Home / car buyer / Isuzu MU-X Upgrade: We Check it Out

Isuzu MU-X Upgrade: We Check it Out

The SUV from Isuzu builds on a winning formula

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Things we like

  • Comfortable and quiet
  • . Huge safety package
  • . Heaps of interior space

Not so much

  • Engine noisy when cold
  • . Slow steering can be tiring in town
  • . Forward camera would be handy
The Isuzu MU-X is a large SUV that is spacious and comfortable for up to seven occupants and is generally smooth and quiet to ride in.

This is one of the better ute-based SUVs for driver engagement and up-to-the-minute standard safety equipment, as well as being a strong heavy towing candidate with its 3500kg (braked) capacity.

Updated in late 2022 for MY2023, it has a new grille and taillights across the range and a new road wheel design in base LS-U and top-shelf LS-T trim. Equipment levels have also improved.

The MU-X’s powertrain, all diesel automatic, in 4×2 or 4×4 versions, provides a good spread of torque and acceptable power with good fuel economy. Every MU-X comes with the convenience of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The Isuzu six-year/150,000km warranty is better than average.

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2023 Isuzu MU-X pricing
LS-M Diesel Automatic 4×2 $48,900
LS-U Diesel Automatic 4×2 $55,400
LS-T Diesel Automatic 4×2 $61,400
LS-M Diesel Automatic 4×4 $54,900
LS-U Diesel Automatic 4×4 $61,400
LS-T Diesel Automatic 4×4 $65,990

Prices exclude on-road costs, except the LS-T 4×4 which has drive-away pricing under a long-running promotional offer that, depending on your location, makes it about the same price or less expensive than a lower-spec the LS-U 4×4 after on-road charges have been factored in.

What body styles are available for the Isuzu MU-X?

Five-door SUV only. The MU-X drives either its rear wheels or all four wheels, depending on the version.

It is classed as a large SUV, and aside from obvious sheet metal changes, different trim specs and the use of a coil-sprung rear axle instead of leaf springs, it shares much with its Isuzu D-Max ute sibling.

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What features are standard in every Isuzu MU-X?

The features listed below are standard in the entry-level LS-M model and will appear in higher-grade models, unless replaced by more premium equivalent features.

2023 Isuzu MU-X standard features
Colour seven-inch touchscreen, one 12v auxiliary and two USB input sockets. Rear parking sensors
17-inch alloy wheels Urethane steering wheel, gear shifter, and handbrake
Full-size steel spare wheel Cloth upholstery
7-inch infotainment system Seven seats in three rows
Wireless Apple CarPlay Manual air conditioning
Wired Android Auto Rear air vents – second and third rows
DAB+ digital radio Keyless start
Four speaker audio system Rain-sensing wipers
Front USB-A port Powered side mirrors
Second-row USB-A x2 ports An automatic transmission
LED head and tail-lights Rear differential lock (4×4 only)


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What key features do I get if I spend more?

The cheapest MU-X, the LS-M, has cloth seats, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, seven seats and 17-inch wheels.

Mechanically, all Isuzu MU-X variants share the 3.0L turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission combination, and the only major mechanical option for all of the three trim levels is to choose either the 4×2 (rear-wheel drive) or part-time 4×4.

Aside from the locking rear diff only available on 4x4s (where is it standard on all spec levels), there is no difference between 4×2 and 4×4 in trim line features.

For extra equipment over LS-M, you could spend more for an MU-X LS-U, where the extra money brings a power tailgate, heated body-colour side mirrors and rear privacy glass.

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The LS-U also brings:

2023 Isuzu MU-X LS-U features
A bigger 9.0-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation so you don’t have to rely on a phone app Tyre pressure monitoring system
Dual-zone climate control Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
Keyless entry Sun visors with vanity mirrors
Walk-away locking Front parking sensors augment those at the rear
Welcome home lighting Roof rails
Leather steering wheel Bigger, sportier-looking 18-inch alloy wheels
Power lumbar control, driver’s seat


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The top model is the MU-X LS-T, which gets you those features plus:

2023 Isuzu MU-X LS-T features
Leather accents on all seats Heated front seats
Eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat Remote engine start, so you can start the engine to warm or cool the interior before getting in
Four-way power-adjustable passenger’s seat Full-size alloy spare wheel


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How safe is the Isuzu MU-X?

The MU-X has a comprehensive safety assist features list for all models from LS-M 4×2 up.

This includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB), a lane support system (LSS) with lane-keep assist (LKA) and emergency lane keeping (ELK) functionality that helps steer the MU-X within the road markings.

Its AEB system can initiate a full emergency stop automatically from speeds of up to 80km/h if the system senses you are in danger of driving into something. First, it sounds a warning and if you ignore that, it applies the brakes partially. If you still do not intervene it applies maximum braking.

The AEB is capable of detecting and reacting to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, in both daylight and low light. There’s rear cross-traffic alert but no rear AEB.

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Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function, auto high beam, roll-over mitigation and driver attention assist are also part of the safety suite in all MU-X variants There’s also a standard reversing camera and a seatbelt monitoring for every seat.

