Motoring

Isuzu MUX – The ideal family vehicle

CYNTIA CHIKWAMA

Isuzu is a stickler to the old adage, ‘”if it aint broke, don’t fix it.” This can be seen in the updated but virtually unchanged MUX. We recently got to drive the 2019 MUX courtesy of Autoworld Zimbabwe and while we didn’t get to take the car off-road, we did get to take it through its paces on our very challenging roads.

The Isuzu MuX features a modern and tough design. It gets an aggressive front end with a bold grille flanked by angular headlights. Its sides are dominated by bulging wheel arches that give it a muscular look.

At the back it has sharp horizontal taillights linked by a chrome bar. Its equally modern interior features a neatly laid-out dashboard with an infotainment system nicely integrated into the center stack. As expected from this class, it can seat up to seven.

The MU-X’s ladder chassis shares its front portion with the D-Max pickup; its rear is unique to the SUV. Up front it has independent double wishbone front suspension; at the back it has a five-link live axle coil spring rear suspension. Stabilizer bars are standard at the front and rear. The range-topping 4×4 variant gets extra underbody protection.

On the safety department, the MU-X comes with driver and passenger SRS airbags. It also comes standard with the anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force distribution. The 3.0-litre model we tested had additional safety features like Electronic Stability Control and Traction Control. All seven passengers get three-point seatbelts with emergency locking retractors.

The design and layout may not be to everyone’s taste but what you will really enjoy is the sheer size of the MU-X’s huge cabin. The driving position is truly commanding and there is plenty of space up front. The seats could do with a little more thigh support though.

Similarly, there is plenty of legroom at the back and the cushioning is good, too, though you sit higher compared to the front passengers and that hampers under thigh support. As for the third row, it is a little cramped for adults and makes sense for kids at best. In terms of storage space, you get provision for a small bottle on all the doors, two glove boxes and a plethora of cup holders. The boot, meanwhile, is huge and the opening is wide and fairly low, making it easy to load up luggage.

There are no mechanical updates, with the 3-litre, four-cylinder diesel still making less power and torque than the Fortuner, but it does so in a relaxed and stress-free manner. The turbo diesel in fact makes 173bhp and 380Nm, with power going to the wheels via a 5-speed automatic.

It’s a big displacement old school engine that takes its own sweet time to pull the hefty MU-X. That being said, it is not harsh at all. It’s only when you push it to go faster that it gets really vocal and a bit gruff. Naturally, this engine pulls strongly in the midrange – the torque comes in at 1,800rpm .

The MUX is definitely more appealing and better equipped than before. It offers decent value in its segment, priced below the ever reliable Toyota Fortuner and the highly impressive Ford Everest.

All things considered, the MUXoffers value for money when compared to other large ladder frame SUVs available locally. If you are after a durable family hauler with excellent ride quality and a spacious cabin, the MUX is an excellent option.

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