With the new-generation Isuzu D-Max ute having just entered Australian showrooms, many are wondering what’s in store for its inevitable SUV sibling, the second-generation MU-X… well, wonder no more, because we now have our first official look at the off-roader.
These renders come via AutoWeek, which combed through the Japanese patent office to find them. Needless to say, the new Ford Everest and Toyota Fortuner rival is clearly inching closer to its reveal, which is expected to take place next year.
Interestingly, the exterior differentiation between the new seven-seat MU-X and five-seat D-Max is greater than that of the previous ladder-frame generation, with their front fascias almost unique.
In fact, if you look at the MU-X a little more closely, you’ll notice the trim around its grille actually extends out underneath its headlights, a design element that Mazda’s become renowned for.
This is worth mentioning because the new-generation BT-50 is also related to the D-Max, but Mazda has already ruled out a new SUV in the mould of the MU-X.
Either way, the MU-X once again goes its own way with a bespoke rear end that’s noticeably sharper than before, while its side are a lot sleeker, owing to the improved integration of the C-pillars.
While no renders of the MU-X’s interior have been published yet, it’s now reasonable to think it won’t be a near carbon-copy of that of the D-Max, although all of the key elements will still be there, including its large touchscreen that measures up to 9.0 inches in diameter.
Under the bonnet, the MU-X is expected to use the D-Max’s new 140kW/450Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder diesel engine (4JJ3) with the choice of 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains, the latter coming with a rear differential lock.
These combinations are mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed torque-converter automatic in the D-Max, but the latter is likely to be standard in the MU-X.
The MU-X will also likely share the D-Max’s suite of advanced driver-assist systems, which includes autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control.
As reported, Isuzu Australia is keeping quiet regarding the new MU-X’s timing, let alone its existence, but all going well, it’s expected to be on sale here by the end of 2021.
For reference, the current-generation MU-X is priced from $42,900 to $56,400 plus on-road costs, but expect the new model to move slightly upmarket with a significant increase in equipment.
For reference, Isuzu Australia sold 4592 examples of the MU-X to the end of August this year, a 16.8 per cent decrease over the same period in 2019.