Dusk-sensing headlights, eight airbags and the mandatory stability control (plus trailer sway control, to add confidence when towing up to its maximum 3500kg braked capacity) complete an excellent standard package.

Both LS-U and LS-T grades add front parking sensors to what is already quite the comprehensive safety feature package on the base LS-M.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) rated all models of the current-generation MU-X at five stars for safety, its maximum, in 2022.

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How comfortable and practical is the Isuzu MU-X?

The MU-X is a big vehicle and, in its second iteration, is roomy and – more importantly – a better-packaged car than the old one.

Its middle row flips and tumbles with the pull of a lever and once you’ve hoisted yourself up and in, it’s reasonably easy to step into the back row and choose one of the two seats.

Both seats score cup holders, a bit of storage and air vents. There’s also a footwell so your knees aren’t right up in your face, meaning it’s reasonably comfortable for a third row.

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Middle-row seating is pretty firm but you get cup holders in the armrest and bottle holders in the doors, as well as air vents and hefty grab handles. Once you count up all the cup holders, you’ll need two extra fingers, because there are twelve of them.

Front occupants share a pair of cup holders in the centre console plus another two that pop out from below the outboard air-con vents. Both perch on comfortable – if firm – seats. The word perch is carefully chosen because you are a long way off the ground in an MU-X, for that old-school 4×4 feeling.

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How much boot space does the Isuzu MU-X offer?

With the third row in use, boot space measures 311 litres, which is larger than many small hatchbacks. And some compact SUVs, as it happens.

Folding the third row is easy – pull the tapes on the seatbacks and they flip forward and hinge down to create a flat floor and 1119 litres are at your disposal.

There is also a storage box under the aft section of the floor at the loading lip, which means the spare is under the car. Fold everything flat and you have 2138 litres, which is a tremendous amount of space.

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I like driving – will I enjoy this car?

Yes. The Isuzu MU-X is no sports car but is among the more satisfying large SUVs to drive.

The MU-X has a four-cylinder turbo-diesel, and it’s a bit of a whopper at 3.0 litres, the biggest four-pot out there since the Mitsubishi Pajero and its 3.2-litre diesel was discontinued.

With 140kW and 450Nm, the Isuzu unit is lazy in the good way you want when one wheel is deep in a rut and another waving in the air. This also makes it very relaxed on the freeway and, due to the way it delivers torque, doesn’t take much effort to get the MU-X moving.

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It’s still really noisy, especially when cold. Once you’re on the move the sound pretty much vanishes, making it a quiet, long-legged cruiser. With the engine settled, you just hear a bit of rustle from the big wing mirrors.

Even with a determined prod of the throttle, it’s not quick off the line, rather getting on with the job of creating forward motion without getting too bothered about 0-100km/h nonsense. The Aisin six-speed automatic is a slicker, quicker shifter than the old car, handling the dollops of torque dispatched by the engine really well.

The new MU-X shares a lot of its ladder-frame underguts with the D-Max, which arrived late in 2020. The MU-X’s rear subframe is different, though, with a multi-link suspension set-up delivering a comfortable ride. It will tow 3.5 tonnes of braked load and Isuzu reckons more than half of MU-X buyers actually tow something pretty hefty.

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Steering is a bit woolly, though, and achingly slow when you’re doing a three-point turn, but again, given owners actually do muddy, filthy stuff with an MU-X, it’s the right choice for the car.

You’ll never escape the height and weight of the MU-X but the suspension does a good job of keeping the body in check. Along with the comfy ride, the way such a big unit can be made to handle in a predictable and secure-feeling way is pretty impressive. The MU-X holds the road quite well.

What it doesn’t feel like is a ute in a suit, which some other ute-based SUVs can feel like.

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Which Isuzu MU-X engine uses the least fuel?

The 80-litre fuel tank promises good on-paper range, with a combined-cycle average of 8.3L/100km.

If you can achieve the official highway figure of 7.3L/100km, you can comfortably get between Sydney and either Brisbane or Melbourne on a tank. 4×2 versions use about half a litre less in each measurement cycle.

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What is the Isuzu MU-X’s towing capacity?

The Isuzu MU-X has a braked towing capacity of 3500kg, with a towball rating of 350kg.

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How long is the warranty and what are the Isuzu MU-X’s servicing costs?

While it doesn’t have the industry’s longest warranty, the Isuzu MU-X still comes with one of the more competitive offers on the market – that is, six years / 150,000km, with free roadside assist for 12 months.

If you participate in the seven-year capped price service programme for its duration, you also get roadside assist for up to seven years.

Averaged out over the seven services, the MU-X works out at $527 per year for the capped-price servicing offer, assuming you do no more than the limit of 15,000km between services per annum.

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Which version of the Isuzu MU-X does Wheels recommend?

Given Isuzu throws in on-road costs for free at the moment on the MU-X LS-T, it’s hard to go past this range-topping model for value.

Were it not for the drive-away offer it would be hard to justify the extra expense of the LS-T unless you really want some of its extra creature comforts.

Once that offer expires, it would not be difficult to call the LS-U a sweet spot in the range.

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What are the Isuzu MU-X’s key rivals?