At an event hall somewhere in Thailand, Isuzu have premiered the all-new MU-X, the brand’s next 7-seat SUV derived from the latest D-Max’s ladder-frame underpinnings and range of turbodiesel engines.
It’s been about a year since Isuzu pulled the wraps off their 3rd-generation D-Max with prior revisions finding plenty of success in pick-up loving markets such as Thailand and Australia (Malaysia?), even briefly living a semi-double life as the Chevrolet/Holden Colorado.
This newest MU-X is also larger than the outgoing model, though size isn’t something the older model was lacking, boasting a 10mm longer wheelbase, a 25mm increase in overall length, is 35mm taller and even 10mm wider.
That being said, the SUV does look quite sleek compared to the chunkier, blockier aesthetic of the D-Max. In addition to once again fully embracing the wagon-style shape, this new Isuzu wears thinner, more squinted headlights and a much more people-pleasing front fascia.
At least in this highest-spec Ultimate form, the MU-X also incorporates some cues with premium aspirations. From the get-go, this Marrakesh Brown colour is striking with a very copper-like shade, but apart from that the most obvious is the 20-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, it also extends to the interior which is a huge step upmarket from any offering the previous generation could muster.
There are similarities to the D-Max, of course, but the leather seats, ambient interior lighting piano black trim, contrast stitching, satin metallic inlays all serve to elevate the experience. On the technology front, the MU-X headlines with a 9-inch infotainment system capable of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 4.2-inch multi-info display in between the analogue gauges, dual-zone climate control, ventilated front seats, and a powered driver’s seat.
Isuzu is also looking to pioneer active safety systems in this vehicle class, equipping high-spec variants generously with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring, Automatic High Beam, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and even Parking Assist.
Some of you might have also spotted the lack of a manual handbrake, explaining why they’ve also added in Hill-Start Assist, which will automatically engage the electronic parking brake when stopped on an incline to prevent from accidentally rolling back.
Clearly, they’re trying to have the MU-X appeal to a wider base of prospective buyers who might not have previously considered this type of vehicle or one this large, so this new version is as luxurious, as safe, as practical, and as technologically stuffed as possible.
This SUV also shares the D-Max’s duo of fuel-efficient four-cylinder turbodiesel engines with the first being the 1.9-litre Blue Power that we’re already familiar with in Malaysia, producing a satisfactory 150PS and 350Nm. Alongside this is heftier a 3.0-litre unit that pushes out 190PS and 450Nm.
Only the two entry-level Active and Luxury variants can be had with a manual transmission and are only offered with the smaller displacement four-pot. Upwards from the mid-spec Elegant and a Rev-Tronic 6-speed automatic is the only choice. In addition, drive is sent exclusively rearward for all variants except for the range-topping 3.0 Ultimate, which is the only one to receive four-wheel drive.
Given the late 2020 reveal in Thailand, the all-new MU-X could make its way to neighbouring markets such as Malaysia as soon as the first half of 2021. We’ll keep you posted on that, for sure.