Driven

HER­ITAGE / Re­trac­ing our De­fender her­itage

- Cars · Mauritius · Comoros · Isuzu Motors · Chevrolet Trailblazer

Cruis­ing along on the high­way I found the ride to be sur­pris­ingly com­pli­ant. One would typ­i­cally ap­proach the car ex­pect­ing it to ride like the bakkies that it is based on but this is not the case. Un­like a bakkie, it uses coil over springs and dampers in the rear in­stead of leaf springs, mak­ing the ride rel­a­tively smooth and not bouncy at all.

The last 45 min­utes of our jour­ney from the N3 to our des­ti­na­tion were on some pretty moun­tain­ous roads. Re­gard­less, the mu-X chugged up the hills like a freight train without break­ing a sweat. The six-speed au­to­matic gear­box proved well suited to this en­gine. It knew when to down­shift, when to hold gear and when to shift up once we cleared the hill. I have been in cars that hope­lessly hunt for the right gear once you hit a hill and so this im­pressed me. Quite of­ten I found my­self glanc­ing at the rear-view mir­rors to make sure that the trailer was still hitched to the car be­cause the way the car was pulling up the hill felt un­bur­dened. This should not have been a sur­prise though be­cause this ve­hi­cle can tow a good three tonnes. We even­tu­ally ar­rived at Mon­tusi Moun­tain Lodge where we were taken through stan­dard Covid in­spec­tion pro­ce­dures be­fore be­ing ush­ered to our chalet where we spent the night, with the en­gine of the mu-X tick­ing some­where in the park­ing lot as it cooled down in the night air.

The ris­ing sun re­vealed to us just how much we had missed out on the night drive up to the lodge. Mon­tusi Moun­tain Lodge is po­si­tioned deep within na­ture, over­look­ing some breath-tak­ing views and scenery. Be­ing perched up in the hills also meant that there were nice ar­eas to take the mu-X of­froad­ing. Af­ter a hearty break­fast we then went for a drive up a moun­tain trail to test its off-road­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties. 230 mm of ground clear­ance and a steel plate pro­tect­ing the un­der­side of the front, adds to driver con­fi­dence and I hap­pily man­han­dled it up and down a nar­row trail route. The de­scent was es­pe­cially fright­en­ing for the kids but the hill de­scent con­trol sys­tem came into its own, clev­erly man­ag­ing the hefty 2.6 tonnes of the car.

When we re­turned to the lodge, I was pleas­antly treated to a full tank be­cause some­one at Mon­tusi Moun­tain Lodge had the ge­nius idea of in­stalling fuel tanks for the guests to use. Af­ter all, the lodge is in the mid­dle of nowhere. Com­bin­ing that with the ex­cel­lent ser­vice, the beau­ti­ful lo­ca­tion and just the tran­quil­lity of be­ing away from the city makes this lodge a highly rec­om­mend­able hol­i­day spot.

LAST WORD

I have to say that I was im­pressed by the mu-X. In re­cent years the SUV mar­ket has be­come sat­u­rated with a tonne of op­tions mak­ing the agony of choice all the more gru­elling. It re­ally comes down to pedi­gree when mak­ing a choice. And what brand has built its name on re­li­a­bil­ity bet­ter than Isuzu? Their tagline “With you for the long run” un­der­scores that trade­mark re­li­a­bil­ity. Then you add on Isuzu’s five-year/120,000 km war­ranty and road as­sis­tance pack­age and you have your­self a good deal. There is a new mu-X on the hori­zon but we don’t know yet how it is go­ing to look or what it is go­ing to be like. If you are pa­tient enough you could wait, but if you are pressed for time and ur­gently need a do-it-all fam­ily car then I would sug­gest you give the mu-X a look. I would lit­er­ally trade in my Chevy Trail­blazer for the mu-X at a mo­ment’s no­tice if I had about R712,200 ly­ing around.

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