More questions and answers for the Isuzu mu-X

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More questions and answers for the Isuzu mu-X

Prashirwin Naidu

Does the new Isuzu mu-X SUV stack up against its competitors? Or is it less SUV for your money? These are pertinent questions to raise.

Historically, Isuzu has catered for more commercial and bakkie segments. But now, they've broadened their horizons with their latest SUV offering, the refined Isuzu mu-X.

But it bucks the trend of being a smooth-sailing SUV. It's rugged through and through as it still follows in the footsteps of the gritty D-Max.

The Japanese firm has long been known for the durability and reliability of the vehicles they've produced thus far, like the sturdy D-Max. Of course, with much fanfare, the mu-X boasts a strong motor, ample safety features, and improved technological enhancements from its predecessor.

The new mu-X is offered with a single 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine. It comes in three variants: LS, LSE, and the top-tier ONYX. Recently, I got behind the wheel of the 3.0 LS 4x2 model.

Now, one can't argue on looks alone; it stands out. It features the latest styling updates applied to the rest of the mu-X range for 2023. It's attractive and looks the part. It follows the conventional adventure SUV design philosophy with a large and bold exterior. 

The mu-X offers a range of unique colour palettes, including five new options: Red Spinel, Mercury Silver, ONYX Black, Dolomite White, Splash White, Sapphire Blue, Santos Brown, and Obsidian Gray. Our test unit came in Silky White Pearl, which was a tad boring.

The front-end design looked stylish, incorporating wing-shaped daytime-running LED headlamps that can auto-adjust to night-time driving situations. It also features fog lamps and chrome accents that contrast neatly with the gloss black grille. I fancy the dark chrome design. It looks elegant. 

The mu-X runs on 18-inch alloy rims with standard tyres 265/R18 towards the side. 

In terms of wheel sizes, they vary from each model grade. One gets 17-inch wheels for the LS, 18-inch for the LSE, and 20-inch for the ONYX. Towards the rear, it features 3D LED taillights; it has rear fog lamps, a high-mounted centre spotlight and a subtle rear spoiler.

Space-wise, the mu-X is perfect, with a roomy cabin and ample seating for rear occupants. 

One has practicality in mind; you can fold down the second and third-row seats in the back. With all three rows up, one has 311l of boot space available. It's 1119l with the second row down and 2138l with all the seats folded flat down. 

The interior materials appear solid; however, it lacks the modern amenities that most high-end SUVs have. It felt below par.

Upfront, it boasts a 7-inch digital display infotainment screen with Apple Car Play, Android Auto compatibility, and Bluetooth Smartphone connectivity. It felt like it was a decade behind tech-wise. You also have a faded display of an outdated rear-view reverse camera and a six-speaker sound system with two USB interfaces (1 x type A/ x 1 auxiliary connector). Isuzu has also added an extra USB port for rear passengers.

One will also notice a standard gauge cluster from the driver's seat, nothing too fancy; it was ancient and had climate-controlled air-conditioning. The ONYX and LSE models offer dual-zone climate control with two HVAC units for added convenience. All mu-X models cater to rear passengers with roof-mounted aircon vents for both rows.

The artificial leather seats felt stiff, and the front seat was also electrically adjustable; an auto rain-sensing wiper was a handy feature for those rainy days.

In terms of safety, reassurance is aplenty with the Isuzu mu-X equipped with a plethora of features like seven airbags (including a driver's knee airbag), electronic stability control with traction control, ABS with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist system (BAS), brake override accelerator (BOA), Electronic stability control (ESC) with traction control, Hill start assist and Hill descent control (HDC) along with trailer sway control, cruise control and rear parking sensors.

At the heart of the mu-X is a 3.0l turbodiesel engine that develops 140kW and 450NM of torque with a 6-speed Automatic transmission. It can reach a top speed of 220km/h.

The 3.0-litre turbo diesel motor is responsive; one has plenty of torque to play with. However, I wouldn't say I liked the unrefined feel of the steering wheel. It felt heavy. The vehicle itself very much felt like a bakkie, to be honest. The suspension is supple for a ladder-frame car and easily handles coarse roads, but the overall feel needs refinement.

Claimed Fuel Consumption was 7.6 litres/100km, and I achieved 10 litres/100km driving conservatively in and around the city with long commutes on the freeway. The fuel tank can hold a capacity of up to 80 litres, and the Isuzu can lug around a heavy caravan of up to 3,500 kg, as that is the maximum load it can bear.

It goes head to head with strong contenders like the popular Toyota Fortuner, Mahindra Scorpio N and Mitsubishi Pajero, along with the winner for South African Car Of The Year coming in second place, the Ford Everest, with the number one being the Ford Ranger bakkie. 

Isuzu vehicles, including the mu-X, are known for their affordability in maintenance and servicing. Additionally, the Japanese brand's reputation for durability often translates into good resale value, making the mu-X something to consider if you wish to forgo some of the creature comforts we take for granted.

Price List:

1,9 LS 4×2 AT  – R708 000

3,0 LS 4×2 AT – R800 000

3,0 LS 4×4 AT – R885 000

3,0 LSE 4×2 AT – R842 800

3,0 LSE 4×4 AT (new) – R927 700

3,0 Onyx 4×4 AT – R960 600

The mu-X is sold with a five-year/90,000 km service plan, a five-year/120,000 km warranty, roadside assistance, and a five-year/unlimited km anti-corrosion warranty.


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