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Isuzu MU-X


Peugeot 5008

Summary

Isuzu MU-X

While MY17 MU-X signalled a massive change for the better in Isuzu Ute Australia’s (IUA) SUV line-up, this year is more of a subdued affair.

Last year heralded the arrival of a new 3.0-litre engine, new six-speed automatic transmission, and upgraded Aussie-specific suspension, as well as styling tweaks; MY18 MU-Xs get extended service intervals and a new exterior colour.

It’s a clear case of IUA applying a ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach to its popular ute-based SUV.

Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency8.1L/100km
Seating7 seats

Peugeot 5008

Previously on carsguide.com.au: Peter Anderson drove the Peugeot 5008 and quite liked it. 

I don't think it's going to be a huge shock to learn that the recent update to the 5008 seven-seater has improved the car and, therefore, my opinion of the car. 

Except, it's more than an update. Prices are much higher than when I drove the Crossway edition 5008 in 2019 (remember those happy times?) and the difference between the petrol and diesel engines is especially wide now in 2021.

The updated 5008 shares a great deal with its 3008 sibling and the two share a very important attribute - they are distinctively French, in a good way.

Safety rating
Engine Type1.6L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7L/100km
Seating7 seats

Verdict

Isuzu MU-X7.3/10

The MU-X is a solid SUV wagon and it only continues to gain more appeal and, with it, a growing legion of fans. You certainly see a lot of them around – in the bush, in the suburbs and on city streets.

It’s not flash or posh but it’s a very practical daily driver or weekend tourer and performs very well in the real world. The top choice for me remains the LS-T.

Is the MU-X your kind of SUV? Tell us in the comments below.


Peugeot 50087.3/10

The answer is, I think, two-fold - price and badge. Peugeot Australia has a job on its hands to turn things around as 2020 was a tough year and 2021 is shaping up to be almost as hard. There aren't any significant changes to the 5008 to make it suddenly stand out from the crowd because it already did. So the badge's cachet isn't matching the premium pricing.

Peugeot's SUVs are very popular in Europe but barely make a dent here. Because there isn't a bait-and-switch cheaper model to lure buyers off the street, it's a harder sell. Peugeot's glory days of the late 1990s and the late 1970s before mean the people who have fond memories of the badge are older and probably don't have any attachment at all to the French lion. Perhaps the re-energised 2008 will start that conversation, except it's not cheap either.

Having said all that, it's hard to see why folks with over fifty grand to spend on a seven-seater - and there are plenty of those - aren't paying more attention to the 5008. It's a striking presence, is practical but isn't overbearingly large or even slightly clumsy. It may not have AWD but hardly anyone ever uses that. It'll handle the city and the motorway and, as I discovered, biblical rain all in its stride. Like its 3008 sibling, it's a mystery there aren't more out there.

Design

Isuzu MU-X7/10

This launch marked no noteworthy styling changes in the MU-X, inside or out. It remains a blocky but good-looking unit, blending a bush-ready appearance with styling that doesn’t look out of place in an urban setting.

Build quality and fit and finish seem as sturdy as we’ve come to expect from IUA’s mainstream offerings.


Peugeot 50088/10

The 5008 was always the slightly awkward big brother to the 3008. That's not to say it was (or is) ugly, but the bigger box fitted to the back is far less racy than the 3008's fast back. 

There's not much change at that end, so the cool claw lights carry the can for style. 

In profile, again, it's a little awkward (compared to the 3008) but some nice work with various materials and shapes help to reduce its bulk.

The front is where the facelift action has happened. I was never completely convinced by the front end of the 5008 but the reworking of the lights to look less like they were squeezed out of a tube of toothpaste is a marked improvement. 

The updated lights work beautifully with the new frameless grille. The fang-style daytime running lights, that debuted on the gorgeous 508, look fantastic here on the 5008. It's a superb job.

Inside is largely unchanged, which is to say it's still brilliant. It's really one of the more inventive interiors in any car, anywhere and is a joy to sit in. 

The seats look brilliant, even more so in the diesel with their fine stitching and racy shapes. The wacky 'i-Cockpit' driving position works much better in more upright cars like SUVs and is present and correct while the new 10.0-inch screen also looks good. 

