Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

Isuzu’s Gen-2 m-uX to hit local showrooms

There is a lot riding on second-generation vehicles, which have to be bolder and better to get their fair share of attention. In this regard, it appears Isuzu has nailed the looks department of the newest m-uX, which hits local showroom floors in the first week of December.

It’s based on the upcoming D-Max bakkie, and features a sharper shoulder line, a more prominent grille, and cleverly rearranged Bi-LED headlamps and LED tail-lights. The top Onyx model has foolish but fashionable 20-inch wheels on jazzy diamond-shaped alloys, with the lower LSE on 18s and the two baseline LS derivatives on sensible 17s.

Isuzu says the interior of their seven-seater SUV is larger (with the largest-in-class space for second-row rear occupants). Interior materials have been improved, particularly in the top models, and it is quieter, after paying attention to sound-deadening and uprating the chassis with high-tensile steel to dial in more stiffness and less weight.

If you were expecting a massive drivetrain technology leap then you will be disappointed. All four models in the new range make do with a fettled version of Isuzu’s venerable (and solidly engineered) 3.0-litre diesel four-pot, coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. The engineers have apparently focused on engine noise, fuel economy (now 7.6 litres/100km), and power, ramping the output up to 140kW, with a torque figure of 450Nm. None of the figures are class-leading by any stretch, but it should score on the reliability front – where it really counts in Africa.

What is new is a driver’s multi-information display nestled in a redesigned binnacle, and a 7-inch or 9-inch touchscreen infotainment display with wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto functionality, audio streaming, Wi-Fi connectivity, and hands-free mobile connectivity. It is also the display for the standard rear-view camera. The sound system offers six or eight speakers, depending on the derivative, and the top Onyx model has eight-way powered driver’s seat adjustment. The rear seats are now 30mm wider, while the front seats have deeper side bolsters. All models have an aircon duct extending to the rear seats, with a dual-zone system for front occupants on the top models.

Safety has been given a boost, and the five-star ANCAP rating is not to be sneezed at. In addition to the usual cruise control and lane-keeping assistants, the Onyx model debuts Isuzu’s Intelligent Driver Assistant System (IDAS), which is a suite of active and passive technologies using inputs from a front-mounted dual camera to respond to road conditions and prevent collisions.

The pricing is a little confusing, with the lower LS models (in rear-drive and 4×4), a little short on comfort and convenience features, and the top-spec Onyx 4×4 positioned some R25 000 above segment-leading rivals such as the Toyota Fortuner VX and Ford Everest LTD, both of which have more sophisticated drivetrains. That said, we have not yet driven the mu-X, and hold high hopes for it to be a solid purchase, in for the long-haul when it comes to ownership.

Pricing and model line-up

3.0 Ddi mu-X 4×2 LS A/T R693 800

3.0 Ddi mu-X 4×4 LS A/T R771 600

3.0 Ddi mu-X 4×2 LSE A/T R763 300

3.0 Ddi mu-X 4×4 ONYX A/T R860 500

All models are covered by a 5 years or 120 000 km warranty.

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