Isuzu wants to properly rival Toyota's Fortuner - with this

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2021 Isuzu mu-X (Isuzu Media)
2021 Isuzu mu-X (Isuzu Media)

• The Isuzu mu-X has been in production for eight years.

• The automaker has revealed images of its second-gen replacement for the vehicle.

• The new mu-X will rival the Ford Everest and Toyota Fortuner.

• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za

Isuzu SUV fans will be thrilled at the company's latest product release. After more than eight years in production, Isuzu has revealed images of its replacement for the second-generation mu-X.

In a market where Toyota's Fortuner and Ford's Everest dominate, Isuzu desperately requires a better mu-X to increase its share of the lucrative local full-size SUV market.

This new seven-seater uses Isuzu's latest D-Max double-cab bakkie as a shared product platform. But there are a lot of SUV-specific engineering and design details, which have been applied to it. 

Isuzu's product planners want to achieve more significant differentiation between the mu-X and the D-Max bakkie range, in terms of overall appearance. The result is by far the most daring Isuzu design in memory.

The new exterior has added 25mm of length, 10mm of width and 15mm of height to the mu-X.

Isuzu mu-X

2021 Isuzu mu-X (Isuzu Media)

Isuzu's conservative styling is gone

Isuzu's current mu-X has been in production for eight years, and its replacement looks dramatically more modern. It uses the latest D-Max bakkie front-end with an oversized chrome grille and low-profile rectangular headlamps, with LED illumination.

Along the new mu-X's sides, there are distinctive shoulder line creases, which run across its doors and rear quarter panels. Around the rear, there is a new tailgate stamping, with larger taillamps.

Inside Isuzu's third-generation mu-X, the cabin architecture is an enormous advancement in terms of ergonomics, digital haptics and comfort. This is especially true of its third-row seating, featuring two full-sized seats, with a generous range of adjustment and comfortable padding. The high-resolution 9-inch touchscreen infotainment screen takes pride of place, but Isuzu has shown an awareness of customer feedback regarding the overall integration of its digitisation with the new mu-X.

Despite having the ability to mirror and interpret most functions on your smartphone, Isuzu has retained a generous selection of conventional touch tabs on the mu-X's centre console to control various cabin comfort and information functions.

These tactile adjustment controls will appeal to those Isuzu drivers who are slight technophobes. Or those who know the frustration of attempting to adjust climate control or streaming media, navigating a touch screen, travelling at speed on badly corrugate gravel roads.


Do you think the new mu-X will finally give the Toyota Fortuner a run for its money? Email us.

Isuzu mu-X

2021 Isuzu mu-X (Isuzu Media)

Strong performance and safety spec

Although the mu-X uses Isuzu's latest D-Max bakkie structure, the rear suspension has been adapted for lower payload and superior ride comfort.

The active and passive safety specification is also notably improved over the current mu-X. The new Isuzu SUV has radar-guided cruise control and autonomous emergency braking, managed and triggered by two collision sensing cameras.

One of the most interesting safety features on this new Isuzu off-road station wagon is its centre airbag, positioned between the front seats, and is something neither the Everest nor the Fortuner offer.

Engines are borrowed from the new D-Max range, with Isuzu's proven 3-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel headlining the powertrain offering. In its latest evolution, this turbodiesel engine boasts 140kW and 450Nm, promising better performance than the current mu-X's 130kW/380Nm engine. 

Isuzu will also be offering its compact 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine with new the mu-X, delivering 110kW and 350Nm, although this engine is unlikely to be available for South African customers. This is unfortunate as the lower price point at which a new mu-X 1.9 4X2 would be marketed at, could richly broaden the customer reach of Isuzu's SUV.

True to its proud Isuzu all-terrain vehicle heritage, the new mu-X has 235mm of ground clearance and a lockable rear differential. The four-wheel drive variants also benefit from a low-range transfer case, for crawling up the steepest of gradients or churning through the deepest sand.

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