Even if you're not interested in buying one of these, if you're passing a Peugeot showroom, get in and have a look, feel the materials and wonder why more interiors aren't this cool.

Practicality

Isuzu MU-X7/10

The MU-X’s cabin, unchanged, should remain an easy place in which to travel. It’s roomy enough for everyone.

The second row is a 60/40 split-fold with a fold-away centre armrest. The third row is a tight fit for adults but that’s nothing unusual in most seven-seaters.

There is 235 litres of boot space when the third row is up, expanding to 878 litres when the 50/50 split-fold third row is folded flat. When the second and third rows are down, there is 1830 litres of space.

The MU-X has 12 cupholders, 18 'storage solutions' (door compartments with bottle bulge, coat hooks, rear cargo organiser box, etc), USB ports (front and rear) and three 12V power outlets (centre dash, glove box and rear cargo area).

The MU-X has a braked towing capacity of 3000kg, 750kg unbraked.


Peugeot 50088/10

Legroom is good in the middle row, with plenty of knee space as well as a that long flat roof stopping you from giving yourself a haircut. 

Each of the front seats has a fold down airline-style tray table, which kids go absolutely wild for.

The third row is really an occasional use only proposition, but it does the job and is reasonably easy to access. The middle row also slides forward (60/40 split) to allow a bit more space for the third row, which is nice.

The 5008 has a trick up its sleeve - removable third-row seats. If you fold the middle row down and remove the back row, you have a massive 2150 litres (VDA) of cargo volume

If you just fold the third row away you still have a formidable 2042 litres. Whip the back row out again but leave the centre row in place and you have a 1060-litre boot, reattach them and it's a still impressive 952 litres. So, it's a massive boot.

The 5008 is rated to tow 1350kg (petrol) or 1800kg (diesel) with a braked trailer, or 600kg (petrol) and 750kg (diesel) without brakes.

Price and features

Isuzu MU-X7/10

There are seven variants in the MY18 MU-X range: the 4x2 LS-M auto ($42,900), 4x2 LS-U auto ($45,200), 4x2 LS-T auto ($48,900), 4x4 LS-M auto ($50,200), 4x4 LS-U manual ($50,400), 4x4 LS-U auto ($52,500), and 4x4 LS-T auto ($56,200). All are seven-seater SUVs.

The base-spec LS-M’s standard features include 7.0-inch touchscreen with USB and Bluetooth streaming, reversing camera and rear park assist sensors, LED daytime running lights, gun metallic front grille, bi-LED projector headlights, colour-coded door handles and side mirrors, hill descent control, air-conditioning, power windows, and 16-inch alloy wheels.

The LS-U gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen, chrome front grille, door handles and side mirrors, as well as side steps, rear cabin cooling vents, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The LS-T also gets leather-accented seats, passive entry and start system, six-way adjustable electric driver’s seat, roof rails, tailgate spoiler, chrome muffler tip and 10-inch DVD screen for rear passengers.

The MY18 MU-X is available in seven colours: 'Cosmic Black Mica', 'Obsidian Grey Mica', 'Havana Brown Mica', 'Silky White Pearl', 'Splash White', 'Titanium Silver' and the new 'Magnetic Red Mica' option.


Peugeot 50087/10

Peugeot's local arm is pitching the 5008 at an interesting point. While nowhere near the largest of seven-seaters, it is also not the cheapest, that honour going to Peugeot's former technical partner for SUVs, Mitsubishi

There is now just one specification level (although it isn't really), the GT and you can have it in petrol form for (deep breath) $51,990, or diesel form (keep drawing that long breath) $59,990. That's a lot of cash.

But as I say, the spec is not the same between the two. And there is a lot of stuff.

The petrol GT opens with 18-inch wheels, a 12.3-inch digital dashboard (upgraded, apparently), a new 10.0-inch touchscreen (ditto), front and rear parking sensors, around-view cameras, leather and Alcantara seats, keyless entry and start, auto parking, adaptive cruise control, powered tailgate, rear window blinds, auto LED headlights, auto wipers and a space-saver spare.

