A popular favourite among many Aussie adventure seekers, the new MU-X has returned for its second generation with the aim to bring more of what buyers want but the accompanying price jump may prove startling for some.
Isuzu has fully unveiled the 2021 MU-X large SUV that brings enhanced levels of off road capability, safety and tech to lure in a new generation of buyers.
The MU-X will officially go on sale in a matter of days and features a wide array of spec changes that largely mirror the Isuzu D-Max ute on which it shares its underpinnings but adds a number of upgrades to increase the usability of the cabin.
Carrying over the existing grade structure, the MU-X will be available in a choice of three grades known as entry-level LS-M, mid-spec LS-U and range-topping LS-T and all are available with a choice of rear or four wheel drive.
Prices start at $47,900 for the LS-M 4×2 while the top of the line LS-T 4×4 is available with promotional driveaway pricing of $63,990. Prices have risen by $2,700 to $9,800 depending on the grade.
With the new price and upgrades, the MU-X will take on well-established rivals in the Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and even the Toyota LandCruiser Prado, the latter of which makes up much of the sales in this segment.
Using a revised version of the 3.0L four-cylinder turbodiesel as its predecessor, the powerplant now produces 140kW of power at 3,600 rpm and 450Nm of torque which is up 10kW and 20Nm respectively and available across a wider rev range.
Power feeds into the tweaked the six-speed torque converter auto transmission which Isuzu says has snappier shift times and is more intuitive with which cog it picks.
Engineers have given the MU-X a stronger and more flexible four wheel drive system this time around, with changes such as thicker driveshafts added for greater durability.
Drivers can now switch between RWD-high to 4WD-high at speeds of up to 100km/h, and will enjoy shorter wait times when selecting low-range.
Isuzu has fitted an electromagnetic locking differential as standard on all 4×4 models which drivers can activate at speeds of up to 8km/h to scamper up rocky trails.
Another trick up the sleeve of the 4×4 MU-X is the addition of ‘Rough Terrain Mode’ which is a form of traction control that seeks to eliminate slippage and apply torque to the wheels with traction.
Fuel usage is down slightly, with a claimed 7.8L/100km (RWD) or 8.3L/100km (AWD) which, matched with a larger 80L fuel tank, means the MU-X can now travel over 1,000km on a single tank.
Isuzu claims to have made key incremental changes for the ride comfort and handling of the MU-X thanks largely to the redesigned five-link rear coil-spring suspension.
Along with making the SUV more sorted at lower speeds, towing capacity has increased to 3.5-tonnes with the kerb weight also swelling to 2,175kg in its heaviest form.
Gross combination mass is also increased at 5,900kg to give buyers a bit more wiggle room when loading up the family for a weekend away.
The second-generation MU-X is bigger in almost every dimension save for the roofline which drops by 35mm in an effort to increase stability.
A shorter front overhang means the MU-X has improved approach, departure and break-over angles of 29.2°, 26.4°, and 23.1° respectively, when in top-spec LS-T form with its higher 235mm ground clearance.
Isuzu has made an effort to spruce up the interior this generation with more luxury equipment, plusher materials and a quieter cabin.
Available on the MU-X LS-U and LS-T models is a 9-inch centre touchscreen paired with a range of physical buttons, while the entry-level LS-M gets a smaller 7-inch unit.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto are now standard, allowing users to connect to the four-speaker sound system in the base model or an eight-speaker system in the LS-U and above.
The MU-X comes as standard with cloth, manually adjustable seats – with the mid-spec gaining power lumbar support for the driver along with leather on the steering wheel and transmission tunnel.
Buyers who opt for the top-spec LS-T gain a quilted leather upholstery with eight-way power seats for the driver and four-way power adjustment for the passenger.
Climbing into the second row is now a bit easier thanks to a shifted B-pillar, while those in the third row receive a 105mm more width across the back seat, with 10.5mm more toe room to play around in.
Boot space with the second and third rows folded is slightly down at 2,138L but makes up for it by having a larger capacity of 1,119L when just the third row is down or and 311L when all the seats are up. Only those who select the MU-X LS-U and LS-T models receive the power tailgate.
The exterior of the MU-X has been heavily teased by Isuzu but the version we have seen previously is the nicest LS-T grade dressed in all the trimmings.
As standard, the LS-M wears 17-inch alloy wheels with the side steps, grille and mirror caps all finished in black.
Stepping up the LS-U adds quite a bit of equipment including larger 18-inch alloy wheels, LED Fog lights, a chrome grille, rear privacy glass and roof rails to name a few. The top-spec LS-T adds larger 20-inch alloy wheels but the exterior is largely the same.
Featuring many of the same safety upgrades fitted to the D-Max, the MU-X is loaded witha huge amount of driver assistance features as standard, including the following.
The MU-X also includes adaptive cruise control with a stop and go function along with the ability to read speed signs and vary the vehicle speed accordingly.
Front parking sensors are only available on the LS-U and LS-T grades but everything else in the safety package is standard
We’ll find out if all these new features and upgrades pull together in a cohesive package in our incoming review of the second generation MU-X, which will officially go on sale as of August 2.
All prices listed are before on-road costs.
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