreshed Mu-X, but keeping the same engine, with no power upgrades at all was a little disappointing. The Mu-X does keep its rock solid 3.0-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine, which produces 130kw and 380Nm of torque. It comes paired with its familiar 6-speed automatic transmission and a sport mode. The Mu-X does feel heavy and a little lazy on the road but it does get going after a while. With rivals such as the Toyota having a lower 2.8-litre engine and a more powerful output of 150kW, one cannot help but feel that the Mu-X slacking in this regard but remember that this is a facelift and not a completely new model.
On the inside of the Mu-X, some subtle refreshments have been made. A piano black finish can be seen throughout the cabin. While the steering wheel controls have also been updated. Inside, the Mu-X does offer a comfortable and modern interior. It even comes with new ambient lighting in the door trims, which certainly makes for a more luxurious experience. At the centre, we have easy to use 8-inch colour touchscreen display that provides Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, making long trips more entertaining. A rear-facing camera also comes standard, which certainly in handy when parking this massive seven-seater.
In terms of safety, the Mu-X borrows the Brake Override System from D-MAX. This system helps reduce the vehicle's stopping distance in the case of an emergency. Other safety features include Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Emergency Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Hill Start Assist (HSA), and Hill Descent Control.
The Isuzu Mu-X may have seen some updates but it is very subtle in our opinion. In fact, to call it an update maybe a bit of an overstatement. It seems that Isuzu is simply trying to remind us that the Mu-X is still around to compete, and with this new frenzy of SUV’s, we cannot blame them. The Isuzu Mu-X does offer a great interior, but in terms of exterior and power, it somewhat falls short of its rival, the Toyota Fortuner. Isuzu does plan to release a newer version of the Mu-X later this year, which we hope will see more changes than its current model.
Isuzu Mu-X 4x2 R630 400
Isuzu Mu-X 4x4 R698 200
Both come standard with the Isuzu Complete Care package, which consists of a 5-year/120 000km bumper-to-bumper warranty and Isuzu Roadside Assistance, a 5-year/unlimited km anti-corrosion warranty, and a 5-year/90 000km Service Plan.