So, the end of 2018 finally arrived and as all Gauteng people are want to do, we were heading down to the Coast to kick back with a bit of R & R. And we couldn’t have been happier, as this year we were doing a road trip test of the Isuzu M-UX SUV, down to Cape Town and back. The M-UX was launched earlier in the year and I had been to the launch, and was pleasantly surprised with the car. Well, after doing over 4000 km in it, with my partner, we have a new appreciation for this tough brand, and very comfortable SUV-the Isuzu M-UX.
You probably couldn’t ask for a much better SUV for a fully laden( as we were) trip down the fairest Cape. It is a long way after all, and although we were only two people going down, we had a lot of luggage, all our kit for 2.5 weeks down there, as well as some precious cargo, namely our Jack Russel, named Dexter in the vehicle. On the way back we added a teenager as well, and all her luggage, and she was comfortable.
A good start was that the M-UX is a proper 7-seater, and whilst we had no need of that third row of seats then, we could fold down the seats to make more room for all our cargo. We would however, use the third row later on the journey whilst driving around Cape Town with family, and two young teenagers were seated quite comfortably in that row, at the back. This obviously limits the use of the boot space, and you would realistically need a trailer if you were in fact, using those seats.
Looks wise the M-UX is a sturdy good looking vehicle, with a high drive platform, so you can see well ahead and behind while driving. We did not do much night driving, and we also did not encounter any mist or rain, but if we had, the LED daytime-running lights, BI-LED projector headlamps with auto-levelling functionality, as well as the low lying fog lights would have made the going far easier.
The left & right running boards make entering & exiting the vehicle much easier, as well as the handle to pull yourself in, and this in particular came in handy for my partners father who had had hip surgery a few weeks prior to our visit. Darkened glass is used for the rear side, quarter and tailgate windows, adding comfort, privacy and security for passengers and items located at the rear. The 18 inch wheels give the drive a sturdy feel and we did not experience any top-heavy feeling even, when fully laden
Into the cabin.
So, into the cabin, and very comfortable and roomy it is indeed. The drivers seats are comfortable, with electric settings on the driver side. The storage areas are well spaced, with cup holders in front of the side vents, which work great for cooling water in the very hot Karoo region. We were fortunate to have the fridge accessory, from Isuzu, that plugs in to the 12 volt lighter, and cools four 350ml bottles quite nicely. There are a number of USB ports available in the front, which worked well with multiple phones and music. The back seat area is roomy and we fitted the canine, and lots of odds and ends in that area.
The boot area is massive and also has a 12 volt port for extra power. Handy was the extra storage space below the boot floor for all sorts of articles bought along the way. A cover for the luggage in hard plastic woks well to hide it all. The air /con was awesome, and worked well, even in the Karoo, and it has a rear function that goes to the middle and rear seats as well.
The media screen is 9- inch and is easy to use with multi-fuctions. We used Apple Carplay all the way to access whatsapp, waze maps, and music as well. As part of the “Sky Sound” system, a total of eight speakers are mounted in the dashboard, front and rear doors and the roof, thus providing an engaging sound experience for all occupants. The leather-trimmed steering wheel includes easily accessed remote fingertip controls for the audio and phone functions, as well as the cruise control. We used cruise control all they way, and had good fuel economy, with around 9.4L/100km driving at 130km/hour
Isuzu Motors is a global leader in the production of commercial diesel engines for the light, medium and heavy commercial vehicle markets, and has produced over 25-million engines to date.
The M-UX has the 3.0-litre engine under the bonnet, which delivers 130kw of power, and 350 NM torque@200r/min I found this adequate most times, but overtaking could get dodgy sometimes, and you always felt you needed just a tad more power, maybe 10kw more.
It has a six-speed auto gearbox that is smooth changing, and it has a manual mode as well, which I used for overtaking, to get maximum output.
The Isuzu mu-X is available in a choice of rear-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive models – the latter featuring Isuzu’s easy to use Terrain Command 4×4 system with electronically selected 2-High, 4-High and 4-Low modes, the latter designed for off-road adventure.
Off-road capability is enhanced with a ground clearance of 230 mm, a 24-degree approach angle and departure angle of 25.1-degrees. The extensive underbody protection includes a sturdy steel guard for the sump and transfer case for added peace of mind. The driving down at sea level was great, and the vehicle did not use excessive fuel town driving either.
Safety and security
The Isuzu mu-X is packed with an extensive range of active and passive safety features. To assist the driver in avoiding a collision, it is equipped with an all-disc ABS braking system with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA).
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) helps the driver maintain control of the vehicle, while the Traction Control System (TCS) prevents wheel spin and slippage. Hill Start Assist (HSA) provides an electronic brake control that automatically engages to prevent vehicle roll-back when pulling off on steep gradients of more than 5.7 degrees.
Six airbags are included in the list of standard passive safety features for impact protection in the event of a collision, comprising dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags, linked to front seat pre-tensioner seatbelts.
Isuzu is committed to giving its customers exceptional ownership peace of mind. Accordingly, the Isuzu mu-X comes standard with Isuzu Complete Care, comprising a five-year/120 000km bumper-to-bumper warranty and Isuzu Roadside Assistance, a five-year/unlimited km anti-corrosion warranty and a five-year/90 000km Service Plan. Service intervals are every 15 000km/12 months.
Extended cover can also be purchased for Roadside Assistance, Service Plans and Maintenance Plans
Model range and Pricing
|Isuzu mu-X 3.0 4X2 AT6||R 568 000,00|
|Isuzu mu-X 3.0 4×4 AT6||R 629 100,00|
Summing up our experience, the M-UX was the ideal holiday vehicle, and I certainly would look at this car very closely if I was purchasing a 7-seater SUV as a family car. It stands up very well to either the Fortuner or the Everest & Pajero models.