Double Cab bakkies and ladder-frame (bakkie-based) SUV’s are South African favourites. The sheer number of these vehicles on our roads means that no bakkie builder can miss out on having an SUV version of their bakkie too. Hilux has the Fortuner, Rangers have the Everest, Triton has the Pajero Sport and Isuzu, well, Isuzu having been part of the GM group made use of the Chevrolet Trailblazer. It was a capable vehicle, but not sharing the Isuzu nameplate, probably cost them some of the die-hard Isuzu fans.
After GM / Chevrolet pulled out of the country Isuzu re-entered to manage its own affairs and with it came their own bakkie based SUV, the Isuzu mu-X. The introduction of the mu-X builds on the legacy of Isuzu’s highly revered previous contenders in this category, comprising the Isuzu Trooper which was sold locally in 1992, followed by the much-loved Frontier that was launched in 1998. This is backed up by Isuzu’s proud legacy in the light commercial sector with the KB range, which has been one of South Africa’s favourite pick-ups for over 40 years.
The mu-X is powered by Isuzu’s proven 3.0-litre four-cylinder intercooled turbodiesel diesel engine that produces 130 kW of power and 380 Nm of torque. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission which has a sequential sport mode. Unlike Fortuner and Everest that offer a host of models, Isuzu (like Mitsubishi with the Pajero Sport) went the other way. Offer a well equipped vehicle with 4×2 or 4×4 derivatives being the choice.
The mu-X is equipped with a fully independent suspension all round, encompassing a five-link set-up at the rear that delivers the best balance of ride comfort, handling and off-road capability. 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 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. An impressive three-tonne towing capacity makes it a great choice for towing trailers or caravans.
The interior of Isuzu’s new SUV offering matches practicality with comfort and luxury. The seven-seat configuration will appeal to both families and adventure-oriented buyers alike, thanks to the flexibility of the folding of the centre and rear rows of seats. The electronic climate control system caters for front and rear occupants – the latter having access to their own cooling vents for added comfort.
Although the mu-X is new to South Africa, it is already a well-established contender in several international markets, having been launched in Thailand in 2013. It is also currently sold in Australia as well as the Philippines, where it is the market leader over rival vehicles like the Everest and Fortuner. Our time with the mu-X was limited, but it is clear that Isuzu offers a very capable and viable alternative in a segment that is very popular, but with surprising few real choices.
The Isuzu mu-X comes standard with Isuzu Complete Care, comprising a five-year/120 000km bumper-to-bumper warranty and Isuzu Roadside Assistance, a five-year/unlimited km anti-corrosion warranty and a five-year/90 000km Service Plan. Service intervals are every 15 000km/12 months.
Model range and Pricing
Isuzu mu-X 3.0 4×2 AT6 R 568 000,00
Isuzu mu-X 3.0 4×4 AT6 R 629 100,00