By Khulekani Dumisa
The mu-X has been around in South Africa for a while now. It has not had a marathon of a start but sales have been steady. This was to be expected as the segment it plays in is dominated by two large players. Needless to say, the mu-X has its work cut out but that shouldn’t be too hard as it has all the ingredients to make it competitive in the space it plays in.
On test I had the mu-X 3.0 4×4 Auto. This is the top spec. Although, sitting at the top, those investing in the 4×2 won’t feel hard done by as most of the specifications in the range are standard on both models. Outside, the bakkie based mu-X spots a familiar face that is similar to that of the D-Max bakkie that it is based on. There’s a bit more chrome to set it apart though. The bumper design is also uniquely mu-X but it is the mu-X’s standard daytime running lights that will help you spot it from afar. On the side profile, the mu-X is not dramatic and has clean lines that flow to the back, thanks to the deletion of the D-pillar frame. The back lights also enjoy some LED treatment with a boomerang design. Buyers looking to stand out even more have a litany of extras to choose from which are offered by Isuzu dealerships.
Inside is where I feel most of the mu-X magic happens but such is the paradox of car sales. Interiors don’t quite sell cars but exterior looks and reputation do. Step inside and you are greeted by a generously large interior. There’s tons of legroom upfront and in the middle row. The last row is suited for children but adults will more than manage on short drives. There are a number of USB points to ensure connectivity for all. The dash is of a quality grade and also houses a 9 inch infotainment screen that is AppleCar Play ready.
The sound system is also good and there are plenty of storage spaces. The two glove boxes stand out. The mu-X may not have a fridge but the pull out cup holders on the dash that are strategically positioned in front of the air vents will allow for any drink to be chilled if placed there long enough. The leather seats provide good support, especially over long distances with the driver’s seat being electronically adjusted. The mu-X also offers automatic dual air conditioning upfront and air conditioning for the back. This makes for a premium, large and comfortable interior.
The mu-X being cut off the D-max cloth is extremely capable off-road but that wasn’t put much to the test during this review. We did take the mu-X on a long drive which included driving on national and provincial, and gravel roads. The mu-X is comfortable in all terrains and doesn’t get shaken easily whether it is on a gravel or tarred road. The noise insulation is also good and for most parts you won’t hear the diesel 3.0 130kW/320Nm engine labouring away. It’s just how the power is delivered that might bother a would be suitor. It’s not immediate and too gradual. This proves a bit problematic when you want to perform a quick overtaking manoeuvre. You have to time these perfectly. This won’t bother you for long as the lasting impression will be made by the decent fuel economy. In our over 800km drive, we saw figures as low as 8.8l/km being returned by the mu-X. This is decent for a vehicle this large and powerful.
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