Isuzu becomes only manufacturer in the country to offer premium lifestyle pick-up and SUV based on the same platform.
With the launch of the MU-X, Isuzu finally has a competitive offering in the premium SUV segment. The MU-X, based on a body-on-frame chassis, is a derivate of the of the popular D-Max V-Cross lifestyle pick-up which was launched last year. Replacing the discontinued MU-7, the MUX is now the flagship product from the Japanese manufacturer renowned for making reliable and frugal diesel engines. Here are the five highlights that you should know about this Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour rival.
The Isuzu mu-X shares its platform with the D-Max V-Cross, making them India’s only premium lifestyle pick-up and SUV duo. You’ll be surprised to know that the Chevrolet Trailblazer is also based on the same platform as the Isuzu MU-X. The two SUVs were the product of a fruitful partnership between GM and Isuzu.
If you notice carefully, the Trailblazer and the MUX share a lot of body panels as well. In fact, the interiors of both the SUVs are exactly the same. However, the GM-Isuzu partnership to build pick-up trucks and SUVs was scrapped last year. Hence, the upcoming Trailblazer facelift features an entirely new, relatively premium dashboard compared to the MUX.
The Trailblzer’s new dashboard will certainly be on par with the ones found in the other two expensive offerings in this segment: the Ford Endeavour and the Toyota Fortuner.
The MU-X is powered by Isuzu’s 3.0-litre VGS diesel engine, while the V-Cross comes with a 2.5-litre VGS turbo-diesel motor. The MU-X puts out 177PS of max power (roughly 42PS more than the V-Cross) and 380Nm of peak torque (60Nm more).
Unlike the D-Max V-Cross, the MU-X offers an option of a 2WD or a 4WD drivetrain. The V-Cross, on the other hand, is only available with a four-wheel drive option. Both the MU-X 4x4 and the D-Max V-Cross feature shift-on-fly four-wheel-drive system. Further, the MUX, being a relatively more premium product, comes with a five-point multi-link rear suspension, while the V-Cross makes do with leaf spring setup at the rear (largely because of its loading capabilities).
The MU-X doesn’t offer a manual transmission option at least as of now. It is available in two variants: 4x2 (priced at Rs 23.99 lakh) and 4x4 (priced at Rs 25.99 lakh) (all prices, ex-showroom New Delhi), both of which can only be had with a 5-speed automatic transmission (the current Thai version offers a six-speed automatic). Looking at its rivals, which are also offered with manual transmission, we expect Isuzu to add a manual variant at a lower price tag later.
Isuzu entered the Indian premium body-on-frame SUV segment with the MU-7 a few years ago. What many prospective buyers and customers didn’t know at the time of launch was that this SUV was already discontinued in other markets. Thanks to its dated styling, the MU-7 was dead on arrival and there were hardly any takers for it.
It seems to be the same case with the mu-X as well. For India, Isuzu has decided to launch the pre-facelift version that was first introduced in other markets in 2013. Meanwhile, the updated version has already gone on sale in neighbouring markets like Thailand. Having said this, the MU-X is in a different league altogether when compared to the MU-7 and has a much better chance to fight against the established rivals.