Isuzu lis­tens to cus­tomers

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - Iain Curry

ISUZU is the Aus­tralian car mar­ket’s spe­cial­i­sa­tion wun­derkind.

Walk into an Isuzu Ute deal­er­ship and you’re met with just two mod­els: the D-Max ute and MU-X seven-seat SUV.

The mighty MU-X was Aus­tralia’s best-sell­ing ute-based SUV of 2016, ahead of the likes of Mit­subishi Pa­jero Sport, Toy­ota For­tuner, Ford Ever­est and Holden Colorado7/Trail­blazer.

There are re­vi­sions to the 2017 Isuzu MU-X which have specif­i­cally ad­dressed Aussie cus­tomer feed­back. Namely, less of the harsh plas­tics in the cabin and a re­duc­tion in noise from its 3.0-litre turbo-diesel en­gine. In short, we want it less truck-like but still with the truck-tough en­gine and chas­sis.

These facelifted MU-X cab­ins now have classier dual-tone dash­boards, new chrome and piano-black trim­ming and soft arm­rest and con­sole cov­er­ings where be­fore they were util­i­tar­ian hard.

Ex­te­rior de­sign has been fresh­ened too with brighter Bi-LED pro­jec­tion head­lights, new grille, fog lights and al­loy wheel de­signs.

Prices are up about $1000 for the three grades, with RRPs from $42,800, $45,100 and $48,800 re­spec­tively, be­fore on-roads, for 4x2 vari­ants. All-wheel-drives with auto gear­box (un­pop­u­lar man­u­als are $2100 cheaper) are from $50,100, $52,400 and $56,100.

Get­ting ex­pen­sive? Good news is you’ll never pay these prices. Isuzu does per­ma­nent drive away deals, and its ad­verts show the range-top­ping new 17MY MU-X LS-T 4x4 is $52,990 drive away.

A five-year/130,000km war­ranty and five-year capped price ser­vic­ing plan also trumps most com­pe­ti­tion.

The 3.0-litre diesel en­gine of­fers 130kW and 430Nm and an im­pres­sive 7.9l/100km econ­omy when mated to Isuzu’s new six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

Judg­ing by the MU-X’s pop­u­lar­ity with those favour­ing old-school larger dis­place­ment en­gines, re­li­a­bil­ity and tow­ing grunt (3000kg is your limit here), the diesel’s power and peak torque avail­able from a low 1700rpm is am­ple.

Stan­dard gear on all MU-X vari­ants in­clude seven seats, touch­screen au­dio sys­tem (7-inch for LS-M, 8-inch the top two), re­verse cam­era, park­ing sen­sors and LED day­time run­ning lights.

LS-U grades bring sat nav, chrome ex­te­rior styling, side steps, cli­mate con­trol air con and rear cabin cool­ing vents. Halo LS-T adds leather ac­cented seats, pas­sive en­try and start, elec­tric driver’s seat, roof rails, spoiler and a 10-inch rear DVD mon­i­tor.

The MU-X is a gi­ant in­side. Those de­mand­ing a true seven-seater won’t be dis­ap­pointed, as the third row can ac­com­mo­date six-foot adults in re­spectable com­fort.

We wanted a plusher cabin and we’ve got it here, but the Isuzu still doesn’t feel on a par with a lot of the com­pe­ti­tion. Yes there are softer touch sur­faces and a less truck-like dash which are good im­prove­ments, but slightly flimsy door trim, switchgear and dash-top stor­age bin re­main.

Leather ac­cents for the top grade MU-X boosts the luxe, and com­bined with the rear DVD mon­i­tor, it’s the one to aim for as the fam­ily favourite, not least with the LS-T’s re­duced drive away price.

The 3.0-litre feels very un­stressed, the ride com­fort­able and less wal­lowy than some ute-based seven-seaters.

Yes the steer­ing is vague and the body leans in the turns, but that’s hardly un­usual for the seg­ment.

Sales leader among its ute-based seven-seat ri­vals, Isuzu is do­ing plenty right with the MU-X and has smartly ad­dressed own­ers’ few grum­bles with this 2017 model.

A bet­ter if not class-lead­ing cabin and qui­eter ride im­proves the breed, and with Isuzu’s bul­let­proof 3.0-litre turbo diesel and re­luc­tance to add in-vogue but costly driver as­sis­tance sys­tems the MU-X re­mains a rugged, value propo­si­tion.

You can check out the new model at this year’s CRT Far­mFest.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

DUAL PUR­POSE: The 17MY Isuzu MU-X of­fers com­fort and dura­bil­ity.

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