Isuzu mu-x review

As the DENR deadline for non-Euro 4-compliant vehicles draws to a close, there are vehicles in the market that are in danger of getting axed. The Isuzu Crosswind and Mitsubishi Adventure are among those, which we (sadly) have to bid farewell to.

However, there’s another Isuzu vehicle that's in trouble with the said regulation — the mu-X. Thankfully, Isuzu Philippines brings in the new Blue Power engine during their 20th Anniversary.

With a promise of better emission and engine performance, does this new iteration of Isuzu’s famous midsize SUV live up to its predecessor’s reputation? We drive the 3.0 LS-A 4x2 AT Blue Power variant to find out.

The new mu-X Blue Power’s design isn’t far from the models it replaced; it still has that robust yet classy design. What separates this new model, though, are the restyled daytime running lights (DRL), embossed grille from the D-Max, bigger 18-inch rims, and a slightly revamped front and rear bumpers. To top it off, the mu-X Blue Power is given 2 new decals by the tailgate — the Isuzu’s 20th year and Blue Power badges.

All the slight exterior changes complement the already-imposing appeal of the mu-X. However, what I think is its best trait is the Silky Pearl White color that will cost you an additional P10,000. For me, it’s the best-looking among the pearl white variants of its competitors with its slightly reddish hue.

The changes inside the mu-X Blue Power are also subtle, yet a great improvement from the outgoing model. It has new seat design, covered with a combination of synthetic and genuine leather that are soft to the touch. Also, the blue- and white-themed gauge clusters are well-lit and visible even under direct sunlight.

A blue ambient lighting is also added to the mu-X’s interior. It gives a premium feel to the car at night. Most parts of the dashboard looks plush with leather coverings and some soft plastic items. However, the piano black accents aren’t really a preference for me. Sure, they look good but these can be easily scratched through time.

As a family vehicle, among the things you should check is the car’s air conditioning. The mu-X does a great job with that, even at the last row — thanks to the roof-mounted air vents that has independent controls.

Another thing to consider, especially in this gadget-filled environment, is the availability of USB charging ports and power outlets. They are quite abundant for the driver and front passenger (2 USB ports and 2 12V power outlets), however, passengers at the back will need to take turns as there’s only 1 USB port for the 2nd row and a 12V outlet at the luggage area behind the 3rd row.

I like the mu-X’s 8-inch touchscreen LCD with offline navigation that’s connected to a 10-inch roof-mounted pop-up LCD monitor by the 2nd row. You can do smartphone mirroring to source the video, but it’s for Android phones only.

Good thing the head unit has a DVD player, so you better get one of those Disney DVDs for the kids. Speaking of kids, the mu-X Blue Power has ISOFIX child seat latches, which is the better seat option to ensure your child’s safety when riding with you.

For its acoustics, well, the speakers sound okay in the front but passengers at the back aren’t given with the same luxury. The sound is barely there at the 2nd and 3rd rows — something that Isuzu can fix for future models.

As you would expect from a huge vehicle, space is abundant with the mu-X – more than enough for 7 medium-built adults (driver included). 3rd row entry and exit is also easy as the 2nd row seats can stumble completely. Although, 3rd row passengers may have to compromise legroom, as it’s just enough to fit those 5’7” and below, with knees already touching the 2nd row backrests.

Surprisingly, the luggage space at the back can carry up to 7 overnight bags. Not bad, really. You can maximize this by folding the 3rd row backrests flat, at the expense of 2 passengers.

Just like the other midsize SUVs these days, the ride comfort for all passengers is superb even with its on-frame body construction. The 5-link rear coil spring suspension of the mu-X is soft enough to absorb road imperfections, but not too damp, so there’s no excessive bothersome bounciness.

However, this type of suspension has its price: along with its high ground clearance, there’s considerable body roll so you might want to ease up on long curved roads. Nevertheless, with the minimal noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) level inside the cabin, the mu-X’s overall creature comfort is noteworthy.

The crown jewel of the mu-X Blue Power is its all-new Euro 4-compliant, turbocharged 3.0L diesel engine that’s nothing short of power. With 175 hp and 380 Nm of torque, it’s not the over-achiever against Japanese rivals like the Toyota Fortuner and Mitsubishi Montero Sport, but these numbers translate well to the ground for an easy and enjoyable drive.

With 7 people on-board (with overnight bags), the mu-X was able to pull its laden weight even during uphill climbs — no need for hill assist control. It’s important to take note, though, that this is the 4x2 variant, which was 100-kg lighter than the 4x4 option.

Still, with only the rear wheels doing the action, the engine felt powerful every time. It also has hill descent control that controlled the engine during downhill crawls. This gave me a peace of mind even when the car was loaded.

With its high ride height, driving visibility was wide and good with the mu-X. The right driving position was also easy to find with its power-adjustable seat and tilt-able steering wheel. All the driving controls were within arm’s reach as well. Along with the mentioned space, this made long drives less tiring and enjoyable.

One thing that can be greatly improved with the mu-X was its steering wheel. It really felt heavy; it’s like I was compelled to exercise at 6:00 a.m. with only 2 hours of sleep the night prior. This was okay on the highway as it made the SUV planted and stable, however, city drives and tackling tight streets demanded effort. Good thing it has rear-view cameras installed to assist in maneuvering this fairly large machine.

With a hefty 3.0L diesel engine under the hood, the mu-X registered outstanding fuel economy figures. Snail-paced EDSA runs at 8:00 a.m. read 7.1 km/l, while faster city strolls at 60 km/h gave out 13 km/l. On the other hand, highway stints with cruise control nailed at 90 km/h consumed 17.9 km/l. Not bad for an SUV. Not bad at all.

The Isuzu mu-X 3.0 LS-A 4x2 AT Blue Power sells at P1,598,000. This is the least expensive when compared against the 4x2 AT variants of its mentioned rivals. With its above average driving traits, commendable passenger comfort, and solid design, it’s a great choice for those who’s looking for a midsize 7-seater SUV that won’t hurt their wallets. It also has all the essential tech features and more within its price point, especially if bought for the family. Plus, the addition of the Blue Power engine isn’t really too late for this model. The timing couldn’t have been any more perfect.

So, is it a hit or miss? For me, the mu-X 4x2 Blue Power is a solid hit and a true representation of great value.


Specifications

Engine

3.0 L

Fuel Type

Diesel

Performance

175 hp @ 3,550 rpm

Transmission

Automatic

Summary
Name Isuzu mu-X 3.0 LS-A 4x2 AT BluePower
Body Type SUV
Price ₱ 1,598,000
Transmission Type Automatic
Engine
Performance
Economy & Environment
Dimensions
Safety & Security
Features
Technology

Colors

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