We’re just fresh off the launch of the new Nissan Terra just several days ago. I also heard that Toyota is coming up with its new Fortuner. Now, there’s another sport utility vehicle contender that has officially joined the fray — the all-new Isuzu Mu-X as it finally arrives in our own shores. This second generation seven-seater is touted to exude quintessential luxury while retaining the marque’s reputation for reliability and power. The local market has actually been eagerly anticipating its arrival after being launched in Thailand several months ago — and according to rumors — it is making waves there.
In fact, in a speech during its recent virtual launch, Isuzu Philippines Corporation president Hajime Koso said, “Finally, the long wait is over. Get ready to be impressed and moved with the Mu-X that will give you confidence and pleasure to drive it. It is an Mu-X like we’ve never seen it before.”
Now, the key phrase here is: “We’ve never seen before”. Sounds more exciting, right? But in reality, it actually is. Its exterior aesthetics are basically based on two engineering concepts, the first being “robust,” a term we usually use for the D-Max, as it is said to represent Isuzu’s identity which comprises of innovation, performance and safety. Another term supposedly being used to describe it is: “Exclusive,” apparently describing its precision, excellent craftsmanship and pleasure of ownership. Well, other words describing it are “emotional” and “solid.” By now, you already pretty much get the picture.
It sports a new cross front grille design that features the brand’s identity transitioning to a progressive and sophisticated character, evident in the refreshed rear look and bolder tailgate. It is then capped by its 20-inch alloys.
Inside, on paper, it is equally impressive. Thanks to its intricate and smart design. Designed to appeal to human response sensors making it a pleasurable space to spend time in for both the driver and passengers.
Its leather wrapped steering wheel and gear selector are designed with the driver in mind for a relaxed and enjoyable experience while behind the wheel.
Moreover, it is said to be the carmaker’s most driver-centric and luxurious ever made. Thoughtful features can be found from front to end. There are 12 cup holders and those that are located by the door pockets can fit a 1.5-L bottle, those at the folding armrest in the second row features a clever slide-away tray that can hold smart phones while charging or at the same time serve as storage for small items. Meanwhile, those at the last row feature a snugged fit at the dedicated arm rest.
Entertainment-wise, the SUV now has a 10.1-inch full touchscreen display that is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. It also has an eight-speaker system with JVC Kenwood tweeters mounted unto the rear doors. Power outlets can also be found not just at the lower dash up front but now also at the center console with a dedicated rear 220V and dual 2.4A USB charging ports to cater to on-the-go passenger needs for their smart phones or other gadgets.
To note, its B-Pillars were adjusted forward by 25-mm for additional leg room and now have assist handles for extra support when boarding in and out of the rear doors. Whereas the C-Pillars are made narrower, and its rear quarter bottom glass edge lowered so there is continuity of visibility making the driver’s field of view greater versus the previous.
There are many other improvements to augment space, even increasing its loading capacity from 60 to 100 kilograms.
At its heart is the new 4JJ3-TCX turbo engine mated to a six-speed automatic tranny, churning out 188hp and 450N-m of torque.
Aside from all of these, it has loads of technologically advanced safety features, clearly leveling up the SUV by leaps and bounds compared to its predecessor. Not to mention being awarded five-star ASEAN NCAP rating for safety.
It is tagged as follows: Isuzu Mu-X 3.0L 4×4 LS-E AT — P2,450,000; Isuzu Mu-X 3.0L 4×2 LS-E AT — P2,100,000; Isuzu Mu-X 3.0L 4×2 LS-A AT — P1,900,000; Isuzu Mu-X RZ4E 4×2 LS-A MT — P1,770,00 and the Isuzu Mu-X RZ4E 4×2 LS AT — P1,590,000.
Overall, we really have a clear contender right here. Yes, it all looks good on paper. But a real test drive is the only way to truly gauge its claims.