TOUGH, rugged, value for money, go anywhere family motoring. The 2019 Isuzu MU-X offers versatility, with great towing capacity, 4-wheel drive capability and the added benefit of seven seats, packaged up with an affordable price tag.
We should tell you there are also 4×2 variants, but the MU-X range kicks off with the LS-M, ahead of the LS-U and LS-T. In its 4×4 form the popular SUV is priced from $49,990 drive away for the LS-U and $53,990 drive away for the LS-T.
We’re testing the top two variants, and essentially both models are the same base vehicle, with the LS-T benefiting from extra spec. They feature Isuzu’s 3.0-litre turbo diesel motor, producing 130kW of power and 430Nm of torque.
It’s great for pulling big loads or giving you that little bit of extra oomph off road. Power from the fairly agricultural sounding engine is delivered through a six-speed automatic transmission that works well and offers manual sport shifting.
With a 3-tonne towing capacity, MU-X owners will find themselves having the capability to tow a wide variety of caravans, boats and camper trailers, with electric trailer braking available as an aftermarket option.
In fact, post purchase accessories are one of the great things about the Isuzu MU-X range. There are loads of options, including lift kits, snorkels, bull bars and dual battery kits to make your SUV your own.
The MU-X LS-T and LS-U are both very capable off road vehicles even in their standard guise. Featuring both low and high range 4WD, the MU-X will go anywhere and is only limited by the driver’s ability.
Due to the popularity of both the MU-X and D-MAX there has even been an I-Venture club established by Isuzu Ute Australia for like-minded owners looking for challenging and breathtaking locations to take their SUV or ute.
The only hold back to the option of long distance off-roading/touring in an MU-X is the standard fuel tank. It’s only 65-litres. Isuzu claim a fuel average distance of 823km per tank, which is pretty damned impressive though.
Fitted with six airbags and awarded a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, the MU-X range is certainly appealing to families thanks to seven seats and great storage space. It also features anti-intrusion bars and an impact absorbing chassis for added safety.
There are also nice touches inside the cabin, especially inside the top spec LS-T, with the range topper scoring a roof mounted DVD/TV for rear passengers, which is especially handy when hauling the little ones on long trips.
The infotainment system is functional but a little dated. The reversing camera works well and the 8-speaker stereo is good, without being memorable. There’s a multi-function color control screen and the DVD player, which is reasonably user friendly.
Bluetooth integration isn’t great however, and when combined with road noise, the MU-X (both variants) is not the best place to make a phone call from. The navigation system is clear and uncomplicated though, and worked well when we tested.
The LS-T boasts leather appointed seats, whilst it’s lower spec LS-U sibling has cloth seats. Perhaps the most dated feature in the family SUV is the lane departure warning, which is located inside the front pillar on either side of the cabin.
It beeps, but the timing and indication is off a little. We’re sure drivers will adapt as they become used to the feature. The 2019 editions of the LS-T and LS-U come with a 6-year warranty and 6-years roadside assist.
Pitted against models such as the Toyota Prado and the Holden Trailblazer, the Isuzu offers great value for money, and versatile and capable family motoring. If it was our choice, we’d opt to splash the extra cash and get the better-appointed LS-T variant.
It’s just a nicer daily driver with its added creature comforts.
Our test vehicle was provided by Isuzu Ute Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Isuzu MU-X LS-T and LS-U, contact your local Isuzu Ute dealer.