It does the rounds

Tough brand’s seven-seater is pop­u­lar among car­a­van­ners

Herald Sun - Motoring - - USED CAR - with Gra­ham Smith

NEW

Given the rag­ing de­mand for SUVs it was a no-brainer that a com­pany like Isuzu, with a proven plat­form from its D-Max ute, should join the fray.

Isuzu’s core busi­ness is build­ing trucks — it’s one of the big­gest in the world and Aus­tralia’s big­gest sell­ing truck brand by far. It’s also built a solid rep­u­ta­tion for its four-wheel drive utes, though they car­ried a Holden badge for many years.

More re­cently the com­pany has gone it alone and mar­keted its Thai-built utes un­der its own brand name, and in 2014 it added the MU-X wagon to its lo­cal range.

The MU-X was a good­look­ing seven-seater wagon built on the D-Max ute foun­da­tion.

It came with a choice of three spec lev­els, all were dieselpow­ered, but you could choose rear and four-wheel drive.

The range opened with the LS-M, in rear or four-wheel drive.

Next was the LS-U, which was bet­ter specced with larger al­loy wheels, fog lights, pre­mium six-speaker au­dio, chrome grille and mir­rors and alu­minium side steps.

Top­ping the range was the LS-T. Among its long list of stan­dard fea­tures it had cli­mate con­trol air­con, sat­nav, eight­s­peaker pre­mium au­dio, rear cam­era, cruise, DVD player, power driver’s seat and leather seats and steer­ing wheel . All mod­els had Blue­tooth, MP3 and iPod con­nec­tiv­ity.

The en­gine was a proven Isuzu de­signed and built 3.0-litre turbo diesel (130kW/380Nm), linked to a five-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion with sports shift­ing.

In all spec­i­fi­ca­tions, it could have rear-wheel drive or du­al­range four-wheel drive, the lat­ter a part-time set-up that could be switched be­tween twowheel (rear) drive, four-wheel drive high or low range.

It also had a full suite of safety equip­ment, with a raft of airbags, ABS, elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion, emer­gency brak­ing as­sist, trac­tion con­trol, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol and hill des­cent and as­cent.

With all that, it was given a five-star safety rat­ing by ANCAP.

On the road the MU-X be­lied its work­ing class roots with a com­fort­able and quiet ride, its high seat­ing po­si­tion giv­ing a good view of the road.

The diesel was rel­a­tively quiet; it dis­played good throt­tle re­sponse and pulled well, and was eco­nom­i­cal.

NOW

The MU-X has been well re­ceived by Aus­tralians and own­ers gen­er­ally praise their pur­chase. None of those we sur­veyed had any­thing un­to­ward to say about it, although a cou­ple re­ported is­sues with the treat­ment they re­ceived from deal­ers.

Most bought it for its tow­ing abil­ity (3000kg) and all say it does a good job haul­ing car­a­vans while re­turn­ing good fuel econ­omy.

One owner re­ported an is­sue with the Isuzu tow bar. Isuzu doesn’t rec­om­mend us­ing a load-lev­el­ling de­vice in con­junc­tion with its tow bar; one owner’s sug­ges­tion if you want to use load-lev­el­ling de­vice is to use a com­pat­i­ble af­ter­mar­ket item.

It’s early days for the MU-X but the out­look is pos­i­tive for the big SUV at this point.

The most im­por­tant thing to check for now is ev­i­dence of of­froad use. It is a com­pe­tent of­froader so check the car you’re look­ing at to see if it has been used off-road — it’s only a prob­lem if it ap­pears that its use ex­tends to abuse.

On av­er­age the ear­li­est ex­am­ples of the MU-X could have clocked up 100,000km. Be wary of cars that have done more than av­er­age.

Isuzu rec­om­mends ser­vic­ing the MU-X at six-monthly or 10,000km intervals. Check that it’s been done.

The new car war­ranty was for five years or 130,000km, and the MU-X came with five years’ road­side as­sis­tance.

OWN­ERS SAY

Vic Moyes My 2015 4WD is com­fort­able and re­li­able, it’s ex­cel­lent off-road, great for sand and beach driv­ing, and tows my 2.2-tonne car­a­van with ease. I have now trav­elled 45,000km with av­er­age fuel con­sump­tion of 8.2L-8.5L/100km.

Jef­frey Br yant My MU-X was pur­chased as a tow car for our 2.7-tonne car­a­van. It has very good econ­omy, both tow­ing and around town, is com­fort­able for long grips and has a good gross weight. My only is­sue is that Isuzu doesn’t rec­om­mend the use of a load-lev­el­ling de­vice with the fac­tory tow bar — I would rec­om­mend a Hay­man-Reese tow bar. Pat McCormick We’re on our se­cond MU-X. We bought a 2014 LS-T new and loved it. It was more than com­fort­able for five adults, towed well and was

great when we ven­tured of­froad to col­lect fire­wood. We liked the MU-X so much that we up­dated to a 2017 model. The only thing we dis­liked about the MU-X, both the 2014 and 2017 ver­sions, was the ser­vice from the dealer. We love the car but hate the ser­vice. Rod and Mar­garet Stream

We bought our 2014 MU-X to tow a 2500kg van and it han­dles it eas­ily. We’ve had no prob­lems with it at all, it’s very com­fort­able and if I had to find some­thing to com­plain about it would be that the ser­vices for the ve­hi­cle are rather ex­pen­sive and the fuel tank rather small for when we are out on the road.

SMITHY SAYS

Safe and com­pe­tent all-round wagon, par­tic­u­larly for of­froad­ers or car­a­van­ners.

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