Automotive

Published on October 29th, 2020 | by Joshua Chin

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Isuzu Launches All New MU-X Three Row SUV

First arriving in Thailand, this 7-seat Isuzu SUV will be coming to our shores soon enough. 

Following on from the launch of the revamped Isuzu D-Max pickup truck last year, Isuzu has recently lifted the covers off its all-new MU-X SUV, the three-row SUV variant of its popular pickup.

Still sitting on a ladder-frame chassis much like its Hilux-based Toyota Fortuner brethren, you may be forgiven to overlook this Isuzu supposedly in favour of more modern and sophisticated alternatives. That said, to those willing to give this three-row SUV a shot, they might be pleasantly surprised with what they find as the Japanese automaker has added quite a lot of cool features to make up for the MU-X’s agricultural and utilitarian origins. 

Starting under the skin. While the MU-X still retains D-Max underpinnings, much work has been done to reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), in addition to passenger ride comfort. These efforts include enhanced front and rear suspension, the use of high tensile steel on the body, foam insulation in the pillars and a plastic lift gate. 

Moving on to the exterior styling, the new MU-X gains a sharper new look all around. Its aggressive front end aesthetic featuring Bi-LED projector headlights and brash chrome front grille is complemented by the equally sharp-looking rear end. Down the side meanwhile, lashings of chrome on the window trim and side step are put into relief by the optional turbine-style 20 inch alloy wheels. 

The interior however is perhaps the new MU-X’s biggest surprise. What you’ll find in a typical SUV on the market is on offer here in this Isuzu offering, not to mention quite a lot more besides. 

Starting up front, there is a 9 inch central infotainment touchscreen with integrated Apple CarPlay, as well as a smaller 4.2 inch digital screen between twin analog dials in the instrument cluster. Dual-zone automatic climate control is also present within the MU-X, in addition to an 8-speaker sound system, ambient interior lighting, ceiling mounted rear air-vents and a plethora of charging ports littered around the interior. Furthermore, an electronic parking brake with auto-hold is available, as is electronically operated driver’s seat and tailgate. 

As for safety, six airbags and the usual passive safety acronyms are standard on all variants. Higher trim levels are also treated to a full suite of active driver aids such as adaptive cruise control with stop-go functionality, blind spot monitoring system, automatic high beam, autonomous emergency braking, pedal misapplication mitigation, rear cross traffic alert, multi-collision brake, parking assist and many more. 

In terms of powertrain options, being based on a D-Max, Isuzu’s 3.0 litre four-cylinder diesel unit that develops 190 PS and 450 Nm of torque and a smaller 1.9 litre turbodiesel four-pot which outputs 150 PS and 350 Nm of torque will find its way into the MU-X. Most variants will be offered with a six-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels, though a six-speed manual and all-wheel drive is standard on the lowest and highest trim levels respectively.

Launching first in Thailand from the 9th of November, this new MU-X will undoubtably make its way to Malaysia sometime within the next couple of months. So to those on the lookout for a new go-anywhere family hauler, maybe pop by the Isuzu dealership sometime in the near future. 

PRESS RELEASE: Isuzu Motors Limited (headquartered in Shinagawa, Tokyo; Masanori Katayama, President and Representative Director; hereinafter referred to as Isuzu) will start selling the full model-changed mu-X, a passenger pickup vehicle (PPV), on Nov. 9 in Thailand before expanding in other markets.

The mu-X is a variant of the Isuzu D-MAX (hereafter referred to as D-MAX), a pickup truck which was full model changed last year. Its body-on-frame construction, a unique PPV feature, is highly evaluated for its rough road running performance, durability and towing capability mainly in Thailand, the ASEAN region, and Australia, and enjoys high customer rating in more than 60 countries around the world. The high evaluation for the mu-X in Thailand includes the reception of the Car of the Year Best PPV Award two consecutive years since 2019, and also the PPV Product Innovation Award in 2020.

This full model change is based on the engineering concept of Robust and Exclusive, with the aim to deliver customers a pleasure of owing the new mu-X through enhancing the comfort and luxury feel at a level required for a PPV while maintaining Isuzu’s unique strengths: reliable durability; fuel economy; and safety performance.

Isuzu has been focusing on strengthening the LCV business, which was part of the Midterm Business Plan announced in May, 2018. With this full model change, Isuzu will launch a product with a wide range of variations that can satisfy the diversified customer needs, also boost the sales based upon the business foundation built on the previous Midterm Business Plan, and lead the market in the LCV business category.

Below are the main features of the new mu-X.