The more expensive diesel picks up the diesel engine (obviously), a banging Focal-branded 10-speaker stereo, acoustic laminated front side windows and 19-inch alloys. 

The diesel GT's front seats are also upgraded, with extra adjustability, a massage function, heating, memory function and electrical operation of just about everything on them.

Both versions have the new 10.0-inch multimedia touchscreen. The older screen was slow and really needed a good stab to work, which is a bit of a problem when so many functions are packed into the system. 

The new one is better, but still a touch laggy. Weirdly, the climate control shortcuts permanently frame the screen, so the extra real estate goes on those controls.

The diesel GT's seats are available as an option on the petrol as part of a $3590 option pack. The pack also adds the Nappa leather, which itself is a separate option for $2590 on that upper-spec model. Neither pack is cheap (but the Nappa leather is lovely) and the massage seats are more than a novelty.

Other option costs are $1990 for a sunroof and $2590 for Nappa leather (diesel only).

Just one paint colour, 'Sunset Copper', is free. The rest are extra. For $690 you can choose 'Celebes Blue', 'Nera Black', 'Artense Grey', or 'Platinum Grey.' 'Ultimate Red' and 'Pearl White' cost $1050.

Engine & trans

Isuzu MU-X7/10

The Euro 5 3.0-litre four-cylinder common rail diesel engine, producing 130kw at 3600rpm and 430Nm at 2000-2200rpm, and six-speed Aisin-sourced automatic transmission carry-over from MY17.


Peugeot 50087/10

As the names of the cars suggest, there is a petrol and diesel engine. Both drive the front wheels only through automatic transmissions.

The petrol is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo, with 121kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm from 1400rpm. The petrol scores a six-speed automatic and will cover the 0-100km/h run in 10.5 seconds.

For torque monsters, the diesel is the go, with 131kW at 3750rpm and 400Nm from 2000rpm. This engine scores two more gears for a total of eight and will run from 0-100km/h in 10.2 seconds. 

So neither of them are drag racers, which is to be expected when you've got a fair chunk of weight to pull (1473kg for the petrol, 1575kg for the diesel).

Fuel consumption

Isuzu MU-X7/10

We spent very little time in any new models and we’d have to drive a MY18 MU-X for a week or more to get a good handle on real-world fuel consumption but Isuzu claims the MU-X gets through 7.9L/100km (combined) in 4x4 LS-U and LS-T guises, 8.0L/100km (combined) in 4x2 LS-M, and 8.1L/100km (combined) in 4x2 LS-U and LS-T and 4x4 LS-M.

Every MY18 MU-X has a 65-litre fuel tank.


Peugeot 50087/10

Peugeot says the combined cycle figure for the petrol is 7.0L/100km and 5.0L/100km for the diesel. The petrol figure seems sort of likely, the diesel, not so sure.

I ran the lighter 3008 for six months with the same engine (but with two fewer gears, granted) and it averaged closer to 8.0L/100km. The last time I had the 5008 I got 9.3L/100km.

As I drove these cars on the launch event (mostly highway running), the dash-indicated 7.5L/100km figure I saw is not a reliable indicator of real-world consumption. 

Both tanks hold 56 litres, so based on the official figures, you'll cover around 800km in the petrol and over 1000km in the diesel. Bank on a day-to-day range about 150km lower than that.

Driving

Isuzu MU-X7/10

We only did very brief drive loops on the launch, including towing a 1900kg caravan with a MU-X on a bitumen road, designed to replicate real-world driving conditions, and a decent off-road course.

Running 20 psi (pounds per square inch) in our Bridgestone Dueler or Toyo Open Country tyres, the Isuzus handled everything on the 4WD loop with ease, including runs up and down steep greasy-muddy hills peppered with rocks and tree-root hazards, tight turns in between trees, plowing through mud puddles and more.

No surprise at its efficacy on rough terrain because the D-Max and MU-X work off the proven '4X4 Terrain Command' system, operated via a dial near the auto shifter, and which can be switched on the move from 2High to 4High at speeds of up to 100km/h.

To engage 4L you need to be stationary.

