Isuzu Motors South Africa forays into sport utility vehicle segment with seven- seater mu-X
Isuzu Motors South Africa (IMSA) is marking the brand’s return to the rapidly growing sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment with the highly anticipated debut of the seven-seater mu-X.
The mu-X is the first vehicle to be launched under the newly established Isuzu Motors South Africa, a wholly owned subsidiary of Isuzu Motors Limited of Japan.
The introduction of the mu-X builds on the legacy of Isuzu’s highly revered previous contenders in this category, comprising the Isuzu Trooper which was sold locally in 1992, followed by the much-loved Frontier that was launched in 1998.
This is backed up by Isuzu’s proud legacy in the light commercial sector with the KB range, which has been one of South Africa’s favourite pick-ups for over 40 years.
“The launch of the mu-X is an important milestone for Isuzu Motors South Africa, as it expands our current product portfolio into the sport utility vehicle category, which is one of the fastest growing sectors in the automotive industry, both globally and in the domestic market,” says Dominic Rimmer, Executive Technical Services.
“Building on Isuzu’s long-standing heritage, along with the proven reliability and trusted capabilities of the KB, the mu-X introduces an entirely new level of practicality, comfort and convenience that is ideally suited to the adventurous and lifestyle-oriented nature of South African customers,” Rimmer adds.
Although the trendy mu-X is new to South Africa, it is already a well-established contender in several international markets, having been launched in Thailand in 2013. It is also currently sold in Australia as well as the Philippines, where it is the market leader.
The mu-X is powered by Isuzu’s proven 3.0-litre four-cylinder intercooled turbodiesel diesel engine that produces 130 kW of power and 380 Nm of torque.
It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission which has a sequential sport mode. An impressive three-tonne towing capacity makes it a great choice for towing trailers or caravans.
Two models are available with the choice of 4x2 or 4x4 derivatives.
The four-wheel drive version relies on Isuzu’s easy to use Terrain Command 4x4 system with electronically selected two and four-wheel drive high-range modes, or 4x4 low-range for more challenging off-road driving.
The mu-X is equipped with a fully independent suspension all round, encompassing a five-link set-up at the rear, that delivers the best balance of ride comfort, handling and off-road capability.
A refined yet robust character defines the styling of the mu-X, which embodies the familiar DNA of the Isuzu brand. LED daytime running lights and Bi-LED projector headlamps with auto-levelling functionality is standard on both models.
Aluminium side-steps, 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass and LED rear combination lamps further enhance the mu-X’s dynamic appeal.
The interior of Isuzu’s new SUV offering matches practicality with comfort and luxury. The seven-seat configuration will appeal to both families and adventure-oriented buyers alike, thanks to the flexibility of the folding the centre and rear rows of seats.
The electronic climate control system caters for front and rear occupants – the latter having access to their own cooling vents for added comfort.
A multi-function infotainment unit is a stand-out feature of the mu-X, boasting a nine-inch colour touchscreen display that provides access to the imbedded satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.
Front and rear USB slots are provided, in conjunction with an auxiliary iPod input and HDMI port.
Leather trim is standard for the seats, with the driver’s seat offering six-way electric adjustment. The leather-trimmed steering wheel has convenient fingertip controls for the audio and phone functions, as well as the cruise control.
Everyday convenience is provided by the keyless entry and start system, along with touch sensor opening and push-button locking functions on the door handles. As expected of a leisure-oriented SUV, a multitude of storage compartments are located throughout the cabin.
The Isuzu mu-X is packed with an extensive range of active safety features, including ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA).
This is complemented by Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Hill Descent Control (HDC) which can be engaged in low-range 4x4 mode.
Passive safety equipment includes dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags, linked to front seat pre-tensioner seatbelts, plus a high-tensile steel passenger safety cell that offers outstanding strength and rigidity.
A rear-facing camera aids reversing and parking via the nine-inch full colour display, while a factory-fitted immobiliser and alarm system is standard fitment.
Customers have access to a wide range of accessories to personalise their mu-X. This includes functional items such as audible parking sensors, a storage box located beneath the luggage compartment, a tow bar, bonnet guard, weather guard kit for the windows, front spoiler set and rear bumper scuff plate as well as side steps.
Cosmetic enhancements are also available, comprising chrome trim adornments for the tailgate and front fog lamps.