A RUGGED TAKE ON VALUE

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

the three grades.

Rear-drive vari­ants go from $42,800 to $45,100 and $48,800 be­fore on-roads.

All-wheel-drive au­tos are from $50,100, $52,400 $56,100 (un­pop­u­lar man­u­als are $2100 cheaper).

The good news is you’ll never pay these prices. Isuzu does per­ma­nent drive-away deals, and its ad­verts show the range-top­ping new LS-T 4WD is $52,990 drive-away.

A five-year/130,000km war­ranty five-year capped price ser­vic­ing plan also trumps most of the com­pe­ti­tion. Car­ried over is 3.0-litre diesel en­gine in­tro­duced specif­i­cally for Aus­tralian MU-X just a few months ago.

With 130kW/430Nm (up from 380Nm) it’s not the strong­est in seg­ment but it is the most eco­nom­i­cal, re­turn­ing a claimed 7.9L/100km when mated to Isuzu’s new six-speed au­to­matic.

Stan­dard gear on all vari­ants in­clude seven seats, touch­screen au­dio, re­verse cam­era with rear park­ing

sen­sors and LED day­time run­ning lights.

The MU-X lacks the ri­vals’ in­creas­ingly com­mon­place ac­tive safety driver as­sis­tance sys­temss.

ON THE ROAD

The MU-X is spa­cious and those de­mand­ing a true sev­enseater won’t be dis­ap­pointed, as the third row can ac­com­mo­date six-foot adults in re­spectable com­fort, even if it’s still clam­ber to get into them. Boot space is ex­cel­lent as a fiveseater but with seven seats up you’ll fit a cou­ple of sports bags.

The cabin is plusher but the Isuzu still doesn’t feel on a par with lot the com­pe­ti­tion,

slightly flimsy door trim, switches and knobs.

Leather ac­cents for top­grade MU-X, com­bined with the rear DVD mon­i­tor, should make it the fam­ily favourite. Isuzu claims a re­duc­tion in noise, vi­bra­tion and harsh­ness over 2016 model due to bet­ter in­su­la­tion. The MU-X hums along with lit­tle cabin noise.

Stomp on the ac­cel­er­a­tor — there’s a bit of a de­lay the higher revs re­veal truck lin­eage. When cruis­ing it’s quiet and un­stressed.

The ride is com­fort­able and less wal­lowy than some ute­based seven-seaters but the steer­ing vague body leans in the turns.

Off-road there’s no lock­ing rear dif­fer­en­tial un­like in, say, a Toy­ota For­tuner or Mit­subishi Pa­jero Sport. Our muddy, rocky off-road test with steep de­scents didn’t trou­ble the MU-X and few own­ers would push into harder ter­rain than this.

VER­DICT

Sales leader among its ute­based seven-seat ri­vals, Isuzu is al­ready do­ing plenty right with the MU-X. A bet­ter if not classlead­ing cabin and qui­eter ride im­proves breed. Isuzu’s bul­let­proof 3.0-litre turbo diesel should en­sure it re­mains a rugged value propo­si­tion ... but in­sist on the drive-away price.

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