The Toyota Fortuner has overwhelmingly dominated the SUV market from the day it went on sale 15 years ago, and while none of its rivals have managed to run it close in terms of sales, the vehicle does have some formidable rivals that keep improving their game. One such contender is the second-generation Isuzu MU-X and the manufacturer has now confirmed that we can expect to see it in showrooms before the end of 2021.
Isuzu SA describes the newcomer as being a “gamechanger” in terms of design and technology, but we’ll have to wait until later in the year to see exactly what features it has and how much it costs. Unlike the next-generation Isuzu D-Max that it’s based on, and which will be built in South Africa from next year, the Isuzu MU-X will be a full import, with our right-hand drive units sourced from Thailand. However, Isuzu SA’s Senior Vice President Dominic Rimmer says the vehicle has been tested in South Africa, under a number of different conditions, to ensure that it’s suitably prepared for local conditions.
Although the MU-X is based on the D-Max, it has completely unique exterior styling, while the bakkie’s leaf spring rear suspension makes way for a coil sprung set-up. The SUV does however inherit its sibling’s 3-litre turbodiesel engine, which in its latest guise produces 140 kW at 3600 rpm and 450 Nm between 1600 and 2600 rpm.
The cabin is fairly similar to that in the new D-Max, with the centerpiece being a new 23cm touchscreen infotainment system, but the trimmings and materials in the MU-X appear to be a bit more luxurious and Isuzu has also thrown in a mood lighting system for good measure.
Watch this space for more local information on the Isuzu MU-X closer to launch.