New Isuzu MU-X emerges

words - Marton Pettendy
First image of Isuzu's all-new seven-seat off-roader surfaces a month ahead of its world debut

Last month we exclusively revealed that Isuzu will present an all-new seven-seat SUV named the MU-X in Thailand in late October, before the replacement for the Thai-market MU-7 goes on sale in Australia in December.

Now the first unofficial rendering of the Japanese brand’s new off-road wagon, which is based on Isuzu’s latest-generation D-MAX ute, has appeared in the Bangkok Post this week, courtesy of an Isuzu enthusiast website.

We can vouch for the legitimacy of the image pictured here, but it’s known that the MU-X will wear similar front-end styling to the D-MAX, although the large five-door wagon will feature three rows of seats and redesigned suspension including a coil-sprung rear-end. 4x4 and entry-level 4x2 versions will also be available.

As we reported in August, Isuzu Ute Australia’s first direct rival for the top-selling Toyota Prado – as well as Holden’s Colorado 7, the Mitsubishi Challenger and Ford’s upcoming Ranger-based Everest – has received federal regulatory approval for sale in Australia, where a pre-production prototype is currently being evaluated,

While the MU-X is based on a similar ladder-frame chassis to Holden’s Colorado 7, the two SUVs (like their pick-up cousins) are built in separate factories in Thailand and it’s understood the MU-X will wear completely different sheetmetal to the Holden.

Like its tray-backed cousin, the MU-X will also come with different engines to the Colorado 7, which is powered by a Thai-built VM Motori 2.8-litre turbo-diesel.

We reported last month that the MU-X will be powered by the same 130kW/380Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel as the D-MAX, but that it could also be offered with Isuzu’s newer, more efficient and Euro 5 emissions-compliant twin-turbo 2.5-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, which produces 119kW/400Nm in the European D-MAX.

Reports from Thailand have now backed that up, indicating that four MU-X variants will be available in Thailand from November, all fitted as standard with an automatic transmission.

According to the Isuzu fan site, the 2.5 VGS 4x2 will open the MU-X range below the mid-range 2.5 VGS Prestige 4x2 and 3.0 VGS 4x2 Prestige Navi, while the four-wheel drive 3.0 VGS 4x4 Prestige Navi will top the Thai range.

Expect the MU-X to be priced from under $50,000 when Australian sales commence in December – perhaps between the Colorado 7 (from $46,990) and Prado (from $55,990), both of which will be upgraded before the MU-X arrives.


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Published : Friday, 27 September 2013
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