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She says, he says: Isuzu MU-X LS-T

2017 Isuzu MU-X she says, he says video review
The Japanese brand’s big seven-seat off-road focused SUVs is a sneaky best seller, but is it any good?

He: Dani, the Isuzu MU-X probably isn’t the first name that springs to mind when it comes to best-selling SUVs is it? But the rugged Japanese seven-seat off-roader has attracted a strong and loyal following that has made it one of the most popular vehicles in its class. What are your first impressions?

She: Steve, it’s quite a beast but there’s something ruggedly handsome about what is essentially a glammed-up ute. The cabin presents well, as the top spec LS-T we’re testing gets leather seats and other modern touches such as stop-start engine, air vents for all three rows, roof racks and a new eight-inch infotainment screen with sat nav. However, there are still some cheap plastics and I’m not a fan of the oversized dials for the air-conditioning.

It detracts from the infotainment unit and is quite an eyesore. I really like the 10-inch roof-mounted DVD screen, which allows kids in the back to watch a movie together, though I worry the screen may slightly obstruct driver rear vision. Isuzu claims to have made some changes to the MU-X including noise reduction and more torque.

It’s still noisy to me.

2017 Isuzu MU-X. Photo: Supplied2017 Isuzu MU-X.

He: Yeah, it’s extremely loud in the cabin, Dani. And it’s not a nice noise either, as it clatters and chugs along like a small truck. But it does get the job done and that kind of sums up the MU-X to me – it’s a no-frills off-roader that gets the job done.

In recent years we’ve become more accustomed to these ute-turned-SUVs being better mannered, especially models like the Ford Everest and Holden Trailblazer. But the MU-X is a throwback to the hardcore, rugged machines of the past – the steering is heavy and slow, the suspension can get bouncy and the cabin is noisy. What did you think of the driving experience, Dani?

She: It’s not the smoothest ride and the diesel engine noise isn’t ideal but I had a lot of fun driving the MU-X. I like that rough ‘ute-like’ feeling about it and the elevated seating position. The new six-speed auto doesn’t set any benchmarks but, like you say, it does the job.

There is some turbo lag and the steering can feel heavy but it’s good over bumps and it thrives off-road. He: Yeah, the appeal of the MU-X is very much its ability to take you off the beaten track. It’s rugged manners on-road make it a serious off-road machine.

It can also tow 3000kg (braked) which makes it an appealing proposition for those who want to get away with a caravan or boat. The other selling point is the price. The MU-X is usually priced from £56,100 (plus on-road costs) for this top-spec LS-T, but at the moment Isuzu is offering the LS-T for £52,990 drive-away which is a sharp price.

2017 Isuzu MU-X.

She: It’s a lot of car for that amount of money and cheaper than some of its rivals such as the Ford Everest.

The five-year warranty and capped price servicing adds further appeal. You do miss driver-assist features such as cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and forward collision which are included in the Everest, Trailblazer and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport. He: I can see the appeal of the MU-X, Dani.

If you like to go on camping adventures with the family or need to tow something on a regular basis it does the job for a good price. But if you’re not planning on heading off-road then there are better seven-seat SUVs to handle the school run. The MU-X lacks refinement, even by ute-based SUV standards, so it hasn’t won me over.

How about you, Dani? She: Steve, there is one little person completely won over by the MU-X – my four-year-old. She had a mini tantrum when I picked her up from preschool in the regular family car because she wanted the Isuzu back.

Let’s just say it took some serious negotiating to get her home and more sugar than I’d hoped for. Personally, I still think the Everest is hard to top (though it’s much pricier) but if you’re on the look-out for a new seven-seater, the MU-X deserves to be on the radar. This is quickly becoming the dark horse in the large SUV race.

2017 Isuzu MU-X LS-T 4×4 price and specifications

Price: £56,100 plus on road costs or £52,900 drive away

Engine: 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel Power: 130kW at 3600rpm Torque: 430Nm at 2000-2200rpm

Transmission: Six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive

Fuel use: 7.9L/100km

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