The MU-X is 4825mm long, 1860mm wide (excluding wing mirrors), 1860mm high (the 4x2 LS-M is 1825mm high) and has a 3095mm wheelbase and 1570mm track. It has a 11.6m turning circle. Kerb weight is listed as from 1992kg (4x2 LS-M) to 2157kg (4x4 LS-T).

All MU-Xs except 4x2 and 4x4 LS-M models (220mm), have 230mm ground clearance. All MU-Xs except 4x2 and 4x4 LS-M models have 24 degrees approach angle (LS-M: 23.3), 25.1 degrees departure angle (LS-M: 24.6), and 19.5 degrees ramp-over angle (LS-M: 18.7).

The MU-X retains the benefits of the previous generation’s hill start assist (designed to hold gear during climbs) and hill descent control (which maintains engine-braking speed on downhills and is able to be regulated with acceleration or braking).

Underbody protection includes under-front steel plate skid/splash shield on every MU-X; and steel plate guards on the sump, transfer case and fuel tank leading edge on all 4x4 models.

It has double wishbones and coil springs up front, and coil springs at the rear.


Peugeot 50087/10

Once you're comfortable with the i-Cockpit, which features a high dashboard and a tiny, squared-off steering wheel, you'll feel like you're driving a much smaller car. 

I have theorised over the years that the light steering coupled with the small steering wheel makes it feel more dynamic than it is, but I think that's wrong - it's genuinely well set-up and is a car in which you can have some fun.

I was only able to drive the 1.6-litre petrol with six-speed auto on launch and that was on a horrifically wet day during Sydney's recent deluge. 

The M5 motorway was covered in standing water and the spray from the big rigs made driving conditions rather more difficult than usual. 

The 5008 sailed through it all (pun intended). That engine is hardly the last word in power and torque, but it does the job and the auto is well-calibrated to the numbers. 

The big Michelin tyres bite the tarmac pretty well and while you always feel the weight of a seven-seater SUV, it drives much more like a raised wagon than a doughy SUV. 

Fewer of its rivals are doughy these days, but there's a little bit of spark in the 5008, matching the promise of its looks. 

It's not quick, and it's not a hot SUV, but every time I get in this or its smaller 3008 sibling I ask myself why more people don't buy them.

It's irritating that the diesel costs so much more if you want that extra in-gear performance and another two gears.

Safety

Isuzu MU-X8/10

The MU-X has a maximum five-star ANCAP rating from April 2017.

Standard safety gear includes six airbags (dual front, side and full-length curtain), ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, ESC, traction control and EBA (emergency brake assist), 'Hill Start Assist' and 'Hill Descent Control', plus three top-tether ISOFIX child-seat points in the rear seat.


Peugeot 50087/10

The 5008 lands with six airbags, ABS, various stability, traction and braking systems, speed limit sign recognition, driver attention detection, distance warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road edge detection, auto high beam, reversing camera and around-view cameras.

The diesel picks up lane positioning assist while none of them have reverse cross-traffic alert. Equally annoying is the fact that the curtain airbags don't reach to the back row.

The forward AEB includes low light cyclist and pedestrian detection between 5.0km/h and 140km/h, which is impressive. 

There are three ISOFIX and three top-tether mounts in the middle row and two top-tether restraints in the removable third row.

The 5008 scored a maximum five ANCAP stars in 2017.

Ownership

Isuzu MU-X8/10

It has a five-year/130,000km warranty, with five years of roadside assist and five-year/75,000km capped price service costs.

Servicing is recommended at 12-month/15,000km intervals. Prices are: $350 (at 12 months/15,000km), $450 (at 24 months/30,000km), $500 (at 36 months/45,000km) $450 (at 48 months/60,000km) and $340 at 60 months/75,000km – for a total cost of $2090.


Peugeot 50087/10

Peugeot's five year/unlimited kilometre warranty is now pretty standard but always welcome. You also five years of roadside assist and five years/100,000km of fixed price servicing.

Interestingly, the service prices aren't much different between the petrol and diesel, with the former costing $2803 over five years ($560 per year on average) and $2841 for the latter ($568.20 per year on average). 

You have to visit your Peugeot dealer once every 12 months/20,000km, which isn't too bad. Some turbo-engined cars in this segment demand more visits or won't cover as many kilometres between services.