Isuzu’s all-new D-Max ute will hit Australian showrooms next month, but when can we expect the mechanically related MU-X seven-seat SUV to arrive?
The Japanese brand is remaining mum on when the ute-based off-roader is due, likely not to draw attention away from the current MU-X model, but we expect the new model won’t arrive in Australia until the end of next year.
Taking the rollout timing of the current MU-X as a guide, which broke cover in October 2013 in Thailand around two years after Isuzu lifted the lid on the D-Max ute, the SUV didn’t land Down Under until December 2013.
With the current D-Max revealed in Thailand in October of last year, it stands to reason that the new MU-X likely won’t break cover until October 2021, for an Australian launch two months thereafter.
Speaking to journalists at the local launch of the D-Max, Isuzu Ute Australia director of sales Koichiro Yoshida would not be drawn on exact timing of the MU-X, or even that a new-generation model is coming.
“Currently MU-X is selling quite well in the market, and the market feedback is quite good at this moment,” he said.
“But for the next-generation MU-X, we are unable to comment on that.”
However, previous comments made by Isuzu have confirmed a new MU-X is coming to take on the likes of the Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Toyota Fortuner.
Expect to see much of the same mechanical components carry over from the new D-Max, including a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine outputting 140kW/450Nm, which is fed to the rear- or all-wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
Also expect to see much of the advanced safety technology – such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control – also migrate from the D-Max to the MU-X.
In-cabin equipment will also likely be lifted thanks to a 7.0- or 9.0-inch multimedia touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay support, as well as in-built satellite navigation in the latter.
Being built on same ladder-frame chassis as the D-Max, the MU-X should boast high levels of off-road ability, with high- and low-range 4x4 modes available, as well as a rear-locking differential.
Styling is the biggest unknown on the new MU-X for now, with prior comments from Isuzu Ute Australia indicating greater differentiation between its two models, with the SUV expected to adopt a ‘softer’ aesthetic compared to the tough look of the D-Max.
Isuzu has sold 3995 units of the MU-X after seven months of trading in 2020, a 17.0 per cent decrease over the same period last year, but it is still managing to stay ahead of the Everest (3134 sales YTD), Pajero Sport (3558) and Fortuner (1526).