ARNA SAYS BIG AND PRAC­TI­CAL BUT HEAVY TO DRIVE

New Zealand LCV - - ROAD TEST | ISUZU MU-X SUV - – Arna Evans

I’M CER­TAINLY MORE A FAN OF THE prac­ti­cal­ity of a closed SUV over an ex­posed ute, so I was much hap­pier in the Isuzu MU-X than I was in the D-max we tested pre­vi­ously.

That’s even though I find it hard to call it by its ‘em-you-ex’ name, rather than ‘mux.’

What I didn’t like about the D-max ute car­ries over into the SUV. Things like the heavy steer­ing and vi­sion that pushes you to rely on the park­ing sen­sors and re­vers­ing cam­era – ex­cept there are ac­tu­ally no sen­sors, which is at odds with cur­rent ex­pec­ta­tions.

The view all-around is good, but I was cer­tainly aware that I was in a big truck. I wasn’t ini­tially en­joy­ing my time in the Isuzu, but warmed to it over a few days, and started get­ting used to its size, and its in­tu­itive con­trols.

Our ‘test kids’ – five-year-old Am­ber, and two-year-old Ella - were in­stantly drawn to the flip-down rear video screen, which made longer trips not only qui­eter, but cleaner.

A week be­fore, in our own Volk­swa­gen Touareg, we had a nasty vom­it­ing mo­ment re­sult­ing from their heads be­ing down dur­ing an ex­tended colour­ing-in and tablet movie ses­sion.

Not only does the flip-down roof screen look af­ter their en­ter­tain­ment, it gets their heads up, help­ing min­imise mo­tion sick­ness.

How­ever, a movie for the rear pas­sen­gers also means movie au­dio for the front seats too, as it’s not pos­si­ble to have both a movie run­ning, and sep­a­rate au­dio/ra­dio run­ning up front.

And with the safety video-dis­abling on the front mon­i­tor, not even the front pas­sen­ger ben­e­fits, also forced to hear but not see the ac­tion.

Big open­ing doors, heaps of boot space and the ease with which the third row seats are low­ered or raised us­ing straps are all good.

But the seats still need two hands to drop, as you need to pull the strap while push­ing the seats. Also handy is a boot 12v power socket and an un­der/raised floor stor­age con­sole.

I grew to like the MU-X, but not to love it. It’s big, heavy and noisy, but it’s also large, prac­ti­cal and com­fort­able.

I’d def­i­nitely choose it over the D-max ute, and there’s noth­ing hugely wrong with it, but per­son­ally, I be­lieve there are other SUVS that are more suited to this sub­ur­ban­mum.

Seven-seat MU-X rides on 17-inch al­loy wheels and uses all-round disc brakes where D-max has disc front/rear drum set-up.

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