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The previous generation MU-X earned a reputation for being hard-working, reliable and a value proposition. It has developed a bit of a cultish following among owners and Isuzu has looked to build on what was already a good thing.
On paper, this new MU-X is more refined on the road, better appointed inside and a more capable performer.
Currently, the LandCruiser Prado outsells the Isuzu MU-X, which is the second best-selling in the segment by a considerable margin, despite a notable price difference.
The 2022 Isuzu MU-X range starts at $47,900 (before onroad costs) topping out at the LS-T, which is what we are testing here. This model costs $56,900 before on-roads. Looking at the Isuzu website, you can purchase one, driveaway for $63,990.
So should you consider the new MU-X, or stick with the segment incumbent?
Overall, the 2022 Isuzu MU-X LS-T is really well appointed.
Trim consists of leather with contrast stitching and though you do get a bit of hard plastic and some piano black trimmings, it’s apples and oranges compared to the previous MU-X.
The interior, on this LS-T model in particular, really does shift the brand's family mover from a workman-like, go-anywhere vehicle to something that will readily compete as a well-appointed everyday car.
Climbing up inside the 2022 MU-X you will find that the leather-appointed seats are well padded and comfortable. They are 8-way adjustable in LS-T guise and also come fitted with heating functionality. There is no ventilation for the seats, but that isn’t the end of the world.
Fitted front and centre on the dashboard is a 9-inch infotainment system which is sharp and responsive to swipes and taps. The graphics for the system itself leaves a bit to be desired and the way the system flows as you interact with it isn’t as intuitive as you would perhaps like.
On the plus side though, you do get wireless Apple CarPlay. If you are a Samsung user like myself though, you’ll need to connect a cable to load up Android Auto. Once you have your smartphone mirrored on the system, all is forgiven.
Looking below the screen you have your other controls, such as dual-zone air conditioning and fan speeds, laid out in a horizontal fashion. Now, this might not be a popular opinion, but I actually prefer the way that the controls were laid out in the previous MU-X.
With that said, I have to admit that there are more functions here and there’s a lot more going on. It probably did need a change, but it would have been good to see the brand retain a smidgen of that old layout.
The air-conditioning does a great job of cooling the cabin, and with the fan on full bore can feel hurricane-like. Second-row passengers get their own vents and controls in the roof, and with those pumping out chilly air, it takes no time at all to drop the mercury.
There are 2 decent-sized cup holders in the centre console that are able to hold a 600ml bottle or can. You won’t get anything larger than that in there though, so your reusable metal bottles and supplement shakers will need to go in the door bin. The good news there is that the door bins are generous, accepting 1.5-litre water bottles with plenty of room to store other items.
What may be a little deceiving is the storage tray in front of the gear selector, which is where you would find a wireless charging bay in most new cars. There is no wireless charging and while that isn’t a massive issue in itself, the fact that there is only one USB point up front means that if you need to charge anything other than a phone, you can’t use Android Auto. Apple users have it a bit easier.
Other devices will need to be charged by the dual USB ports in the second row.
Speaking of the back row, as you would expect from a large SUV like this, there is plenty of space. At just over 6 feet I had ample knee and headroom when sitting back there.
Product designers at Isuzu have also added a handle on the B-pillar of the 2022 MU-X which can help you get in and out of the vehicle, but also serves as a hold during more rigorous offroading.
The rear seats, wrapped in leather, are comfortable. Adding to the comfort levels back there are your own air conditioning switchgear, that allows you to control the fan speed (but not temperature) billowing from the ceiling-mounted, directional air conditioning vents.
Additionally, there are 2 cup holders that pop out of the end of the armrests, which is great because then you don't have that uncomfortable “my arm is half on plastic, half on padded surface” issue. Another plus point are the generous door bins.
Perhaps surprisingly, there is a good amount of room in the third row too. Often I have to be a contortionist to sit back there, but it required much less effort and once in place, I had an impressive amount of legroom (for a third row).
