Sprint Review: 2023 Isuzu mu-X 1.9TD LS

Not wanting to be left behind by the crowd of popular multi-row 4×2 SUV’s, Isuzu is championing this entry-level mu-X as their rival to Fortuner, Everest & Co.

You should know: Isuzu was rather late to the party of ladder-framed 4×2’s (and 4×4’s) as their primary focus was hardy pick-ups. Some say they also won every prize for the noisiest engine ever. Jokes aside, it was only with the partial collapse of General Motors – and its retreat from southern Africa – that Isuzu got serious about a big SUV.

More info: Not only did they take over the erstwhile GM factory, but also kept producing the (local-spec) Chevrolet Trailblazer with their own badges glued over strategic positions. It’s probably a bit more complicated than that, but it marked the start of local sales for the Isuzu mu-X. The car you’re looking at now is essentially the second generation.

What else? A fairly recent facelift has aimed to keep the “Mucks” relevant in its market segment, with decent safety and comfort features which also rolled across the D-Max pick-up range. Isuzu must be commended for offering well-defined trim levels ranging from affordable simplicity to dear and fancy models with active driver aids.

Why you shouldn’t: It’s those electronic nannies which can get irritating – or seem out of place – in the fancier Isuzus, although this 1.9L turbo-diesel model is only available with rear-wheel drive, an automatic gearbox, and the comparably basic “LS” trim. If that’s a good or a bad thing is up to your preference, I guess?

You still get loads of space and seats for your family, at just above 700,000 Rands.

Why you should: For the record, this 1.9L turbo-diesel is shared with Mazda, and replaced the sluggish but dependable “250” engine in all Isuzu products. It churns out a respectable 110kW or 350Nm, thereby eclipsing its predecessor and offering better efficiency with a claimed 7L/100km from this vehicle’s 80L tank.

Isuzu doesn’t publish performance figures so we repeatedly tested 0-100km/h and got a best time of 11.67 seconds. The ¼ mile was passed in 17.98 seconds at 76.78mph. Stopping this 1,900kg beast from 100km/h took just 2.88 seconds and 40.88m, no thanks to tarmac-biased Dunlop GrandTrek 265/60 tyres on stylish 18-inch alloys.

In summary: Although the “new” 1.9L power plant still has to prove itself in terms of reliability, you’d be foolish to ignore this affordable mu-X model when shopping for a large, high-riding 7-seater family hauler. Each new vehicle is sold with a 5-year/120,000km warranty and 5-year/90,000km service plan.


FULL SPEC LIST

Engine:1,899cc in-line 4-cylinder turbo-diesel  
Transmission:6-speed Auto, RWD
Max. Power:110kW @ 3,600rpm
Max. Torque:350Nm @ 1,800rpm
Avg. cons.:(claimed 7.0L/100km)
0-100km/h:11.67 seconds (no claim)
Top Speed:No claim
List Price:R708,000

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