The Isuzu MU-X has proven to be a hit with families and off-road tourers, but it wasn’t without faults. Cabin NVH levels, the use of hard plastics and the lack of a 6-speed automatic gearbox held it back compared to the competition. Well, the 2017 Isuzu MU-X has just been released, and we were among the first to drive it; on-road, off-road and towing a decent load. Here are seven reasons we believe the 2017 Isuzu MU-X is an improved vehicle over the model it replaces.
1: REDUCED ENGINE NOISE
One of the biggest complaints of the previous MU-X was NVH levels inside the cabin. The first thing you notice when starting the 2017 Isuzu MU-X is how much quieter it is inside the vehicle. This has been achieved by adding extra sound and vibration insulation around the dash console, transmission tunnel, windscreen seal, firewall and floorpan.
2: INTERIOR UPGRADES:
“Less hard plastics please” was the feedback Isuzu received, and they listened. Inside the face-lifted 2017 MU-X certainly is a nicer place to be. Upgrades include a dual-tone dashboard with soft-touch finishes, as well as chrome and piano black trimming. Soft touch armrests and console covering make the 2017 MU-X more comfortable on long drives, however we did notice the stitching in the rear passenger armrests scratched the life out of your arms on bumpy off-road sections. Newly designed quilted leather accented seats in the LS-T variant are supportive and much more comfortable than the previous MU-X. SatNav is also a welcome addition on up spec LS-U and LS-T variants.
3: BI-LED AUTO-LEVELLING PROJECTOR HEADLIGHTS:
LED lighting technology has come a long way, and these new auto-levelling Bi-LED headlights are fantastic compared to the previous halogen units offering an increase in illumination in both spread and distance. The auto-levelling feature is particularly handy for those towing heavy loads, as the lights remain pointed where they should no matter how much weight is over the rear end. One must wonder however, how much they would cost to replace if damaged in the event of an animal strike. They are a welcome addition none the less.
4: MORE GRUNT – 430NM OF TORQUE
Like the D-Max, the 3.0L turbo diesel engine has been updated, torque now comes on sooner and harder with 430Nm available from 1,700-3500rpm (up from 380Nm). The 4JJ1-TC Hi-Power Euro5 compliant engine features new piston design, fuel injectors and fuel supply pump, VGS turbocharger, larger EGR cooler and new EGR bypass valve. Ceramic glow plugs have been fitted, as well as an intelligent battery sensor and Diesel Particulate Defuser. We had the opportunity to tow a 3-tonne caravan, and you can absolutely notice the difference in power delivery over the previous MU-X.
5: 6-SPEED AISIN AUTOMATIC (AND MANUAL) GEARBOX
More gears, matched with more power is always going to be a recipe for success. The AISIN AWR6B45 6-speed auto is perfectly matched to the 3.0L turbo diesel, however with more torque available, it was noticeable that the gearbox didn’t want to kick down as easily as the previous automatic gearbox uphill whilst towing a load. Thankfully, the sequential shift mode allowed for manual control, and the 6th gear certainly helped reducing rpm and fuel consumption at highway speeds.
6: LARGER REAR DIFFERENTIAL
With an increase in torque, Isuzu have opted to beef up the rear differential of the 2017 MU-X. Stronger ring-and-pinion gears have been utilised to cope with the additional demands. The front differential and CV joints remain untouched however, and still there is no rear diff lock option offered. This is a real shame, and obviously hurts the MU-X off-road compared to its competition.
7: NOW WITH HILL-DESCENT CONTROL
Both the D-Max and MU-X have solid engine braking already, thanks to both the diesel engine and adequate low-range gearing. Things have gotten better again in this department, with the addition of hill-decent control. It’s a good system too, easy to operate with the push of a button, and it was unobtrusive from the drivers seat.