CONDUCT | Isuzu’s new MU-X is a supreme off-roader, but you’ll also like it as a daily cruiser

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  • The all-new Isuzu MU-X 2021 is based on the bakkie D-Max 2022 platform.
  • Offers revised styling, improved technology and improved dynamics.
  • The high-end premium model can brake automatically in an emergency.
  • For automotive news, visit Wheels24

Isuzu Motors launched its all-new MU-X in South Africa this week. The fully imported seven-seater is based on the upcoming 2022 Isuzu D-Max bakkie which is currently produced locally at the company’s high-tech factory in the Eastern Cape. The new D-Max will be launched in South Africa in the second quarter of 2022.

The 2021 MU-X is tasked with securing a healthier portion of the body-on-chassis SUV market for Isuzu in South Africa by combining cutting-edge looks with advanced safety technologies and supreme off-road capabilities. We sampled the midrange 4×2 LSE and premium 4×4 Onyx variants at the media launch in George this week. The region’s majestic mountain roads and its demanding selection of dirt trails through the Outeniqua Mountains allowed us to give the new model a true test drive experience.

Isuzu MU-X 2021 in the Onyx specification.

Courageous and daring style

Isuzu has undoubtedly elevated the MU-X’s style and presence to a higher rung on the desirability scale compared to its boxy-looking predecessor. At the front of the new vehicle, its slim, snake-shaped LED headlamps immediately catch your eye. Next, on the side, a prominent horizontal style blade connects the front of the vehicle to the rear at hip level. At the rear, beautiful taillights complete what is arguably the most beautiful vehicle in the segment.

The LSE model we drove first had 18-inch alloy rims and all-terrain tires. The Onyx model is fitted with 20-inch wheels and all-terrain tires. Both vehicles looked smart and chic, without looking overly stylish with extreme creases and creases. Isuzu hasn’t gone overboard with the chrome; it has just the right amount which is easy to maintain and keep clean.

In terms of styling, we have no doubts that this vehicle will turn heads and get you noticed if you are looking for a car that commands attention. On the launch road, many motorists hooted and nodded with a smile and a nod of approval that they liked what they saw. Isuzu has made a brave and daring move here to make the MU-X more appealing, and they’ve succeeded. You might see hints of other vehicles in the overall execution of this one, but from any angle we should say that this is a stunning vehicle to watch.


Would you consider the new Isuzu MU-X as a replacement model for your current SUV? Let us know in the comments, or please drop us an email.


2021 Isuzu MU-X

Isuzu MU-X 2021 in the LSE specification.

Rough and hard underneath

The new MU-X is based on the future D-Max bakkie. Its ladder frame has been reinforced with reinforced steels and composites, and its suspension and drivetrain have been improved through the use of new bushings for the suspension system, a thicker anti-roll bar, and tweak settings. Revised damping and rebound for the shocks.

Compared to the old MU-X, which we drove on the first day of the launch event, the new model certainly drives more compliant. There is always body roll and you have to relax in the corners or the stability and traction control kicks in quite intensely, but from old to new you can instantly feel that the new version is more pleasant to use. driving on the road.

2021 Isuzu MU-X

The top of the range Isuzu MU-X Onyx 2021 comes with 20 inch wheels and tires.

When it comes to off-road capabilities, Isuzu made sure that we could truly experience the capabilities of the car as we chart beautiful roads through the Western Cape. We climbed lots of mountains, steep climbs with pointy rocks, and tight turns off the road. My co-pilot and I were happy to be in the version with 18-inch wheels (even though it didn’t have 4×4 mode). The thicker tire profile of this model gave us more confidence to tackle dirt roads, with less fear of the 20 inch low profile being damaged by rocks.

We were following an Onyx 4×4 model in a convoy anyway, and he had no difficulty crossing the terrain in front of us. We spoke to the driver of this car, and he said it was very bumpy (but if you want 20 inch wheels this is something you have to consider). Still, he felt confident behind the wheel of the car with the 20 inch wheels and tires. Once Isuzu adds this vehicle to its media fleet in 2022, we’ll take an Onyx on a 4×4 track and report on its capabilities.

2021 Isuzu MU-X

Isuzu MU-X 2021 in the Onyx specification.

Like a luxury car on the road

We managed to drive an Onyx 4×4 for a brief stint on a tarmac section of the route and report that the vehicle is sublime as a cruiser. Our launch cars were brand new and the suspension systems were still in place, so they drove with a hint of firmness, but we think after a few 1000 kilometers in the vehicle the Onyx will run fine; in a sporty way but without shaking you.

