Thursday, October 21, 2021
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2022 Isuzu MU-X LS-U (car review)

SAFETY-focused cutting-edge technology and an emphasis on it being a great towing vehicle might just make the 2022 Isuzu MU-X LS-U the ultimate touring vehicle for Australian families.

Ahead of its official launch, Exhaust Notes Australia got our hands on one to put through its paces, and we’ve got to say, we’re impressed. Isuzu really have delivered like never before, and not just on this variant, but across the whole range.

Immediately, the LS-U catches your eye with its muscular and modern styling, thanks to a chrome grille, side steps, roof rails, 18-inch alloy wheels and fog lights standard. It really looks the part.

It’s powered by the same engine that can be found in the new D-MAX, in the form of a 3.0-litre common-rail turbo diesel 4-cylinder engine. It gains in power and torque over its predecessor and now delivers a healthy 140kW of power 450Nm of torque.

We found the torque curve, which starts at 1000rpm, to be very linear and offer plenty of grunt down low to pull the heaviest of loads. Available in both 4×4 and 4×2, the engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Gear changes are smooth and it does a great job of managing descents, taking advantage of engine braking. There’s also an electronic park brake with auto hold, which comes in handy at traffic lights.

When you’re stuck in traffic, you can take your foot off the brake, without the vehicle moving. Press the accelerator, and your away as normal. That parking brake will apply automatically when you shift the gearbox to Park as well.

Braking capacity is excellent as well, with four-wheel disc brakes measuring 320mm on the front and 318mm on the rear. The new vented discs have a significantly larger surface area and improve stopping power and cooling efficiency, particularly when towing.

With the latter a near fundamental requirement in Australia, the suspension has been beefed up too. A new stronger body-on-frame chassis and coil-sprung five-link independent rear suspension has resulted in reduced pitch and squat.

It’s also allowed for more controlled body roll, delivering best in class towing along the way, with 3500kg braked capacity, and a total payload increase to 2800kg GVM and 5900kg GCM.

Functionality wise, Isuzu have made it easy for caravanners too, with a genuine tow bar kit and electric brake controls able to be fitted to your new MU-X. Our test vehicle came with these, and the brake controller is within easy reach and doesn’t look out of place.

Towing safety has been a big focus on the MU-X too, and in addition to the suspension upgrades, all models now come equipped with trailer sway control, which intervenes if trailer sway is detected bringing the vehicle and trailer back under control again.

Also available are extendable towing mirrors with integrated blind spot alert and LED indicators. The owners of big caravans can also option a weight distribution hitch for added stability and safety.

Serious off-roaders will be confident with the new Rough Terrain mode electronic driver aid that maximises drivability in technical, slippery and rough conditions. A rear diff lock is also included and with the push of a button can get you out of those sticky situations.

With steel underbody protection, 235mm ground clearance, thicker and stronger drive shafts and a wading depth of up to 800mm, the MU-X LS-U is a real contender in the off-road scene. It comes with 18-inch Tungsten Silver alloy wheels.

Those are shod with 265/60 R18 Highway-Terrain tyres that provide good grip in all conditions. The fuel tank capacity has been increased to 80-litres too. During our test we averaged 9.4-litres/100km in varied conditions in both city and freeway driving.

The 2022 Isuzu MU-X LS-U also puts your safety first with Isuzu’s Intelligent Driver Assistance System (IDAS) standard across the range.

IDAS constantly monitors your surrounding environment and will help defuse dangerous situations via alert systems and automated functions. It includes such things as autonomous emergency braking, electronic stability control and lane keep assist.

Some eight airbags and traffic sign recognition are also included in a very long list of active and passive safety systems. The latter of the ones listed here is a little annoying, and doesn’t have an option to disable it, which is painful too.

All this safety, and hauling capability, hasn’t come at the cost of comfort though; in fact, we were impressed with its car-like handling. The ride is quite good too and not harsh at all, with no noticeable body roll.

The new Bi-LED headlights do an excellent job at lighting up the darkest of roads at night and look great. These are paired with LED daytime running lights and LED fog lights. The rear taillights are also LED and fit the overall look.

A modern design features inside, with a premium feel and stitched accents. Nothing feels cheap, and all the switches and controls are well placed, and easy to use. The seats are high grade cloth and all seven seats are adjustable.

The front seats in particular are very comfortable and hold you in place well, which will be good on those off-road adventures. The driver’s seat adjustment is manual in the LS-U though, with electronic lumber support only.

The Isuzu MU-X is a genuine 7-seater and adults will fit in all the seats. Yes, you did read that correctly. The third row is not kiddy only. To our surprise, the second and third row also get their own roof mounted A/C vents (dual zone air con) and cup holders.

The kids will love the dual USB ports in the second row as well, which will keep their devices charged on those long road trips. Additionally, the boot space comes with an in-floor storage compartment, tie down anchors, light and a 12v outlet.

Laying the seats flat in both rows creates a big enough boot space that you could actually sleep in it. Our only complaint about the excellent interior in the MU-X would be would be the placement of the ugly hazard lights switch on top of the beautiful dashboard.

That and the fact the foot rest for the driver’s left foot is covered in carpet and will most certainly wear very quickly. Those aside, the 9.0-inch infotainment system delivers the goods when it comes to technology.

It features satellite navigation, and support for Android Auto, and even has wireless Apple CarPlay. Sound is pumped out through an 8-speaker surround sound system that delivers a great audio experience.

As mentioned already, our test vehicle came fitted with the optional genuine tow bar kit with electronic brake controller, and rubber floor mats. It hits showrooms this weekend and comes with the company’s 6-7-7 plan.

This includes a 6-year 150,000km warranty, up to 7-years roadside assistance (if you service at a dealership) and 7-years capped price servicing. The 2022 Isuzu MU-X LS-U 4×4 is priced from $59,900 plus on-roads.

It can be had in Basalt Black (as tested), Cobalt Blue, Jasper Brown, Magnetic Red, Mercury Silver, Mineral White, Moonstone White Pearl and Obsidian Grey

Our 2021 Isuzu MU-X LS-U was provided by Isuzu Australia. To find out more, contact your local Isuzu dealer

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
7.5
Exterior styling
7.5
Interior look and feel
8.5
Technology and connectivity
9.5
Family friendliness
9.5
Value for money
8

SUMMARY

Pros - exceptional safety features; excellent turning circle; great suspension and handling; keyless entry and push button start.
Cons - ugly hazard light switch in centre of dash; intrusive traffic sign recognition.
Mathew Probert
Motorcycling has been in Mathew Probert's blood for more than 30 years, which explains why there are three bikes in his garage. He says there's one for every occasion, but it's dirt bikes that are his passion. He also enjoys the adrenaline rush of taking on some of the best roads in Australia aboard anything with two wheels.

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