With that third row in place, there isn’t going to be all that much room in the boot for longer trips, meaning you’ll need to tow.
But with all that said, in terms of this segment, the 2022 MU-X has a generous 311 litres of space with all seats in place. The MU-X manages to trump both the Ford Everest and LandCruiser Prado, which have 249 litres and 120 litres respectively.
The 2022 iteration of the Isuzu MU-X is powered by a 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine that has been re-engineered and refined. The changes are obvious and significant.
Gone is that truck-like rumble and noise, in its place you’ll find a quieter, more refined cabin. This result isn’t just from the engine; the team at Isuzu have done work on sound deadening in the cabin as well. The combination translates into an almost whisper-quiet interior.
The engine produces 140kW of power and 450 Nm of torque, an increase of 10kW and 20Nm on the outgoing engine. With power right down low, it means that it is equally adept around town as it is off-road.
It is mated to a new 6-speed automatic transmission, also re-engineered to be smoother and faster. Isuzu notes that there is a 0.2 second improvement in shift time between gears. You probably aren’t going to notice that, but you will notice a difference in how smooth the changes happen, especially if you drive a new and old model back-to -back.
A larger, 80-litre fuel tank has been installed on the 2022 MU-X as well, increasing capacity by 15 litres. When you consider that the turbo diesel engine sips roughly 8.3 litres per 100km, that is a significant extension of your driving range. You’ll be able to travel upward of 1,000kms depending on the conditions.
Chassis improvements and strengthening have resulted in the ability to carry a larger payload, tow more and made the ride more plush than before. We did over 1,500kms in the MU-X during our time with it and had very little to complain about on highways, at speed or around town.
Light, electric power steering means, for such a substantial vehicle, that it's relatively easy to drive and manoeuvre. Aided by a reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors on this LS-T (rear is standard across the range), there really isn’t a need to be intimidated by parking either.
However, one thing we did observe with the front sensors was that they would, at random times, be triggered in stationary traffic.
Braked towing capacity has increased to 3.5 tonnes, while unbraked towing remains unchanged at 750kg.
If you plan on doing some towing, you can option a towing pack directly from Isuzu that includes basically everything you need for towing, including a 12-pin socket.
The 2022 MU-X range gets Isuzu’s Intelligent Driver Assistance System (IDAS) as standard. IDAS features a tonne of active and passive safety systems to keep everyone in the vehicle, as well as pedestrians and other motorists, safe. These include things like:
There is more, but interestingly, at the centre of the IDAS system is a Hitachi 3D stereo camera that is so advanced it can tell the distance, size, depth and velocity of vehicles. If it happens to detect a pedestrian, I half-suspect it could tell you what they had for lunch or have in their pockets.
As a result of this 3D camera, Isuzu is offering over 40 genuine accessories that can be optioned and added to your new Isuzu. All have been engineered to work with the cameras and various components of the IDAS system, so in the instance of this LS-T they would work with the front parking sensors too.
A 6-year, 150,000 kilometre warranty is offered on all new MU-X models as well as 7 years of complimentary roadside assistance as long as the vehicle is serviced through Isuzu UTE dealers.
Capped-price servicing is also offered, with the total coming to $3,373. Intervals are 15,000kms or 12 months, whichever comes first. Prices break down as follows:
It doesn't sell as much as the LandCruiser Prado, and while it is the second highest-selling vehicle in the segment, for the price, I think it deserves to find more homes.
For the same money as this LST MU-X, you’ll struggle to get anything above a middle-of-the-range Prado GXL. Admittedly, that’s a nice car, but it lacks features like heated and ventilated seats, which are a standard inclusion on the MU-X. Plus, over at Toyota dealers, you’ll pay a whopping $3,470 to have them fitted.
In summary, if you’re in the market for a 7-seat 4x4, the Isuzu MU-X should be near the top of your list.
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