MANILA: Isuzu, the Japanese auto brand, doesn't need any introduction in the automotive market. The brand is now counted among the top 5 automotive companies in the Philippines in regards to sales as per CAMPI report. For Filipinos, Isuzu has a very compact fleet comprising an MPV (Crosswind), an SUV (mu-X) and a pickup (D-Max). Apart from being a leader in sales, Isuzu was recently in news on winning the title of most fuel efficient diesel drive in Euro 4 Fuel Efficient Run for its D-Max. The SUV sibling of this pickup is also a popular name in its segment and has an appreciative contribution in the elevating sales number of the company. Launched just a couple of years ago in September 2013, mu-X is manufactured in the neighboring country Thailand. The mu-X label has been abbreviated from 'Makes U eXciting' philosophy which itself depicts the motive of the manufacturer that the robust drive has been designed to deliver thrilling off-roading drives.
Though this SUV has always tried its best to be on the expectations of its occupants, but then there are some factors where it fails. Let's have a quick look at the factors where it impresses its occupants and the others where it misses out -
Features Which Impress
Undoubtedly, Isuzu mu-X has been given an appealing styling which never fails in impressing its onlookers. The robust hood with loads of chrome and sharp angular projector with multi-reflector headlamps create a good front fascia. The pronounced fenders allow it to do off-roading with ease while the side steps make it convenient for the occupants, especially children, to enter and step out from the drive. Coming to the measurements, this Isuzu drive counts to 4825 mm x 1860 mm x 1825 – 1840 mm (L X W X H). The minimum ground clearance offered in mu-X is 220 – 230 mm, depending on the trim, which is good enough to be taken on rough terrains. Well, 230 mm of ground clearance is something you won't find in every mass-market SUV.
Isuzu mu-X, across its variants, is packed with a powerful turbocharged engine which is capable of giving you goosebumps during your off-roading trips or while accelerating. This engine delivers 163 PS of max power at 3200 rpm along with 380 Nm of impressive torque between 1800 and 2200 rpm in the 4x4 layout trim with automatic transmission. In the 4x2 with manual gearshift variant, this engine knocks out lesser power output measuring to 136 PS at 3400 rpm and high torque counting to 320 Nm between 1800 and 2800 rpm. With this much of power, the manufacturer has maintained the fuel efficiency counting to 24.69 kmpl in the 4WD trim, which is indeed impressive in its segment.
Isuzu mu-X is designed to deliver 'power rides' but then it doesn't mean that the manufacturer is ready to compromise on the comfort and convenience of the occupants. The cabin has been well equipped with modern amenities to ensure that whether it's a city drive or a long adventure hangout, you feel comfortable and safe. The sporty cockpit of this drive has a simple yet fully packed dashboard which has all the gauges and gadgets plotted intelligently to track the driving-related information easily. Along with this is an advanced infotainment facility comprising a 7/8-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, MP3, USB, AUX, iPod compatibility and Wi-Fi display. A 10-inch roof mounted monitor with remote control is also given in the upper trim of this SUV. Coming to the safety part, the Japanese manufacturer has ensured complete safety through the dual SRS airbags. For stability and complete control, while driving on slippery terrains, there are Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control, Hill Start Assist and Brake Assist. Reverse sensing system and reverse camera add more safety and convenience while parking in cramped space.
Features Where It Fails
Though we completely love the interior layout and sporty styling of the mu-X but the plastic used at the interior look sub-standard and a complete turn down for this swanky drive. While touching this plastic, you might get a feel of an entry-level commercial drive and not an SUV of this segment. The material is rough enough to release toxic smell during summers when you park this drive under the sun.
Isuzu mu-X has a wheelbase measuring to 2845 mm which initially sound decent for a 7-seater but once you enter in this drive, you will yourself realize why we mentioned this reason. The drive can definitely accommodate 7 passengers in total but sorry to say that all those 7 occupants can't be adults. The headroom given in this drive is pretty decent even if you are 6 feet but then this can't be said for the legroom and shoulder room also. The first and second rows can be used by the adults but the last row of 2 seats can be either used to accommodate 2 children at the most or folded to flat to create more luggage.
Well, we have already mentioned that this drive is meant for thrilling and exciting drives on off-road terrains but the manufacturer might have missed out on some essentials to make it a smooth one for these specific terrains. The 4x4 layout trim is quite smooth on rough roads but if you take the 4x2 model for these adventure drivings, you might experience some jerks on high speeds. Though this variant is absolutely suitable for city drives and mild off-roading but not fails to deliver the same experience on hilly terrains.
Isuzu mu-X is undoubtedly counted among the best SUVs in the Philippines with its advanced aspects. One factor which makes this stand among the most sold out SUVs in the Philippines automotive market is its price which shows to PhP 1,198,000 for the base model and is highly competitive in its segment. Probably this is the reason for the appreciative sales numbers this drive is adding to the Isuzu's account. There are some flaws and then there are some factors which are best in class and impressive enough for any prospective buyer. With a perfect blend of these features and failures, mu-X has made its parent stand among the top 5 automakers in the Philippines. If you can ignore these flaws, this is one of the best SUVs you can own in its segment!