By Amanda Mfuphi
When Isuzu gave our team the refreshed mu-X for an extended stay, there was no doubt that each one of us thought up their own adventures involving the outgoing mu-X. Affectionately known as Ruby, our mu-X has taken us on road trips to the Western Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal, and I was fortunate to spend time with Ruby during the December break. Having had embarked on exciting adventure’s already, I thought I would add to Ruby’s already impressive CV with a jaunt to Hluhluwe in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, and true to form, she proved to be a reliable travel companion with ample space and comfort.
In terms of looks, Ruby has a striking maroon colour which accentuates her design features as part of the updates to the mu-X range. The updates include a new radiator grille design, new front and rear bumpers with colour coding for the upper section of the bumpers and a contrasting gloss black finish for the lower portion of the bumpers. The refreshed mu-X also features new taillight clusters with a combination of chrome and gloss black finishes and daytime running LED headlights. The refreshed exterior looks are completed by the introduction of new 18-inch gloss black diamond-cut alloy wheels and a gloss black finish for the side steps.
Inside, as part of the updates, Ruby gets ambient lighting on the door side panels which give her more character. That is not all, the door switch bezels and trim panels, gear shift surround as well as the centre stack get a piano black finish.
Other key features include a touchscreen infotainment screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as a navigation system. The latter came in handy in our road trips during our stay with Ruby. Additionally, there are two USB ports upfront and one at the rear for the rear passengers.
In terms of practicality, passengers do not suffer any space issues as the cabin is generously spacious. Buyers also benefit from the 7-seater configuration but we largely spent our time with Ruby just the 5-seats up. This meant that we had ample space for our luggage during December travels.
On the safety front, the mu-X is equipped with park assistant systems which feature park sensors and a rear-view camera to help navigate the otherwise large mu-X.
Power and drive
The mu-X is powered by Isuzu’s tried and tested 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine which pushes out 130kW of power and 380Nm of torque and is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. We enjoyed Ruby over 2,000kms in December through our journey from Johannesburg to Durban and from Durban all the way to Hluhluwe and back to Johannesburg. The engine is decently powered but the car can feel a bit delayed at take-off. Having experienced the mu-X on tarred and gravel roads and in the bush, we found the ride quality to be comfortable with the mu-X offering a stable ride on all terrain. The cabin is also well-appointed and well insulated which makes it a relaxing space to be in. Interestingly, on our drive back to Johannesburg we encountered heavy hail and the car remained firmly planted on the road. We also enjoyed the ride height as we were able to easily pick-up potential obstructions on the busy holiday roads well in advance.
We managed an average fuel consumption of 9L/100km on our long trips to and from Johannesburg to Durban.
The Isuzu mu-X 4X2 is priced from R675,300. The Isuzu mu-X comes with the Isuzu Complete Care Package that provides you with a 5 years / 120,000 km Warranty and Roadside Assistance. A 5 years / 90,000 km Service Plan is standard.
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