Published on May 11th, 2015 | by Subhash Nair0
Isuzu MU-X Media Drive Part 1: Drivability & Practicality
Isuzu brought members of the media to Cameron Highlands today to showcase their new MU-X, a 7-seater SUV aimed at providing Malaysians with a large, practical SUV, packed with great safety features and nice little extras. The first leg of the journey was all about getting up the highlands through winding highways and rough backroads.
It was an exhilarating drive. Great to see Isuzu choose such a challenging route to prove its new vehicle had what it took to handle both the best and worst of our roads. The MU-X comes in two trim levels, a front wheel drive base model and an all-wheel drive top trim. Thankfully, we were given the latter of these to complete our journey.
The most noticeable thing about how the MU-X drives is its steering feel. This is a car that forgoes a lot of the overly-complicated tech for something altogether more reliable, mechanical and most importantly, driver-oriented. So, as you’d expect, it’s got hydraulic power steering instead of electric power steering, which is just fine. The steering feel is heavy, but that makes it a lot easier to handle at speed, even with its rather springy suspension.
The diesel unit is quietly powerful, delivering pretty decent acceleration thanks to the abundance of torque throughout the rev range. There’s really just the sound of the turbo whirring and a just a distant rumble when it’s really pushed. You also get a 5-speed manual with a manual gear selector, which came in handy going uphill. The four wheel drive selector can be switched on-the-fly even at higher speeds, making the transition from front-wheel to all-wheel drive quick and effortless. The MU-X navigated the twisty route admirably, with just the body roll and soft suspension being a bit of a bother.
The interior is somewhere between Spartan and minimalist. There’s a clean looking touch screen display for the media playback and navigation. You’ll notice just a few buttons for the circular automatic climate control unit, which makes for a very clutter-free centre dash. There are also plenty of storage compartments and nooks scattered throughout that make the MU-X a really practical car to use on a daily basis. There are even six cup holders for the front passengers as well as twin glove compartments.
The seats on the MU-X are pretty well-cushioned and draped in leather regardless of trim level. The only downside is the earlier mentioned bounciness at higher speeds and on poorly-maintained roads. For the most part, Isuzu have done a decent enough job of translating the platform into something more passenger oriented with their coil springs and hydraulic shocks, but we’ll give a more detailed report on passenger comfort in the next part. We will also discuss the fuel efficiency, passenger comfort, multimedia unit and some of the extras Isuzu have put in to make the MU-X a 7-seater option worth dethroning the current offerings.