It may have launched in May 2018 already, but after driving it this past week, I realised how few people had actually seen one in the metal and so I thought it was the opportune time to remind people of Isuzu’s seven-seater SUV offering, the mu-X. It is the first vehicle to be launched under Isuzu Motors South Africa and not under the previous General Motors umbrella.
Isuzu has offered one of South Africa’s favourite bakkies in the form of the KB, so it is no wonder then that the Japanese marque would want to offer something that caters to the needs of growing families.
“Building on Isuzu’s long-standing heritage, along with the proven reliability and trusted capabilities of the KB, the mu-X introduces an entirely new level of practicality, comfort and convenience that is ideally suited to the adventurous and lifestyle-oriented nature of South African customers,” says Dominic Rimmer, Executive Technical Services.
It looks and feels like an Isuzu, which is a good thing. But on the inside, things could do with a bit of a quality touch up or a modern brush. The touchscreen infotainment system feels somewhat out of date and has a few quirks that might drive one crazy. One of which is that if your phone is connected but you are listening to the radio and you get an sms or any activity occurs on your phone, the system automatically turns to phone mode. It can be tiresome to constantly have to press back to radio. But this is where the negativity ends, there is plenty of storage space all over the cabin and Isuzu fans will not be disappointed with levels of comfort on offer.
KB lovers will be thrilled to hear that under the bonnet of the mu-X lies the familiar 3.0-litre four cylinder turbodiesel engine. It produces 130 kW of power and 380 Nm of torque. And while it is powerful enough to tow up to 3-tonnes, it does sound and feel a bit agricultural. To put it lightly, it is a rather rumbly, grumbly engine, especially when idling. It lacks refinement.
Two models are available with the choice of either a 4X2 or 4X4 derivative. Isuzu is known for its off-road capabilities and the mu-X shines in this department. The four-wheel drive version relies on Isuzu’s easy to use Terrain Command 4×4 system with electronically selected two and four-wheel drive high-range modes, or 4×4 low-range for more challenging off-road driving.
The mu-X is jam-packed with standard spec, in fact, you would only need to tick the tow bar box. Every other need is catered to. From a safety point of view, the Isuzu mu-X is packed with an extensive range of active safety features, including ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA). This is complemented by Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Hill Descent Control (HDC) which can be engaged in low-range 4×4 mode.