The Isuzu MU-X is a functional family 4WD.
In it’s base form, the Isuzu MU-X is a no-frills SUV with a focus on practicality. If you’re looking for a family car, enjoy 4WDing or need to tow a boat or trailer, the LS-T in particular is worth a closer look.
The Japanese 4x4 SUV is based on the Isuzu D-Max utility, sharing its 3.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine. Like the ute, the MU-X is a workhorse, with a 3-tonne towing capacity, max power of 130kW accompanied by 380Nm of torque.
If you’re after flashy power and performance, this isn’t the car for you. Steering requires a little bit of work, it’s four turns from lock-to-lock but being a big car that’s not unexpected. And don’t expect to get anywhere fast if you’re silly enough to race someone off the lights, it’s a bit sluggish when it comes to accelerating from a standstill.
There are two 2x4 and three 4x4 variants available, we tested the top spec 4x4 LS-T here and although rustic at best, I found it to be a functional family car. I spent a few days with the 7-seat MU-X running all the usual day-to-day errands, getting to and from work and weaving through Sydney's famous traffic.
Unlike the sophisticated SUVs that are built for the road, the MU-X's front suspension consists of coil springs and gas shock absorbers with upper and lower wishbones, while the rear has multi-link coil suspension also with gas filled shock absorbers - it gives it genuine off-road capability but does suffer on-road as a result.
Set on 17” alloy wheels, you’ll find this a bouncy ride around town over potholes and poorly sealed bitumen. On the highway however, the bumps are considerably less noticeable.
Let’s not forget, this car is probably best suited to being a functional family or work vehicle - it's not a sporty SUV. Off-road is where it really shines.
As the range-topper, the LS-T gets leather seats and trim, but the seats are firm and the leather isn’t enough to lift the overall aesthetics to be considered a luxury. The interior is best described as durable, functional and practical, the kids aren’t going to do much damage climbing in and out.
Rear passenger comfort has been well accommodated for. Though the base LS-M doesn’t have rear air vents, the step up LS-U and our LS-T have vents for both the 2nd
rows. The LS-U and LS-T also get a full size spare wheel.
It’s also worth noting that there are 6 airbags, including full-length curtain airbags, providing protection for all rows.
Worth noting that if you need to regularly use the 3rd
row, this limits the boot space. Luckily it has an impressive towing capacity, because if you were heading on a holiday with a 7-person family, you’d need to load up a trailer full of luggage.
But if the back seats are simply 'sometimes' seats, you’ll find the cargo area accommodating. The rear seats fold down flat and there’s a rear cargo storage box and power outlet.
This came in handy when I had to pick up my new outdoor setting. A flat-packed table with 6 chairs slid easily into the boot space with the 2nd
row folded down.
The top spec comes MU-X also comes with a number of other perks. There’s a 10-inch video monitor that folds down out of the roof, as well as a roof mounted surround sound system with speakers spread throughout the cabin – perfect for keeping your rear passengers comfortable and entertained.
It also comes with satellite navigation, reversing camera and rear park assist. Parking a vehicle that’s 4825mm long, 1860mm wide and 1860mm tall can be a challenge. The reversing camera and rear park assist are incredibly helpful. The sat-nav, on the other hand, was at times a curse rather than a blessing. It can be confusing, spouting seemingly random audible commands.
In one instance, I’d stopped at a red light and was turning right. When the light flashed green and I began to turn the corner the nav then told me to turn right in 30 metres. This left me half way around the corner, frantically searching for a quick right turn when the command was actually a directive regarding the turn I was already taking. On a number of occasions the nav gave me similar delayed commands.
If, unlike me, you don’t rely solely on a sat-nav for driving directions, the MU-X ticks a lot of boxes, particularly for families and those who aren’t looking for an over-the-top mode of transport. The MU-X is understated, simple, functional and practical.
If the Isuzu MU-X is on your shortlist, I’d suggest considering the top spec LS-T. Those extra features like reversing camera, surround sound, a video monitor and rear air vents do take it to another level, particularly when it comes to the comfort level of your passengers.