As South Africans, we love a good SUV. Venture out onto the roads and you’ll be surrounded by droves of Ford Everest and Toyota Fortuner’s. Based on their bakkie counterparts, they offer superb value for money, bundled with incredible off-road ability and relative comfort.
The two aforementioned examples are the most popular of their type, but there are two other options that are just as capable. One, the Pajero Sport, offers superb refinement and economy. The other? The Isuzu mu-X. The new model certainly looks the part, with angular and aggressive styling.
The SUV debuts the brand’s new look for all their vehicles, with the ‘World Crossflow’ radiator grille taking pride of place. The new front end styling also incorporates redesigned Bi-LED headlamps. A character line spans the width of the car, linking the LED headlamps to the new rear lights which, says Isuzu, boast a winglet design.
The base model LS comes equipped with 17-inch alloys, the mid-spec LSE with chunkier 18-inch examples and the range-topping ONYX 19-inch alloys.
The interior has also seen a design change, far more contemporary than before. With room for up to seven adults, the mu-X boasts an interior that has an emphasis on quality. Isuzu has stressed the fact that soft-touch material finishes can be found in the cabin, while other premium touches such as chrome and piano black trim can be found in the interior.
While LS models make do with cloth upholstery, LSE and ONYX derivatives receive leather trim as standard. Other equipment for LES and ONYX models include an electrically adjustable driver’s seat which, on the ONYX, receives power lumbar support as well. The top models also receive seat heating and an electrically operated passenger seat.
The LSE and ONYX also receive dual-zone climate control and a nine-inch infotainment touchscreen and audio system with eight speakers. LS models make do with a smaller screen unit (seven inches) and fewer speakers (six instead of eight). Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity - along with Bluetooth - are standard.
Making its debut is Isuzu’s IDAS system. It is standard equipment in the ONYX model and, according to the Japanese manufacturer, is a “suite of passive and active safety systems which continuously monitor driving conditions and act autonomously to avoid a crash or minimise accident damage.”
All models are powered by the same three-litre, turbodiesel engine. With 140 kW on tap, the mu-X feels sprightly. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment.
3.0 Ddi mu-X 4x2 LS A/T: R 693 800 including VAT
3.0 Ddi mu-X 4x4 LS A/T: R771 600 including VAT
3.0 Ddi mu-X 4x2 LSE A/T: R 763 300 including VAT
3.0 Ddi mu-X 4x4 ONYX A/T: R 860 500 including VAT
All models are covered by the Isuzu Complete Care package with class leading warranty of five years or 120 000 km.