WHAT’S IN A NAME? PLENTY
EXTREME MULTI UTILITY LIVES UP TO ITS PROMISE
MULTI Utility – Extreme; that's what MU-X stands for in Isuzuspeak.
We always wonder how the names originate and how they translate to the particular model.
In this case, the handsome SUV can carry up to seven people or a lot of equipment, which covers the multi utility bit, and they won their class in last year's awfully punishing Australasian Safari, which was one of the world's extreme motorsport events.
The oddly-named Isuzus come in two 2WD and three 4WD variants, ranging in price from $37,000 driveaway to $53,500 for the top-ranking LS-T 4X4.
Our testmobile was a 4X4 LS-U, one down from the top in the pecking order, at a promotional driveaway price of $45,990.
It's powered by a 130kW/380Nm 3.0- litre fourcylinder turbo-diesel, mated with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Standard fare includes 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, chrome grille and mirrors and aluminium side-steps. Inside, there's climate control, a six-speaker premium audio system with iPod and Bluetooth phone connectivity.
The dash is neat, the dials easy to read.
It also gets Hill Descent and HillAscent modes in its Terrain Command, a part-time 4x4 system with a rotary control on the console to switch between two- and four-wheel drive, high- or lowrange.
Built on the underpinnings of the D-Max ute, the MU-X is a very capable off-roader, its underbody protected by armour plating.
Ground clearance is 230mm and it has short approach and departure angles.
However, with its good looks, chromed mirrors and other glam bits, few are likely to be subjected to rough work.
It has six airbags, a plethora of electronic safety systems and a high-tensile steel passenger safety cell, which helped it earn a fivestar crash safety rating.
Seating is very good, likewise visibility, but although the LS- U has rear parking sensors, there's no reversing camera or Satnav.
For that bit of gear, common in sub-$20K hatches, you need to go to the LS-T, which also has a fancier jukebox, a DVD screen and that sort of stuff.
There are three rows of seats in theatre-style. The back row folds flat to the floor, while the middle 60:40 seats tumble forward to greatly extend cargo space.
The MU-X is easy to get in and out of, has loads of head, shoulder and leg room and it's a pleasant thing to drive. Rather big turning circle though.
The auto shifter has sequential sports mode for keen drivers and the very able powertrain doesn't use much fuel. Official average use is 8.1litres/100km.
Verdict: A fine package for folks needing lots of seats and offroad capability. Big on style and safety too, but it really needs a reversing camera.
Isuzu's stylish MU-X has a lot going for it.