Better late than never. That phrase would perhaps be the best way to describe the coming of the new Isuzu MU-X. The new Isuzu SUV made a global debut back in late 2013, and has finally reached Malaysia. We just got back from the official media drive of the new Isuzu MU-X and here’s what we think of it.
The new Isuzu MU-X, like the D-MAX it’s based on, carries forward the same body-on-frame architecture. But don’t let that fool you, as on the road, the MU-X does hold its own rather well. But more on that later. For the Malaysian market, the Isuzu MU-X will be available in two trim levels, one being a 4×2 variant, while the range topper is the 4×4 variant. Both are powered by a 2.5-litre inline-four VGS turbodiesel engine that pumps out 136 PS at 3,400 rpm and 320 NM of torque. A 5-speed automatic transmission takes care of shifting duties for both variants. Unlike the D-MAX it’s based on, the fuel tank has shrunk down, with a total capacity of 65 litres now.
From the front, you’ll be hard-pressed to distinguish the Isuzu D-Max from the MU-X, as both share similar front ends. The side profile is largely similar to the D-Max, but the MU-X has a larger rear end. A rear wraparound tail light adorns the rear end of the new MU-X. The 4×4 model benefits from a rear spoiler and front LED daytime running lights. The 4×2 variant gets 16-inch wheels with 245/70R16 rubbers, while the range-topping 4×4 variant gets 17-inch wheels with 255/65/R17 rubbers all around.
Inside, both Isuzu MU-X variants have leather interiors. The front driver seat is electronically adjustable. Audio system is courtesy of an Isuzu infotainment audio system with 6 speakers, Mirror Link, WiFi, USB and Bluetooth.
The infotainment system is based on Android, and from our time with the MU-X, has remained smooth and lag-free. The 4×4 variant adds on a reverse camera and GPS navigation. The rear passengers gets their cool air via a 2nd and 3rd row cooling vents with fan speed control.
Behind the wheel, the driver will greatly appreciate the new silver-finished meter cluster with e-LUMAX with an integrated multi-info display, which displays crucial information like trip meter, distance to empty and average fuel consumption. No niggles about that, as everything is sharp and easy to read. There is even a staging mode on the Isuzu MU-X!
First drive impressions, the Isuzu MU-X does offer a lot of low-end torque, more than enough for daily drives, with 320Nm of torque available from just 1,800 rpm. Thanks to the hydraulic power steering, maneuvering around doesn’t take much effort, while the 5-speed automatic gearbox offers smooth gear shifts. Unlike the MU-X’s pick-up cousin, the D-MAX, the NVH levels are far more superior, with external noises getting well insulated from the cabin.
On the B-roads, the Isuzu MU-X does offer better comfort than its D-Max cousin, with road irregularities getting soaked-up very well. We credit this to the 5-point active suspension set up and the different shock tuning that the MU-X comes with. The Isuzu MU-X, after driving the D-Max, certainly feels comfier. While body-roll was rather apparent in the Isuzu MU-X, the Japanese were quick to clarify that the shocks can be retuned if they see the need.
The Isuzu MU-X also takes pride of place on highways, as the big SUV remains planted even with speeds we cannot mention here. Road and tire noises are audible at highway speeds, but remain well within limits. Apart from that, the long gear ratio and generous torque meant that overtaking in the MU-X was a breeze, as the SUV did not have to hunt for gears. Only when urged will the MU-X drop a gear down and accelerate harder.
Priced from RM151,944 (4×2 variant, 4×4 variant will retail for RM164,969 both OTR with insurance & GST), the Isuzu MU-X does command a premium over the D-Max. But for the family guy, the Isuzu MU-X may just tick the right boxes, with the comfier ride than the D-Max and better NVH levels. Be quick, as the listed price will change after July 2015.
Specifications: Isuzu MU-X 4×4
Price: RM164,969.84 (OTR with insurance) ; RM154,944 for the 4×2 variant
Engine: 2.5-litre inline-4 VGS turbodiesel
Horsepower: 136 PS @ 3,400 rpm
Torque: 320 Nm from 1,800 rpm – 2,800 rpm
Transmission: 5 speed automatic
Enjoy our photo gallery below!
Isuzu MU-X exterior shots
Isuzu MU-X interior shots