Engineering Policy:

Core structure

With a lean and rational package layout for the efficient usage of space to balance both inhabitability and styling, the cabin space, which has been highly evaluated, is even more spacious. By adopting a plastic liftgate, an extensive use of high-tensile steel plates and a streamlined assembly structure, the light and firm vehicle body is successfully made available.

Performance

In addition to the reliable durability, fuel economy performance, and towing capability,

inherited from D-MAX, in-cabin noise, driving stability, and riding comfort have improved.

Comfort and features

With the enhanced interior touch and feel, and riding comfort in the seats, the new mu-X

achieved a sufficient inhabitability and comfortable in-cabin space. New features such as

electric parking, brake and electric liftgate are equipped for improved operability. Additionally, a 20-inch tire is now available as an option.

Styling

The new mu-X is engineered with a unique PPV feature of body-on-frame construction, possessing both robustness and luxury feel, to convey the joy and pride of ownership to the customers and make them want to drive endlessly with a sense of exaltation.

Exterior

With the concept of Emotional and Solid, the new mu-X consists of a body focusing on its underbody strength and a relaxing and elegant cabin, and has a sporty and dignified style. The new mu-X projects a sophisticated premium image because of the Bi-LED projectors installed on the front face, combined with the sharp-looking headlamps and the front grill with detail-oriented formative design. The rear end is designed to give an innovative look by the tail lamps with a sharp formative design developed through detail-focused engineering.

Interior

With the concept of Solid and Elegant, the instrument panel stretches across the cabin with a large-size display located at the center, and consists of an accentuated formative design extending to right and left, and a seamless formative design from the center cluster to the floor console in order to project a powerful and premium image through its styling unique to PPV. In addition to the formative design focusing on details such as the gauges and switches, uncompromising efforts such as the combination of decorative materials were made for the touch and feel of the interior to create a high-quality interior space.

Summary of changes:

Powertrain

The 4X4 model is equipped with two types of control modes in the traction control (TCS) with the aim to gain optimal traction based on the road surface condition. In addition to the normal mode used on normal roads, the rough terrain mode is available for the driver to be able to run on various types of road surfaces, enhancing its run-through performance, especially on slippery roads.

Rear Suspension

The level of roll rigidity has significantly improved in the 5-link rear suspensions, thanks to the elevated roll center by relocating the lateral link, and the enhanced stabilizer by widening its effective width. On top of this, together with the front suspensions engineered in the D-MAX development, the driving stability and riding comfort have improved.

Brake

For the rear brake, a disc brake with a motor-on caliper type electric parking brake is standard on all models. It can maintain high braking stability while enhancing the usability by the electric parking brake’s automatic function.

Frame

By optimizing the locations of the cross-members, the torsional rigidity improved, and the weight became lighter. The repair cost reduction in the event of a light collision in vehicle’s rear side is made possible by using the rear-end cross-member as the bumper beam.

Fuel tank

The tank capacity has been increased from 65 to 80 litre, making the cruising distance longer.

Vehicle body

By making the pillars in the rear-half body closed-section circular structures and strengthening the joints between parts, the body’s bending rigidity and torsional rigidity improved. Furthermore, by controlling the load transfer in the event of a collision, the shock is dispersed and absorbed, securing the safety zones to protect passengers.

The use of 980 MPa high-tensile steel plates made it possible to bring the strength and body rigidity to high levels while keeping it lightweight at the same time. By increasing the dynamic rigidity of the cab-mount fixing portions, the muffled noise caused by solid propagation has been reduced. Moreover, foamed material is installed inside the pillars in order to enhance NV (Noise and Vibration) performance, mitigating noise entrance into the vehicle.

The adoption of a plastic lift-gate made the vehicle lighter and gives the rearview a sharp look. As an option feature, a power liftgate is available, enhancing the usability of the vehicle.

Interior finishing

For the instrument panel, the suitable method and material were selected in order to bring the styling concept into reality, which led to the premium look and feel appropriate for a PPV.

For the second-row seats, the optimization of the shape improved the riding comfort, and the adoption of slide-out cup holders and the operability improvement in the seat levers enhanced the usability.

For the third-row seats, the inhabitability, which had been highly evaluated, were further improved by adopting a reclining mechanism and creating more leg room.

For the center console, the usability was improved by introducing an electric parking brake and removing the hand brake lever.

The interior space became more luxurious because of the addition of an ambient light.

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About the Author

Automotive journalist. Professional work on dsf.my and automacha.com. Personal writing found at driveeveryday.me. Instagram: @driveeveryday



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