Queberha - The second-generation Isuzu MU-X has landed on South African shores, and with it the Japanese manufacturer hopes to gain a better foothold in the large SUV segment that’s currently dominated by the Toyota Fortuner and, to a lesser extent, the Ford Everest.
Like the new (and hard-riding) Mazda BT-50, the Isuzu MU-X is based on the next-generation D-Max, which is due to be built locally from 2022, but unlike its bakkie cousin the new Isuzu wagon is imported from Thailand.
Isuzu will be offering a four-model range locally, all powered by a revised 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine that produces 140kW at 3600rpm and 450Nm from 1600 to 2600rpm. In all cases it’s paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox and customers can choose between rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations.
Dealership sales will officially kick off at the beginning of December, with prices starting at R693 800 for the MUX 4x2 LS, which is also available in 4x4 guise for R771 600. R763 300 will get you the mid-spec LSE model, which is a 4x2 only, while the flagship 4x4 is badged Onyx and priced at R860 500.
The new Isuzu MU-X is a little pricier than its rivals, given that the Toyota Fortuner retails for between R599 000 and R837 100 (albeit with a smaller base engine at the lower end) and the Ford Everest occupies the zone between R558 600 and R833 500.
The new Isuzu is, however, packed with features and tech, and offers a larger and more refined cabin than its predecessor, Isuzu says. As before there is seating for seven, with the chairs being newly designed too, and the carmaker claims to offer class-leading hip, shoulder, head and leg room.
Buyers can also look forward to a new infotainment system, with screen sizes varying from 7.0- to 9.0-inches, and the flagship model boasts a suite of Intelligent Driver Assistance active safety features, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
A walk through the range
In terms of standard specification, the base LS model ships with 17-inch alloy wheels, manual air conditioning with rear ventilation, cruise control, 7.0-inch infotainment system with CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and reverse camera, multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel, auto headlights, seven airbags, stability control and trailer sway control.
The midrange LSE adds 18-inch alloy wheels, powered tailgate, automatic climate control, leather seat trim, power-adjustable front seats, 9.0-inch touchscreen, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert.
Over and above all that, the Onyx 4x4 flagship model adds 20-inch alloy wheels, front camera, ambient lighting, automatic high-beam, heated front seats, 220V auxiliary power socket and an array of driver assistance systems, including adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency brake, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and driver monitoring.
All Isuzu MU-X models boast a ground clearance of 235mm, wading depth of 800mm, and respective approach and departure angles of 30- and 26-degrees. Isuzu also claims a braked towing capacity of 3.5-tonnes.
Standard across the range is a five-year/120 000km warranty and five-year/90 000km service plan, with service intervals pegged at 15 000km.
2021 Isuzu MU-X Pricing
3.0 Ddi LS 4x2 auto - R693 800
3.0 Ddi LS 4x4 auto - R771 600
3.0 Ddi LSE 4x2 auto - R763 300
3.0 Ddi Onyx 4x4 auto - R860 500