Diesel-powered vehicles do attract a lot of Filipinos. Apart from its fuel efficiency, most modern diesel engines nowadays come with sufficient power outputs that should satisfy the driver be it during urban cruising or highway runs. Isuzu has long been establishing its expertise in producing this kind of motor, truly the brand holds the winning recipe as apart from the aforementioned characteristics of a diesel engine, the Japanese automaker has also built its benchmark for reliability. From the iconic Crosswind to the D-Max pickup and mu-X, all vehicles hold the brand’s robust DNA.
The Isuzu mu-X is currently and the only Midsize SUV offering of the brand. Standing strong with four trims, the mu-X is either run by a 1.9-liter RZ4E turbo diesel engine that produces a humble 148 hp and 350 Nm of torque, or a larger 3.0-liter Blue Power turbo diesel engine that puts out a mightier 175 hp and 380 Nm of torque. While this model may be around for quite some time now, Isuzu has made some significant updates in order to continue enticing more prospective customers. So if you’re in the market for a brand new mu-X, then lucky you, as we are about to compare and see if which among its trims offer the best value and is worthy of your hard-earned cash. With all that said, let’s do this.
Serving you the basic needs
Now, onto the most basic trim of the lineup. The mu-X RZ4E LS 4x2 AT looks rather plain yet not offending as it does give you everything you need on a vehicle. On the outside, you’ll notice the abundance of black details that were applied on the bumper, side mirrors, and door handles, the grille, on the other hand, is then treated with a shiny grey material. Despite being the entry-level variant of the pack, it still comes with a pair of Bi-LED projector-type headlamps that sports an auto-leveling function and DRLs. While the rear also gets taillights treated with halogen bulbs with LED positioning lamps. Step boards, however, are optional on this variant. As for the shoes, it is then fitted with a set of 16-inch alloys wrapped in 245/70 tires.
Inside, the mu-X still carries the ever-familiar layout which is actually identical to its pickup sibling, the D-Max. Standards features include cloth seats, manual climate control, and power windows. On a side note, the 8-inch infotainment system remains an option for the LS trim.
Under its hood is the 1.9-liter RZ4E turbo diesel motor that is then paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard safety and security features include dual airbags, ISOFIX child seat tethers, side door impact beams, Brake Override System, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), and brake assist. Additionally, it also has speed-sensing door locks. Now, in terms of pricing, the RZ4E LS 4x2 AT currently retails at P1,350,000, and it’s still deemed as one of the most affordable diesel midsize SUVs in the market. Not only do you get a spacious 7-seat layout, but it also rewards you with great fuel efficiency and esteemed reliability which does serve your basic needs.
A well-specced manual trim
Now, if you’re still into the good old stick shift, lucky you, as the Isuzu mu-X is still being offered with a manual gearbox that’s surprisingly packed with a good amount of features. While retaining almost all of the reinforcements from the entry-level variant, the RZ4E LS-A 4x2 MT has then replaced those aforementioned black details on the entry-level variant with chrome accents, this also includes the grille which was previously treated in some shiny grey material. While the contrasting details on the bumper are now replaced with silver cladding, plus, the side mirrors now feature side repeaters, giving it a more stylish and functional approach. It also comes with roof rails and a new set of wheels measuring at 18-inches and are then wrapped in 255/60 tires.
Standard features now include an 8-inch infotainment system and cloth seats. It does, however, get some notable upgrades including the automatic climate control for front occupants, a push-start button along with a smart keyless entry system, and the additional ambient lighting installed on each door. For a more engaging in-car entertainment experience, the RZ4E LS-A 4x2 MT now gets a 10-inch roof-mounted LCD monitor.
As for its motor, this particular variant is still motivated by the small yet mighty 1.9-liter RZ4E turbo diesel engine that is now paired with a 6-speed manual transmission. Lastly, the following safety and security features from the previous trim were retained, although, it is worth mentioning that it comes with the addition of a reversing camera that’s also paired with parking sensors.
The following additions do require you to shell out a few more pesos than the entry-level, with it being priced at P1,670,000. Surprisingly, it is actually well-equipped for a manual trim, and that’s quite rare to find in its segment nowadays.
A major mechanical upgrade
Exterior wise, everything is the same except for the rear spoiler. As for the inside, the 3.0 LS-A 4x2 AT Blue Power now gains leather upholstered seats with power-adjustability for the driver, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone integration, as well as cruise control which is quite essential during long drives. Its ground clearance has also been raised a bit, from the 1.9-liter units coming from 220mm, 3.0-liter variants sit higher by 230mm.
The biggest change of all can be found under its hood, as this particular variant is now powered by the larger 3.0-liter Blue Power turbo diesel engine producing the aforementioned figures above. This particular mill can only be paired with the brand’s 6-speed automatic transmission. Safety and security features were retained from the RZ4E LS-A 4x2 MT as well, although, it is worth noting that this particular trim boasts of Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Start Assist (HSA), and Hill Descent Control (HDC).
This major mechanical upgrade does reward you with a more powerful engine and more safety equipment, making the P1,795,000 price tag of this particular trim well justified.
Conquer the terrain
Coming from its 4x2 counterpart, this variant family serves as the range-topping trim of the entire mu-X line. While carrying the same set of equipment from the previous variant, the 3.0 LS-A 4x4 AT Blue Power heightens its overall capability all thanks to its Terrain Command Select Dial.
While most buyers wouldn’t be using their mu-X for off-road purposes, the top-of-the-line trim is priced P2,145,000 and it does give you the utmost capability to tackle some unpredictable trails ahead.
While the entire variant range delivers a good value proposition, the 3.0 LS-A 4x2 AT Blue Power offers the best bang-for-buck out of all the four trims. At P1,795,000, it already gives you the needs and wants you’d look for in a vehicle such as the 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the ever-reliable and efficient 3.0-liter Blue Power Turbo diesel engine.
Isuzu managed to strengthen this outgoing model through some notable updates including the new infotainment system and more stylish alloys for LS-A variants even if the model is a bit on the older side.
Truly, the entire mu-X family stands strong all thanks to Isuzu’s expertise for diesel engines and its benchmark for reliability. That said, this midsize SUV may lack some of those fancy gizmos or driver-assist features found on some of its competitors, but it does manage to stay true to its robust DNA which was solely formulated by the people behind the brand, making it the good old reliable of the segment.
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