It does the rounds
Tough brand’s seven-seater is popular among caravanners
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 dual-range 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.
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.
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 Bryant 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.
Safe and competent all-round wagon, particularly for offroaders or caravanners.