Refreshed mu-X, with improved braking performance, hits South Africa
Isuzu has refreshed its Toyota Fortuner rival for 2020, giving the 7-seater mu-X SUV some minor styling updates, and some upmarket finishes for the cabin. The safety package has also been upgraded with the addition of a Brake Override System (BOS), as recently introduced on the Isuzu D-Max range, which helps reduce stopping distances in an emergency.
In terms of the exterior tweaks, it gets a bolder radiator grille, as well as restyled front and rear bumpers with gloss black inserts in the lower portions. It also gains new 18-inch gloss-black diamond cut wheels, which pair nicely with the new gloss black finish for the side steps. Aside from the new rear bumper, it gets new taillights, as well as two-tone roof rails to further bolster its visual appeal.
On the interior, there have also been some very subtle refreshments made – most notably the piano black finishes throughout, the steering wheel controls have been updated, and ambient lighting has been introduced in the door trims, adding a further dash of exclusivity and upmarket appeal.
A multi-function infotainment unit is standard on the mu-X. It boasts an 8-inch colour touchscreen display that provides Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, and a rear-facing camera. A 9-inch colour touchscreen is available as an optional extra and offers added features which include access to the embedded satellite navigation and audio systems. Front and rear USB slots are provided, in conjunction with an auxiliary iPod input and HDMI port.
On the safety front, a new addition to the mu-X is the Brake Override System, derived from the D-MAX. The system is linked to the ABS braking system and restricts accelerator input if the brakes are applied at the same time - thereby reducing the vehicle's stopping distance in an emergency.
This new feature complements the already extensive range of active safety features including Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), along with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Hill Descent Control (HDC) which can be engaged in low range 4x4 mode. Passive safety equipment comprises dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags, linked to front seat pre-tensioner seatbelts, plus a high tensile steel passenger safety cell that offers outstanding strength and rigidity.
As before, the mu-X uses a bulletproof 3.0-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel motor for propulsion. It still produces 130kw and 380nm and is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission which has a sequential sport mode.
The four-wheel-drive version relies on Isuzu's easy to use Terrain Command 4x4 system with electronically selected two and four-wheel drive high-range modes, or 4x4 low-range for more challenging off-road driving. To allow the mu-X to be more SUV friendly, Isuzu has trimmed the wheelbase by 250mm to help with manoeuvrability, as well as added multi-link coil suspension in the rear allowing for a smoother ride. In terms of off-roading ability, it boasts a 600mm wading depth and 230mm of ground clearance. It also has a penchant for towing big loads without a fuss, with it capable of pulling 3 tons.
Available to buyers is a wide range of accessories to personalize their mu-X. This includes functional items such as an optional mechanical diff-lock for the 4x4 and 4x2 models, audible parking sensors, a storage box located beneath the luggage compartment, a tow bar, bonnet guard, weather guard kit for the windows, front spoiler set and rear bumper scuff plate.
The refreshed Isuzu mu-X is priced at R630 400 for the 4x2 model and R698 200 for the 4x4 variant. 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. Extended cover can also be purchased for Roadside Assistance, Service Plans and Maintenance Plans through Isuzu Mobility.