With the 2021 Isuzu D-Max already filing out of Australian showrooms, it comes no surprise the related 2021 Isuzu MU-X SUV isn’t far behind.
Until now, Isuzu has remained tight-lipped on details and timing for its new seven-seat, off-roading family 4x4.
Images retrieved from the Japan Patent Office by dutch publication AutoWeek have opened the floodgates however, giving the clearest look yet at what to expect from the 2021 MU-X.
As with the current generation, it appears the front doors, bonnet and front guards will be shared between ute and SUV, however in order to separate the commercial vehicle range from the more family-friendly SUV, detail difference will provide the MU-X with its own unique look.
If these patent images hold true, the MU-X looks set to adopt slimmer headlights and a much slimmer grille than the D-Max. Air intakes that are framed by the grille in the D-Max also sit in their own stand-alone lower aperture.
One of the more interesting details is the winged grille surround, which wraps the grille and reaches to the corners of each headlight, not unlike the designs seen on Mazda models (including the related new BT-50 ute).
With the new D-Max forming the basis of Mazda’s BT-50, could a version of the MU-X join the Mazda range as a more off-road capable alternative to the CX-9? (We imagined just such a model back in June.)
In profile, the MU-X appears to depart dramatically from the current model, with the chunky C-pillar and wrap-around rear glazing swapped out for a continuous glasshouse from front to rear.
The D-pillar now carries the main body colour, with a kicked-up beltline and sloping quarter panel window adding dynamism not present in the current design.
Thanks to unique rear doors compared to the D-Max, the MU-X picks up a shadowline over the top of the rear door handle, creating a more prominent haunch over the rear wheels.
As with the current generation, the new MU-X appears to keep two-piece tail lights that extend into the top-hinged tailgate. The number plate recess has been pushed down slightly, while the under-slung spare wheel remains.
While it may carry a dramatically different look on the outside, tradition dictates the MU-X will follow the D-Max's lead mechanically. Expect to see a version of the ladder frame chassis, from the D-Max, albeit modified to accept a coil-sprung rear axle.
The new 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine, and its 140kW/450Nm outputs should port across, as should the six speed automatic transmission.
When will the 2021 Isuzu MU-X come to Australia?
Until Isuzu pulls the wraps from the new MU-X officially, it's difficult to speculate on local timing, but if launch timing for the current model is any guide, we would expect a debut for this new generation to occur in late 2021.
A spokesperson from Isuzu Ute Australia told CarAdvice: “We are unable to comment on future model plans, but rest assured, the MU-X is an important nameplate to Isuzu UTE Australia and we will continue to monitor the market to provide the best product to meet our customers’ expectations.”