Isuzu Blue Power Bo­hol drive

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - MOTORING - BOTCHI SAN­TOS

Isuzu, in its com­mit­ment to pro­vide the clean­est pos­si­ble diesel pow­er­trains in the coun­try, has re­leased their lat­est diesel en­gine that pow­ers both the mu-X 7-seat SUV and its pickup sib­ling, the D-Max.

The im­proved en­gine now meets strin­gent Euro IV emis­sions stan­dards in the Philip­pine mar­ket with greater power and ef­fi­ciency.

This move also re­in­forces Isuzu’s rep­u­ta­tion as the "diesel au­thor­ity" in the coun­try.

The new en­gine, which still re­tains the in­ter­nal des­ig­na­tion of 4JJ1-TCX, uti­lizes the lat­est Isuzu Blue Power pro­pri­etary tech­nol­ogy in clean emis­sions and power pro­duc­tion.

Out­put has im­proved from its pre­de­ces­sor, ris­ing from 163 to 177 ps, while torque re­mains at 380 Nm.

The old 5-speed trans­mis­sion has been re­placed with a newer, slicker-shift­ing, and more re­spon­sive 6-speed au­to­matic, bring­ing it at par with its com­peti­tors, while al­low­ing for a bet­ter and wider spread of torque as well as re­duc­ing rpm on a high­way cruise, thereby im­prov­ing NVH as well as fuel econ­omy.

In­ter­nal test­ing has showed that the new 4JJ1-TCX de­liv­ers an as­tound­ing 19.4 to 20 km per liter on the high­way. Cru­cially, for many Isuzu loy­al­ists, the re­vised en­gine de­liv­ers sig­nif­i­cantly far less noise and vi­bra­tions.

Though Isuzu doesn’t care to pro­vide an ap­prox­i­mate fig­ure im­prove­ment in NVH, many jour­nal­ists fig­ure it to be in the re­gion of 60 to 80 per­cent less noise and vi­bra­tion.

The re­sult is a far more re­fined and lux­u­ri­ous over­all driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, some­thing we dis­cov­ered as we cov­ered over 200 kilo­me­ters of high­way, wind­ing, and city roads through the is­land of Bo­hol.

Aside from the en­gine and trans­mis­sion im­prove­ments, both mu-X and D-Max get sig­nif­i­cant up­grades in­side and out.

For the 2018 model year, the mu-X gets a re­shaped front bumper with new lower ac­cents.

Il­lu­mi­na­tion is pro­vided by bi-LED head­lights that in­cor­po­rate the day­time run­ning lights within the units.

Com­ple­ment­ing the new light sig­na­ture is mildly re­designed grill with more creas- es at its cor­ners.

There are also changes made to the rear of the re­vamped mu-X, namely new lower bumper mould­ings and new tail lights that now fea­ture an LED strip.

Its side pro­file, on the other hand, re­tains the look of the cur­rent model but it does ride on new 18-inch al­loy wheels, re­plac­ing the old 17-inch wheels.

The larger 18-inch wheels should im­prove sta­bil­ity on the high­way as well as off-road per­for­mance.

The D-Max, on the other hand, has no ex­te­rior changes for now.

In­side, driv­ers are greeted by a new in­stru­ment clus­ter with a restyled ve­hi­cle in­for­ma­tion dis­play.

For the mu-X, Isuzu added more soft-touch ma­te­ri­als, and the seats also get a makeover with bet­ter qual­ity leather and con­trast­ing stitch­ing.

The in­te­rior pan­els are fin­ished off in so­phis­ti­cated pi­ano black wood trim, just like many pre­mium European lux­ury cars.

The year 2018 also adds more features to the mu-X, in­clud­ing auto-head­light lev­el­ing, hill de­scent con­trol, and a re­designed 8-inch screen en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem with USB link and text-to-speech nav­i­ga­tion.

Mov­ing to the D-Max, it gains hill start as­sist and hill de­scent con­trol, as well as more USB ports in the cabin.

All these ex­te­rior and in­te­rior im­prove­ments help el­e­vate the mu-X and D-Max to a more pre­mium feel­ing lifestyle ve­hi­cle rather than just a sim­ple work­horse for the Filipino.

On the high­way, the mu-X and D-Max sur­prise you with very lit­tle en­gine, wind and tire noise. Cabin in­su­la­tion is ex­cel­lent, and the en­gine re­mains quiet even when cruis­ing with the win­dows down while en­joy­ing some fresh air.

The 6-speed trans­mis­sion is re­spon­sive, and in man­ual mode, re­acts quickly to in­puts, mak­ing tight up­hill and down­hill moun­tain passes a breeze even with a full load of pas­sen­gers and cargo.

The brakes are firm but of­fer ex­cel­lent per­for­mance, though feel and mod­u­la­tion can be im­proved, per­haps with a change in brake fluid and proper bleed­ing.

The steer­ing of both the mu-X and D-Max re­quires more heft com­pared to key ri­vals from Toy­ota, Nissan, Ford and Mit­subishi, but feel and feed­back have im­proved sig- nif­i­cantly from the pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tions.

Both give enough heft for con­fi­dence on high- speed high­way driv­ing as well bet­ter pre­ci­sion for off- road ex­pe­di­tions.

Ride com­fort has also im­proved, thanks to tweaks in the suspension plus the afore­men­tioned NVH changes. The new seats like­wise of­fer bet­ter sup­port for your back and legs.

Our drive took us through the Choco­late Hills in Car­men, the man-made for­est through the towns of Loboc and Bi­lar (which has a huge den­sity of beau­ti­ful and ma­ture ma­hogany trees), and of course, a scenic cruise of Loboc River, plus short stops at the Tar­sier Con­ser­va­tory and Bo­hol Bee Farm and Con­ser­va­tory.

All these nat­u­ral at­trac­tions strike at the chord of Isuzu’s com­mit­ment for en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly ve­hi­cles that de­liver clean emis­sions as well as im­proved ef­fi­ciency and econ­omy.

Im­prove­ments in the mu-X and DMax el­e­vate them to a more pre­mium feel­ing lifestyle ve­hi­cle.

The 2018 mu-X gets a re­shaped front bumper with new lower ac­cents.

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