WHEN the world’s biggest manufacturer of trucks and diesel engines says its big seven-seater SUV, the MU-X, has been “pumped up”, you know there is serious work involved.
For a start, its new 3.0L turbodiesel engine – a world first for Isuzu and developed exclusively for the Australian market – after exhaustive research into the use and demands of Isuzu owners, has been cleaned up and is now Euro 5 emission compliant.
In performance too it leaves the previous power plant wanting. Maximum torque output is increased to 430Nm from 380Nm and on tap from 1700rpm to 3500rpm, 100rpm lower, while it is sustained for a further 700rpm, meaning the same revs provide more power and the equivalent torque can be generated at lower engine speeds.
The latter means the MU-X is not only more fuel efficient, but produces fewer toxic exhaust emissions while delivering Isuzu’s traditional stump-pulling punch.
Isuzu MU-X comes in three specification levels: LS-M, LS-U and LS-T, in rear or four-wheel. It has prices, starting at $42,800, plus onroad costs, for the entry-level LS-M 2WD. On test was the top-of-therange LS-T at $56,100.
The new design radiator grille blends with a new headlamp assembly. The new bi-LED projector headlights are much brighter than the previous model’s projector lights and are equipped with auto-levelling, which automatically adjusts the beam to an appropriate angle when the MU-X is loaded up or towing to cut glare to oncoming vehicles.
New-design front foglights complement the LS-U and LS-T variants’ safety in bad visibility.
Adding to the fresh exterior look is a stylish new design 18-inch alloy wheel with all-terrain tyres for LS-U and LS-T.
The MU-X’s interior styling has been lifted into the realms of the superior sedan, now featuring a dual-tone dashboard with soft touch finishes, new chrome and piano-black trimming, and new soft touch armrests and console coverings.
Isuzu LS-T occupants will be impressed by new quilted design leather-accented seats and 8.0-inch touch screen display audio with its own satellite navigation system, reversing camera in addition to rear-park assist.
Sound in all seating positions is crisp and clear thanks to eight speakers; two in the roof, two frontdoor mounted, two in the dash and two rear-door mounted.
The LS-T variants also boast a fold-down roof-mounted 10-inch DVD screen which can be viewed by both second and third-row occupants.
Two USB ports are located in the front dash and one in the rear. While 12-volt outlets are located in the centre console, glovebox and rear cargo area.