Most Improved; Isuzu MU-X 4×2 LS-E AT – Review

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When you think about Isuzu, you immediately think of words such as “reliable”, “dependable”, and “robust”. These are very good words to be associated with, and Isuzu has lived up to them ever since. Perfectly embodied by their many commercial vehicle offerings and passenger cars such as the Isuzu MU-X

In recent years though the market has changed behavior, those who would buy SUVs and PPVs started wanting more for their money. They wanted refinement, performance, and safety added on top of reliability and dependability. Isuzu’s previous MU-X was decent but lagged behind its competitors in terms of refinement, comfort, and performance.

The new one though, promises to be an upgrade in all aspects.

Isuzu MU-X rear quarter

Isuzu MU-X LS-E 4×2 Exterior

Isuzu lent me the top-of-the-line 4×2 variant, and from the outside, you can’t really differentiate it from the 4×4 version. It has the same (huge) 20-inch rims, LED headlights, DRLs, and fog lamps. I swear if you put this LS-E 4×2 next to the LS-E 4×4 you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference at all.

Overall though I really like the way the new Isuzu MU-X looks, it manages to be modern and sleek, while also exuding a macho appeal. This new look should probably stand the test of time.

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Isuzu MU-X full dash

Interior

The Interior of the previous generation MU-X was a hodgepodge of materials and ergonomics, while I won’t say it was bad, it wasn’t great either.

So imagine my surprise (and delight) upon seeing and sitting in the all-new Isuzu MU-X’s interior. Since this is the LS-E variant, the seats were wrapped in nice dark leather, and other interior panels were given soft-touch materials as well.

Isuzu MU-X inline

It also has a lot of creature comforts, the driver’s seat is an 8-way power adjustable unit, and the infotainment screen is a 10.1-inch screen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Second-row occupants also have a helping of charging ports, and even a real 150W power outlet for laptop chargers.

Isuzu MU-X

The interior upgrade completes the aesthetic level-up Isuzu was aiming for, the fact that I can say premium and Isuzu to describe the interior is a feat in itself.

Isuzu MU-X engine

Engine and Safety

The Isuzu MU-X LS-E is powered by a 3.0 Liter turbocharged diesel engine that puts out 190 PS and 450 Nm of torque. It is then paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Safety is where Isuzu has stepped up the most, the MU-X LS-E has the complete suite of the Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS). ADAS includes features like forward collision warning, autonomous braking, turn braking assist, pedal misapplication mitigation, adaptive cruise with stop and go, multi-collision brake, automatic high beam, lane departure alert, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

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Yes, all of those safety features are standard on the MU-X LS-E 4×2.

Isuzu MU-X MID

Driving impressions

Driving the previous generation MU-X was a truly utilitarian experience, it was heavy, quite loud and the ride was “agricultural” in feel. It wasn’t bad, but it was a few levels short of true refinement.

This new one though is not just an upgrade, it’s in a different league.

I first have to commend the engine, it is smooth and quiet even for a big hulking diesel unit. As for performance, I have to say that it’s more than decent. Despite coming up short compared to some of its chief rivals in terms of power, 190 PS is more than enough to briskly get you going. The Isuzu MU-X is no slouch, and despite its bulk, it feels light and not like a cement mixer.

Isuzu MU-X 3rd row

Next up is the maneuverability, for a big, long, and wide 7-seater the MU-X was surprisingly easy to operate in the city. I didn’t find myself looking over the dashboard to see if I was about to hit any low curbs, and I wasn’t perspiring while traversing tight city streets. It honestly felt like I was driving a car one class smaller.

Comfort and refinement though are where the Isuzu MU-X shines. I kid you not, the MU-X is much more comfortable than the Fortuner. The ride isn’t luxury sedan-like, but in its class, the MU-X is probably high up there in terms of ride comfort. Not to mention the ADAS safety suite helps out a lot to make driving even more relaxing and comfortable.

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Lastly, fuel economy. The MU-X has an 80-liter fuel tank, in the city, it got around 12.5 km/l, while on the highway it reached an astonishing 16 km/l. At one point, the MU-X even said I had 1,250 Kilometers of fuel range. THAT’S NORMALLY WHAT A HYBRID WOULD DO.

Isuzu MU-X front

Points for improvement

I’m confused by the Isuzu MU-X’s remote start system. To activate it through the key fob, one must first lock the car, then press down on the remote start icon. It seems straightforward, however, the weird part is when you approach the car to go in, the moment you unlock it the engine shuts off. So upon entering you have to restart the car again.

I’m not sure why Isuzu chose to do it this way because other vehicles allow you to unlock and get in with the engine staying on after using the remote start feature.

Isuzu MU-X rear

Price and Verdict

The Isuzu MU-X 4×2 LS-E AT retails for PHP 2,210,000. It’s not too expensive, and it’s not questionably cheap either. What must be considered though is how much better this new Isuzu MU-X is not just compared to its older self, but compared to some of its rivals as well.

It’s now refined, comfortable, safe, dependable, and reliable, what more could you ask for?

Pablo Salapantan

Pablo Salapantan

Pablo's first word was probably "Car", and this has developed into a personal passion that has consumed his professional life as well.

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