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Isuzu Ute will probably have to change its name because it now offers a wagon. The MU-X is a seven-seater based on the same underpinnings as the D-Max ute which in turn is itself based on the same platform as Holden's Colorado/Colorado 7. Apart from this, there is a world of difference between the vehicles – it's no rebadge these days.
PRICE / FEATURES
MU-X is priced from $40,500 for the LS-M two-wheel drive auto. The same car with four-wheel drive is $47,800 while the top of the line LS-T 4x4 auto is $53,500. The problem for Isuzu is that buyers will no doubt shop this car against the Colorado 7.
And that means unless you're happy to settle for a front wheel drive, 4x2 wagon - the Holden represents better value. Not only is it cheaper, it offers a more powerful diesel with the addition of a six-speed auto instead of the Isuzu's five. That said, the MU-X is still a good looking, tidy all-rounder, with low range gearing and some real off road ability for plenty of weekend adventures.
ENGINE / TRANSMISSION / TECHNOLOGY
The 3.0-litre Isuzu 4JJ1-TC Hi-Power diesel engine delivers 130kW of power and 380Nm of torque. It features common rail direct injection with a variable geometry turbocharger. The MU-X's five-speed automatic allows the driver to change gears manually with an adaptive, learning function that monitors brake and throttle input to identify the appropriate change points.
It also features Hill Descent and Hill-Ascent modes that basically recognise what is happening and holds third gear. The Terrain Command is a part time 4x4 system with a rotary control provided between the seats to switch between two and either high or low range four wheel drive.
This means it cannot be driven on dry roads in four wheel drive, but the switch between two and high range four wheel drive can be accomplished on the move up to a speed of 100km/h - you need to stop for the change to low range however.
Described as the family all-rounder, the mid-spec LS-U comes with more kit. Entry level LS-M rides on 16s while our test LS-U adds 17 inch alloy wheels, fog lights, chrome grille and mirrors, and aluminium side-steps. A premium audio system with 6 speakers, iPod and Bluetooth phone connectivity is standard across the range.
With six airbags and a full suite of safety systems the MU-X has been awarded a full five stars for crash safety under the Australian New Car Assessment Program. Rear parking sensors are standard but this model at least did not include a reverse camera.
First up at least it looks like something you'd want to own. The diesel is smooth and reasonably quiet but fuel consumption was a little heavier than expected. We like the dash layout, particularly the large rotary temperature control for the climate airconditioning. Like the ute however it lacks one-touch blinkers and there is a warning chime for the lights that do not turn off automatically.
In the damp conditions we encountered it becomes a little taily if pushed too hard, but nothing the stability control system could not handle. The MU-X has actually been engineered to go off road, with a front steel bash plate as well as steel plate guards to protect the sump and transfer case. It has a substantial 230mm of ground-clearance with generous approach and departure angles.
Fuel consumption is a claimed 8.4 litres/100km. With a 65-litre tank that gives it a range of 770km. We were getting 8.2 after 700km but note the trip computer displays kilometres per litre.
If you're in the market for a seven seater the Isuzu MU-X deserves a look. It offers strong performance, real off road ability and a family friendly five star safety rating – all for a reasonable price.
ISUZU MU-X LS-U
Price: from $47,800
Warranty: 5 years/130,000km, 5 years roadside assist
Capped servicing: No
Service interval: 6 months/10,000km
Resale: 54 per cent
Safety: 5 stars
Engine: 3.0-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 130kW/380Nm
Transmission: 5-speed auto; AWD
Dimensions: 4.8m (L), 1.9m (W), 1.9m (H)
Spare: Full-size alloy
|LS-M (4x2)||3.0L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO||$17,999 – 28,999||2014 Isuzu MU-X 2014 LS-M (4x2) Pricing and Specs|
|LS-M (4x4)||3.0L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN||$24,990 – 29,995||2014 Isuzu MU-X 2014 LS-M (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|LS-T (4x4)||3.0L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO||$28,990 – 39,987||2014 Isuzu MU-X 2014 LS-T (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|LS-U (4x2)||3.0L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO||$24,990 – 33,990||2014 Isuzu MU-X 2014 LS-U (4x2) Pricing and Specs|