2023 Isuzu MU-X LS-M 4×4 (car review)

It feels like 7-seat SUVs are a dime a dozen these days. They’re everywhere, with the 2023 Isuzu MU-X LS-M 4×4 among them. It’s a decent bit of kit for sure, but the abundance of family space vehicles wasn’t always a thing.

Back when this writer was a kid, there was only a long-wheelbase LandCruiser or a Troopy to choose from. Then came the Patrol, Prado and Discovery – all vehicles with a token two extra seats down the back to cram in one or two of your kid’s friends.

But as much as we Aussies think we are up for the great off road adventure at the end of every work week, what we really need is a gentrified four-wheel drive for the Monday to Friday monotony, that can give us a taste of adventure when we so desire, or find the time.

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In the early 2000s this machine came in the form of the Kluger and Territory. Fast forward to today, and Isuzu’s MU-X range, including the entry level LS-M we’re testing here, fulfils the needs and wants of a huge range of urban explorers.

It’s hard to call it a bare bones model though, as it still has a lot of standard features that make it exceptional value at around $55K plus on-roads. It might miss out on front parking sensors, but all the safety and security you would ever want in a modern car are there.

dash
Inside the 2023 Isuzu MU-X LS-M 4×4

Actually, the LS-M gets everything the higher-spec models do in this regard. Sure, when it comes to opulence there are cloth seats instead of leather, and you need to use those forearm and core muscles to move a seat back and forth, but the package is still solid.

Climate control, a keyless start button, integrated phone stuff, parking sensors, AEB, adaptive cruise control, blind sport warning and lane assist are all there. That alone sets the MU-X LS-M apart from some of its base model rivals.

But in a Demtel (remember them) kind of scenario, you also get 4×4 Terrain Command and a rear diff-lock, a 7.0-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity, wired Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay.

The heart of this family-sized SUV is a great 4-cylinder 3.0-litre turbo diesel offering 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, complete with a flick-and-tap sports shift mode.

It’s a handy feature when using the 3,500kg braked towing capacity, but not really needed to improve the performance of the already good gearbox. Impressively, it’s the same powertrain across the range, which can also be found in Isuzu’s ute sibling, the D-MAX.

rear seats
Inside the 2023 Isuzu MU-X LS-M 4×4

With a cabin full of passengers, it delivers more than enough torque, with or without a trailer on the back. There’s plenty of strong pull off the line around town, a sharp engine response at low and high-speed, and it won’t chew its way through your wallet either.

Despite our heavy-footed testing, we still managed 9.9-litres/100km, which is pretty impressive. The 17-inch wheels on the LS-M (the LS-U gets 18’s and the LS-T 20’s), do reduce the approach and departure angles, but it’s not ugly.

On fast dirt roads, where you’d expect this car to spend the most of its off-road time, the ride is compliant, yet not too harsh, especially at high-speed. In the slower, more gnarly-stuff, there is a lot more chassis performance on offer than most will ever throw at it.

The boot is cavernous, with more than enough room for plenty of gear. With the middle and rear rows folded, we reckon you could even accommodate two people for the night, if you so choose.

As for legroom, the second row is good for adults while the back row is a little tight, and is probably best for younger kids or those under say 5-foot tall. Where the MU-X LS-M is in its element though is as a Monday to Friday school runner and commuter, with options.

boot
Inside the 2023 Isuzu MU-X LS-M 4×4

What it gives you is the ability to do all that, and then jump in it on a Saturday morning, load up with camping gear, and escape for the night, before you’re back on for the next week to do it all again. It’s the versatility that makes it stand out.

With a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, the 7-seat 2023 Isuzu MU-X LS-M is available in Cobalt Blue Mica, Magnetic Red Mica, Basalt Black Mica, Obsidian Grey Mica, Mercury Silver Metallic (as tested) and Mineral White.

It comes with a 6-year/150,000km warranty, 7-years roadside assist and 7-years capped price servicing. You can build your own on the Isuzu Ute Australia website. If you’re keen on one, and need finance, talk to CreditOne.

Our test vehicle was supplied by Isuzu Ute Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Isuzu MU-X LS-M 4×4, contact your local Isuzu Ute dealer.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
9
Exterior styling
8
Interior look and feel
8
Technology and connectivity
8
Family friendliness
8
Value for money
9

SUMMARY

Pros - quality finish; price; 3.0-litre diesel engine is a solid performer.
Cons - cloth interior; lack of dual-zone climate control; needs a better sound system.
Matt Shields
Matt Shields
Matthew Shields is a veteran motorcycle journalist and ex racer. He started at Two Wheels, Streetbike and Live to Ride in 2001 and is the former editor of Australian Motorcycle News, and Deputy Editor of Two Wheels and Performance Streetbike.

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<strong>Pros -</strong> quality finish; price; 3.0-litre diesel engine is a solid performer.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> cloth interior; lack of dual-zone climate control; needs a better sound system.2023 Isuzu MU-X LS-M 4x4 (car review)