The 2nd generation all-new Isuzu Mu-X is quite simply the very best consumer vehicle that Isuzu has ever produced. If it had the additional optional equipment found in other markets combined with a 5-year warranty, it would have handily won the best-in-class C! Award this year despite the lofty price of the top-spec Mu-X LS-E 4×4 model tested here in its signature Marrakesh Brown exterior and interestingly designed 20-inch alloys that look like floating turbo blades.
Compared to the outgoing Mu-X, the handsome all-new model has a 10-mm longer wheelbase that is 23% more rigid (new body-on frame Isuzu Dynamic Drive Platform), with a completely new 25-mm longer body that is 10-mm wider and 35-mm taller. Just like the all-new Isuzu D-Max, that did win the best in its pickup class with a long list of shared parts with the all-new Mu-X: engine power increased from 174 bhp to 188 bhp with torque jumping significantly from 280 lb-ft to 332 lb-ft mated to a more optimized 6-speed Aisin automatic transmission. The overachieving 148 bhp/258 lb-ft 1.9 Ddi (RZ4E) Blue Power turbodiesel alternative engine is carried over and powers the entry level 4×2 LS variant that retails for PhP 1,590,000.00 with organically reduced standard equipment.
The new Bi-LED headlights with signature DRL and auto-levelling function look great and cast an excellent field of illumination further supported with LED front fog lamps, way better than before. However, the throw is bested by the system on the Nissan Terra. The rear light assembly has its own signature LED as well. The prominent central 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system has navigation, a clinometer, rear guided camera, intuitive smartphone connectivity with Android Auto™ and wireless Apple CarPlay™, all through a very good 8-speaker surround sound system. The nice analog instruments have a 4.2-inch color LCD Multi Information Display now. The fully adjustable steering wheel is appropriately weighted and communicative. The recalibrated and new 6-speed transmission is smoother and behaves better than some of the more complex systems in the segment. The electric parking brake also features Auto Brake Hold for convenience while driving in heavy city traffic. Unlike the Terra though, the Mu-X has a powered rear trunk and generally accommodates passengers with a touch more capacity.
The big new class-leading feature is the Smart 3D DUO Camera on the windshield that has the ability to detect obstacles intelligently to improve safety as well as convenience. The Advanced Driver Assist System features adaptive cruise control with stop/go, pedestrian detection, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist, and traffic sign recognition. Other safety features like blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert use the 4-eye sonar. Additional active, passive, and peripheral safety measures include standard 7 SRS airbags, automatic door locks, and rain-sensing wipers with built-in washer nozzles. The new front and rear brakes are larger and more robust to manage the more potent powertrain as well, 12.6-inch (320 mm) ventilated discs with 2-piston calipers up front and 12.5-inch (318 mm) ventilated rear discs with 1-piston calipers with ABS, TCS, EBD, ESC, EBA, AEB, HAS, HDC, Misacceleration Mitigation and Turn-Assist. All of these efforts culminate to a verified 5-Star ASEAN NCAP rating for the new Isuzu Mu-X.
The Isuzu Mu-X LS-E 4×4 models have a proper electronic differential lock too for the more challenging off-road traversing. The 20 x 7.5J alloys have a stronger new two-tone design wrapped with 265/50R20 107S Bridgestone Dueler H/T 684II tires. The effortless smart 4×4 system uses “Rough Terrain Mode” and “Terrain Command” control with ‘shift on the fly’ 2-high↔4-high selection at up to 100 km/h, and 4-low with rear differential lock. Water fording depth is rated at 800 mm. Ground clearance is still 235 mm. For off-road use, the approach angle is 29.2 degrees; ramp-over angle is 23.1 degrees, while the departure angle is 26.4 degrees. Despite similar dimensions and thrust, the Isuzu Mu-X LS-E 4×4 is roughly 200 pounds heavier than the Nissan Terra VL 4×4, and you feel it.
The 2021 Isuzu Mu-X LS-E is a truly desirable and heavily loaded mid-size SUV that will reward its owner and passengers with a lifetime of adventure, utility, and versatility. The sweet spot in the model range is the LS-E 4×2 variant that has all the best bits shared with the 4×4 model but without the weight of the 4×4 system for PhP 350,000.00 less. That makes it a very compelling tall wagon that will still wade water at 800 mm deep but with reduced traction but it would perform optimally on the road with more athleticism and slightly better fuel economy, too.
|Cylinder Head||dohc 16V|
|Fuel Injector||Direct Injection Intercooled VGS Turbodiesel, VSS|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||188 bhp @ 3600 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||332 lb-ft @ 1600-2600 rpm|
|Top Speed||196 km/h (122 mph)|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||10.1 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||12.04 Km/L overall as tested|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||PhP 2,450,000.00|
|What's Great||The very best Isuzu ever produced, solid reputation of reliability, good-looking, best-crafted interior design in its class, the most safety measures in its class, very strong packaging.|
|What's Not So||Third-row best used for young children that don’t require a child-seat, 3-year factory warranty, price, and manual rearview mirror.|
|C! Editors Rating||10/10|