The engine and transmission proved to be a treat as well, thanks to a decent distribution of torque and enough horsepower to overtake when needed. The six-speed transmission was driving a little off the road, but on the road it was fine.

2021 Isuzu MU-X

The Isuzu MU-X 2021 is only available with an automatic transmission.

The car quickly gets into a good rhythm with the driver and the road, and it doesn’t tumble as much as the old car did when you apply the brakes. The whole time we drove the Onyx version of the MU-X, it felt more like a luxury vehicle than a scale vehicle on the road. Compared to its predecessor and some of its competition, there is a lushness and a sense of control of the car here that is hard to beat. The LSE 4×2 version was also excellent on the road, and it moved with an even more luxurious feel.

2021 Isuzu MU-X

Interior Isuzu MU-X 2021.

Range-topper comes with features

While all variants of the Isuzu MU-X range are suitably equipped in terms of convenience, luxury and safety, the Onyx is the star of the show thanks to its IDAS system and the addition of eight airbags.

IDAS is an acronym for Isuzu Security Technologies which uses stereoscopic cameras to monitor the situation around the vehicle. While IDAS is active, the MU-X constantly scans the road ahead, and if it senses danger (such as when a car ahead is applying emergency braking), the Onyx can automatically brake for you. .

IDAS also offers smart technologies such as throttle sensitivity limitation in slippery conditions in conjunction with traction control systems or the detection of objects or people in front of the car. The Onyx supplied with IDAS also offers radar-guided cruise control, which proved to be easy to operate via the vehicle’s redesigned steering wheel.

2021 Isuzu MU-X

Eight driver and front passenger airbags in the new MU-X.

We can’t wait to learn more about IDAS when we test drive the Onyx next year, but if you’re looking for a vehicle with plenty of gadgets to keep your family safe, definitely ask your salesperson for an in-depth overview of the IDAS system. in the new MU-X.

The top of the line also comes with an eight airbag that deploys from the driver’s seat to occupy the space between the driver and front passenger in the event of an accident. They say it’s to prevent front seat occupants from banging their heads on an impact.

2021 Isuzu MU-X

Isuzu MU-X 2021 in the LS specification.

An engine, but it’s okay

The new MU-X range is equipped with a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel engine delivering 140 kW and 450 Nm of torque. The maximum torque figure comes in from 1,600 rpm, giving you excellent pulling power at low revs.

The six-speed automatic transmission shifts quickly, so you can upshift and drink as little as 9.5 liters per 100 kilometers (in the Onyx). Isuzu claims the vehicle will consume as little as 7.6 liters per 100 kilometers, and that also seems achievable if you treat its accelerator pedal with respect. On and off the road, the engine turned out meaty and it didn’t feel like it was spinning too high like other models offering 2.0-liter machines in this segment.

A 3.0-liter powertrain might not be for everyone in this downsizing world, but it has that refined feel and will no doubt have more than enough oomph to haul up to seven. adults without feeling safe.

2021 Isuzu MU-X

Isuzu MU-X 2021 in the LSE specification.

General summary

There’s so much more to unbox with the new MU-X, like its excellent new interior, comfortable seats, large trunk and generous interior space. It has a new audio system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and revised ergonomics to ensure easier operation of the driving modes and safety systems.

We’ll be unveiling more new MU-X tech and upgrades with each model we review over the next few months, so be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss out on those test drives.

Here is the range and prices of the Isuzu MU-X 2021 in South Africa:

  • LS 4×2 automatic – R693 800
  • LS 4×4 automatic – R 771 600
  • LSE 4×2 automatic – R763 300
  • Onyx 4×4 automatic – R860 500

After a few days of experience with the LSE 4×2 model and the high-end Onyx 4×4, it is clear that the Onyx model is the one that will make you vibrate, just like ours. It’s pricey, but it’s capable, full of features, and comes with a decent warranty and service plan. We enjoyed the MU-X on the open road and along the rugged and rugged mountain passes.

2021 Isuzu MU-X

Isuzu MU-X 2021 in the LSE specification.

We think it’s a serious contender in the segment if you’re considering a Fortuner, Everest, or Pajero Sport. Isuzu can unbundle the vehicle pricing service plan for you (according to industry guidelines). You can ask the dealer for the exact price when inquiring or testing one.

The 2021 Isuzu MU-X might be the perfect vehicle to consider if you downsize a multi-million Rand luxury SUV because it offers the looks, the technology and, most importantly, it moves with. grace and confidence and feels sturdy and solidly designed.


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