The next-generation Isuzu MU-X four-wheel-drive has been unveiled in Thailand before it arrives in Australian showrooms. 
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The covers have come off the 2021 Isuzu MU-X four-wheel-drive at a gala preview event in Thailand this afternoon, ahead of its Australian showroom arrival next year.

As night follows day, the 2021 Isuzu MU-X four-wheel-drive wagon has been unveiled about 12 months after the new-generation Isuzu D-Max ute, with which it shares the majority of its underpinnings.

While the new-generation Isuzu D-Max has just gone on sale in Australia, it was unveiled late last year in its homeland, Thailand.

Following that timeline, this means the new Isuzu MU-X should be in Australian showrooms about this time next year. This would equate to an eight-year model cycle given the current generation Isuzu MU-X went on sale locally in November 2013.

Although the new MU-X was unveiled amid much fanfare in Thailand, Isuzu has released limited information about the new model.

Price and specifications for Australian models will not be released until closer to the vehicle’s local on-sale date.

However, CarAdvice understands the 2021 Isuzu MU-X will benefit from many of the key improvements applied to the Isuzu D-Max ute.

The 2021 Isuzu MU-X is expected to be new from the ground up. Despite the familiar appearance it has an all-new body, chassis, and engine.

The new model promises class-leading safety, including a centre airbag between the front seats (a first among its rivals, as per the Isuzu D-Max) as well as advanced technology such as radar cruise control, twin-camera autonomous emergency braking, blind zone warning, rear cross-traffic alert, speed sign recognition, and more.

Infotainment is expected to include a large 9-inch screen with Apple Car Play, Android Auto and a digital speed display in the instrument cluster. Top end models will likely have dual zone air-conditioning and rear air vents.

The new 3.0-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder (140kW/450Nm) fitted to the 2021 Isuzu D-Max is expected to carry over into the new-generation Isuzu MU-X. It will likely be paired with a choice of a six-speed auto or six-speed manual, in 2WD or 4WD on certain models, as is the case currently. A rear differential lock is also expected to be available on the 2021 Isuzu MU-X, as per the new Isuzu D-Max.

Photos of the 2021 Isuzu MU-X show the new model has a much more modern appearance than the outgoing version, with sleek bi-LED headlights on top end models, and a wide, bold grille.

New available features include cooled front seats, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a household power socket inside the cabin, extra USB charging ports front and rear, premium audio, an electric park brake, and an adjustable electric tailgate on high-end models. Footage shows some models will be available with paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

Exterior design touches include sporty-looking 20-inch wheels and LED tail-lights on high grade variants. Automated parking tech – which works with front and rear sensors and the new electric power steering system – is also likely to be available.

Also notable is the effort to differentiate the styling of the Isuzu MU-X compared to the Isuzu D-Max. The predecessors of both models were similar in design, the new iterations have greater differentiation.

While the current Isuzu MU-X trails its rivals in technology and refinement, the new model aims to leapfrog the newer competition.

That said, the Isuzu MU-X has been a resounding success in Australia, despite its gruffness compared to newer rivals.

The first-generation Isuzu MU-X went on sale in November 2013 and has led the local ute-derived body-on-frame four-wheel-drive wagon market ever since.

The current Isuzu MU-X has outsold the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and its predecessor the Mitsubishi Challenger every year it has been on sale locally.

The Isuzu MU-X has also outsold newer rivals such as the Ford Everest and Toyota Fortuner, both of which were introduced in 2015.

The only body-on-frame four-wheel-drive in the class to outsell the Isuzu MU-X is the Toyota LandCruiser Prado, which is bigger and more expensive and not regarded as a direct rival.