The local arm of the Isuzu brand has seen a significant increase in sales with this current mu-X model over the first generation. This uptrend looks set to continue with the introduction of this value-orientated model. Damian Adams attended the local launch in Cape Town to determine if the SUV could usurp the entry-level Fortuner.
Fast facts: Isuzu mu-X 1,9 LS 4×2
- Price: R708 000
- Engine: 1,9-litre turbodiesel
- Transmission: 6-speed automatic
- Power: 110 kW @ 3 600 r/min
- Torque: 350 N.m @ 1 800-2 600 r/min
- Fuel consumption: 7,0 L/100 km (claimed)
- CO2: 185 g/km
- Towing capacity: 2 100 kg
- Ground clearance: 235 mm
- Rivals: Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Mahindra Scorpio N, Ford Everest
What are we driving?
Isuzu has launched a new version of its mu-X seven-seater ladder-frame SUV, in the form of the all-new 1,9 LS 4×2 automatic. The new derivative, along with the addition of a 4×4 version of the mid-spec 3,0 LSE, expands the local line-up to a total of six mu-X models – the largest range yet for the company.
At the heart of the new 1,9 LS mu-X is Isuzu’s 1 899 cc four-cylinder inter-cooled turbodiesel engine, as used in the D-Max bakkie range. This engine is renowned for its outstanding fuel economy and trusted design that uses a high-pressure common rail direct injection system and variable geometry turbocharger.
The 1,9-litre engine delivers a power output of 110 kW at 3 600 r/min matched to a torque figure of 350 N.m available across a wide band of between 1 800-2 600 r/min.
Why is the mu-X significant?
The 1,9 LS is the first mu-X to employ this engine and is the most affordable model in the mu-X range while it comes with an impressive standard features list. The other drawcard is fuel efficiency where Isuzu claims just 7 L/100 km and a range of 1 143 km from the 80-litre fuel tank.
Inside, the MU-X offers ample space for passengers and luggage, making it suitable for large family daily commuting. The interior materials prioritise durability over luxury, which aligns with the SUV’s utilitarian focus. It does however have niceties like a soft-touch dashboard, a Nappa leather steering wheel and comfortable full-leather seats. Build quality is impressively solid, in line with Isuzu’s reputation for producing rugged vehicles.
The Isuzu mu-X follows the conventional adventure SUV design philosophy, with a large and bold exterior. It does stand out on the road with its LED daytime running lights, 18-inch alloy wheels and a chiselled grille.
In terms of safety, the Isuzu MU-X is equipped with essential features like seven airbags (including one between the front passenger and driver’s seat.
What’s new on the mu-X?
The new 1,9 LS mu-X features the latest styling updates applied to the rest of the range for 2023. This includes privacy glass for the rear windows, a new Norwegian Blue colour option, and classy dark magnetite finishes for the radiator grille, front and rear bumpers, front fog lamp bezels, roof rails and side steps replacing the silver and chrome items from before.
What does the mu-X lineup cost?
- 1,9 LS 4×2 AT (new) – R708 000
- 3,0 LS 4×2 AT – R800 000
- 3,0 LS 4×4 AT – R885 000
- 3,0 LSE 4×2 AT – R842 800
- 3,0 LSE 4×4 AT (new) – R927 700
- 3,0 Onyx 4×4 AT – R960 600
The mu-X is sold with a five-year/90 000 km service plan, 5 year/120 000 km warranty and roadside assistance, including 5 year/unlimited km anti-corrosion warranty.
What is the mu-X like to drive?
The 1,9-litre turbodiesel engine under the bonnet provides adequate power for most driving situations and it’s a rumbly oil burner under load in typical Isuzu fashion. It’s not a high-performance engine and it’s not intended to be. Instead, it feels suitably punchy from low revs and it excels in fuel efficiency, making it an economical choice for both urban and long-distance driving.
The towing prowess has seen a decrease from 3,5 tons braked to 2,1 tons braked. For most, this won’t be an issue, and for me this limit is a far safer proposition. You do the physics. The 1,9 LS should still haul your family, luggage and a bicycle rack relatively easily.
The MU-X handles well on-road, with a comfortable ride and responsive steering. Off-road capabilities are commendable, thanks to its 4×4 system and generous ground clearance.
Isuzu vehicles, including the mu-X, are known for their affordability when it comes to maintenance and servicing. Additionally, Isuzu’s reputation for durability often translates into good resale value, making the mu-X a reasonable long-term purchase and this should remain true for the well-rounded 1,9 LS. It caters to a specific audience seeking a spacious, well-built, efficient, and dependable SUV.
It’s an attractive choice for South African consumers who prioritise functionality and longevity over luxury and cutting-edge technology seen in more expensive alternatives.