As far as family vehicles go it’s really hard to go past the 2018 Isuzu MU-X for a number of reasons.
Mostly, that’s because the Isuzu is an option ahead of some of its competitors due to it being truly one of the most versatile vehicles on the market.
The sister of the big-selling Isuzu D-MAX, the MU-X also has terrific off-road ability (2WD and 4WD models available), generous towing capacity (3,000kg), and the same tough as teak engine and driveline as the ute.
Here though it’s all in a more family-friendly package.
It’s coming up to five years since the Isuzu MU-X was unveiled in Thailand, I was on the ground for that unveiling and I think today the seven-seat Isuzu is just as handsome.
The MU-X styling is non-offensive, not revolutionary, nor “pretty”, but it does work and is unlikely to be a turn-off for any potential buyers.
Aside from the looks, the important thing to note with this vehicle is the square shape of the roof and sides…this seems to maximize the all-important internal space.
You could also probably make the case for the MU-X being just the right size on the outside…it has some road presence, but isn’t intimidating to drive.
If you’re familiar with the D-MAX you’ll feel right at home in the MU-X, though Isuzu has done a really good job of softening up the key touch points - namely the steering wheel and arm rests, and this makes the MU-X a more comfy proposition.
Again, everything is really simple and basic and that’s just what busy families are looking for.
The big selling point in the Isuzu MU-X is the excellent access to the third-row seats.
The middle-row very easily folds and slides forward and that provides (what we think) is class-leading access to seats six and seven.
With the MU-X you could haul adults in the last row in somewhat comfort and that’s something that can’t be said for some of the competition.
Comfort back there is also boosted by roof-mounted air-con/heater vents.
The 2018 Isuzu MU-X is available in three specification levels - LS-M, LS-U, LS-T.
Standard features in the entry-level offering include:
- Eight-speaker stereo
- 16″ Alloy wheels
- Reverse camera
- Rear parking sensors
- Cruise control
- DVD player
- LED headlights
- Leather steering wheel
- Height-adjustable driver’s seat
The LS-U adds:
- 18″ alloy wheels
And the flagship model boasts:
- Leather seats
- Keyless entry
- Roof-mounted DVD player
- Electric driver’s seat
- Side steps
- Push-button ignition
As mentioned, Isuzu’s MU-X shares the same 3.0 litre turbo-diesel engine as found in the D-MAX, as well as some light-duty Isuzu trucks!
Like the D-MAX, in this application the engine provides really good torque for hauling around a full load of people.
The engine also gives enough go for city driving and isn’t a particularly noisy diesel unit - Isuzu has also soundproofed the cabin very well to ensure minimal noise intrusion.
Like the D-MAX I drove last week, the auto-transmission can be a little hesitant at times and feel a bit lost especially when more go is required when already up and running.
The fuel economy is very good - I average under 9.0L/100km in my week of city/suburban driving and you could certainly cover long highway distances with a full 65 litre tank.
Perhaps the only area that may really be a turn-off for some potential Isuzu MU-X buyers is the steering weight.
There’s a full five-star ANCAP safety rating across the whole 2018 Isuzu MU-X range.
Systems like Autonomous Emergency Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Adaptive Cruise Control are yet to make their way into the Isuzu offerings.
- Third-row access/space
- Generous warranty
- Fuss-free/family-friendly interior
- Availability of less expensive 4×2 versions
- Willing engine
- Five-star safety
Not So Good Bits
- Tilt-only steering adjustment
- No Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- No Digital Radio
- Dated infotainment system
- Steering weight could be an issue for some
The Isuzu MU-X is a great option for families that want a more rugged vehicle than those seven-seat SUVs that are proving increasingly popular.
Like the D-MAX, MU-X is a really likable vehicle as it’s honest and hardworking without pretending to be anything more than a capable seven-seater that is ready to head off the bitumen should you have the need (obviously, especially the 4×4 models).
The dynamics, i.e. feel and steering weight, might not be what some are looking for, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid taking one for a drive…you might get hooked on the no-nonsense charm of this vehicle.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Isuzu MU-X
- Engine: 3.0 litre turbo-diesel producing 130kW/430Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed manual (4×4 only) or six-speed automatic
- Safety: Five-stars
- Warranty: 5yrs/130,000km
- Origin: Thailand
- Price: from $42,800