2018 Isuzu mu-X 1.9 RZ4E

Adding options for car-buyers is a great move for a brand, as it gives the consumers choices that will fit to their wants and needs. Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) recognizes that and brings in the mu-X 1.9 RZ4E to the local showrooms. Its arrival came just in time, as it’s bound to replace the non-Euro 4-compliant 2.5 variants in IPC’s lineup.

Those who are shopping for a mu-X are now facing a tough choice — should they go for more power with the 3.0 or the smaller but more frugal 1.9? If you’re eyeing the latter, IPC gave us the chance to review both its manual and automatic transmission LS-A variants before its official launch. Here are our thoughts.

Outside, the mu-X 1.9 RZ4E is identical to the 3.0 Blue Power variant we reviewed last year. From the bi-LED projector headlamps to LED daytime running lights to chrome accents to roof rails to 18-inch rims — everything’s there, even IPC’s 20th Anniversary badge at the back. In fact, when you see these two variants side-by-side on the road, you won’t be able to tell the difference.

This is advantageous to you as a buyer, as there won’t be any exterior design wager if you’re on the dilemma of choosing between the 1.9 and 3.0 Blue Power mu-Xs. Like, if you want LED lighting instead of halogen ones, you can choose either of the two.

However, you have to sacrifice something when you go inside the midsize SUV. The mu-X RZ4E doesn’t have cruise control, which is pretty handy if you go through highways regularly. The seats are also clad with intricately-designed fabric, as opposed to the leather upholstery of the current 3.0. On the upside, that’s less heat when the car’s left on a sunny parking lot. They’re not power-adjustable as well, but that’s just a small convenience taken away.

Everything else inside the 1.9 mu-X is basically the same, even the 10-inch roof-mounted LCD monitor for videos, which is good since the somehow-premium feel of the current model is still there. And yes, the scratchy piano black accents are also there as well.

We just wish the heavy-steering feel of the 3.0L was corrected. It’s a bit of a workout sometimes, especially when maneuvering through tight city streets. Good thing, other things are retained like the mu-X’s superb ride comfort, roof-mounted air-conditioning vents, and the massive cabin space.

Now, the USB ports for charging? Well, it’s still lonely at the second row and non-existent at the third. Guess rear passengers have to resolve to power banks for road trips.

Let’s go to the juicy part. Of course, the biggest change in the 2018 mu-X Blue Power is the all-new 1.9L RZ4E-TC turbodiesel engine.  We know what you’re thinking — small engine means less power and with the mu-X’s massive size, the measly 1,898cc mill can only give so much.

Well, you’re wrong.

The all-new engine produces 148 hp and 350 Nm of torque — that’s even more than what the outgoing 2.5 variant can produce. Best part of it, that 350 Nm of pulling power is accessible right off the bat at 1,800 rpm. Nice.

The numbers on the spec sheet translate well during the actual drive on the road. Although less powerful than the 3.0 variant, the 1.9 RZ4E can pull itself nicely on high-speed runs and even on tough inclines. Take note, though, that we didn’t maximize its interior capacity during our test runs: just three people inside, plus boatloads of camera equipment. We’re sure it’s going to be a different story when the car is filled with seven passengers and their luggage.

I also like the midsize SUV’s braking power. The ventilated disc brakes in the front and at the back give more-than-enough force for the driver to feel safe even at high-speed runs. Moreover, brake override system (BOS) is added to the newest mu-X to avoid malfunction when the brake and accelerator pedals are simultaneously stepped on.

As previously mentioned, the 1.9 mu-X LS-A is available in both manual and automatic 6-speed transmissions. For those who love driving stick, that is IPC’s nod for you.

The manual variant feels like your average stick shift vehicle — smooth shifting and easy to get to the next gear. Its clutch pedal isn’t that deep as well, so driving through traffic isn’t that tiring. It even has a shift indicator at the instrument clusters that tells you when you already need to upshift.

On the other hand, the automatic slushbox works smoothly. What I’ve noticed is that it immediately wants to get out of the lower gears, which is really great for fuel efficiency.

With that said, the mu-X 1.9 produced notable fuel economy figures for both manual and automatic variants. City crawls for MT read 8.2 km/l, while faster pace at 60 km/h and highway cruise at 90 km/h registered 14.1 km/l and 17.9 km/l, respectively. The AT variant put out similar, albeit a bit higher, numbers: 8.6 km/l for city, 14.9 km/l for fast paces, and 18.2 km/l for highway runs.

With all things considered, the 2018 mu-X 1.9 RZ4E LS-A variants are great additions to IPC’s mu-X range. At P1,570,000 for the MT and 1,595,000 for the AT, these are appropriately priced when you look at the features you’ll get and the money you could save on fuel. It’s perfect for those who won’t really need an SUV to haul a lot of people or cargo.

Not only that, IPC tweaked things under the new variants’ hood to make its maintenance painless for the buyer — a Hydraulic Valve Lash Adjuster (HVLA) to keep correct valve lash clearance, a Single Engine Accessory Drive-belt for the air-conditioning and alternator compressor, and a Cartridge-type Oil Filter for easy oil filter maintenance.

With these, the mu-X 1.9 may not only be the better choice when shopping for mu-X per se; it can be the smart alternative when you’re lost at the sea of SUV options in the market.


Specifications

Engine

1.9 L

Fuel Type

Diesel

Performance

148 hp @ 3,600 rpm

Transmission

Automatic

Summary
Name Isuzu mu-X RZ4E LS-A 4x2 AT Blue Power
Body Type SUV
Price ₱ 1,545,000
Transmission Type Automatic
Engine
Performance
Economy & Environment
Dimensions
Safety & Security
Features
Technology

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