3 December 2021

Isuzu MU-X 2021 Car Review

Isuzu MU-X fans have faced a seven year wait for the release of the new MU-X model. This new 7-seater, large SUV, has undergone a comprehensive transformation, plus it has been awarded the maximum 5-star ANCAP safety rating.

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Isuzu MU-X 2021 Car Review
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Isuzu MU-X 2021 Car Review
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Isuzu MU-X 2021 Car Review
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Isuzu MU-X 2021 Car Review
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Isuzu MU-X 2021 Car Review
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Isuzu MU-X 2021 Car Review
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Isuzu MU-X 2021 Car Review

Isuzu Utes New Zealand General Manager Sam Waller says, "The first-generation MU-X has always been a favourite amongst families in the rural community given its durability and reliability. It's also been a popular choice for those that often have something to tow. We're confident that the improvements in design and engineering instilled in the second-generation MU-X will meet — and exceed — the expectations of our customers."

Top of the range

Isuzu only offers the cream of the crop spec variant for the New Zealand market, which comes with modern features like Bi-LED headlights with self-levelling, and the rear taillight clusters feature the more modern LED combination lighting with neat little accents like the words MU-X inscribed in them.

MU X Badge intext1

The roof rails are finished in a smoky grey, which complements the vehicles exterior and offers a dramatic contrast to the simplistic Splash White colour of our test model. There are also large 20-inch alloy wheels and unlike many new vehicles these days, a full-sized alloy spare, which is exactly what buyers of heavier duty models are looking for.

The aesthetics are a leap forward from the previous model; we loved the new front grill, which seemed to almost mimic sharp teeth.

If Splash White isn’t your favourite exterior colour option, there is an extensive range to choose from including Onyx Black, Mercury Silver, Obsidian Grey, Red Spinel, Sapphire Blue, and a new range addition Santos Brown.

Lux Interior

The interior appears more pampered and plusher than the previous generation; Isuzu have found an excellent balance between both utility and luxury, making the all-new MU-X a very comfortable and relaxing ride.

There are also smart features like the double glove box, which make separating and stowing smaller items easier. Cup holders for both the driver and passenger are neatly integrated into a foldaway compartment on the dashboard, which gives the front occupants easy access to a grand total of four cup holders, a welcomed additional feature for longer journeys.

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The interior design is smartly finished in quilted leather accents with the on trend piano black detailing. The latest on-board technology includes a 9-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, Android Auto, and wireless Apple CarPlay, along with an eight-speaker setup offering good sound quality throughout the cabin. Dual-zone climate air-conditioning heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors also all come as standard fare.

Performance and Price

The MU-X is powered by Isuzu's new 4JJ3-TCX, 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine, which produces 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque, which is more than enough pull for most family boats and caravans. The transmission is a six-speed automatic, while its nearest rivals have more gears, in our opinion it never really appears to be missing any.

There is a huge 3500kg braked towing capacity, along with a locking rear differential. If things get slippery, there is also an extra 235mm in wading depth (now a large 800mm). The previous model’s rear suspension leaf springs have been replaced with a multi-link setup; this makes driving this large ladder chassis SUV a very comfy ride on the open road.

In terms of economy, it’s reasonable for a vehicle of this size and consumes 8.3L/100km with a CO2 output of 220g/km.


The latest MU-X is leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor; it’s more luxurious, refined and boasts an impressive suite of safety features, which makes it a perfect family SUV. However, because it has taken so long to arrive, it has been born into a competitive large ladder chassis SUV world; with cheaper but perhaps not quite as lavish models like the Pajero Sport and the Fortuna also vying for your dollar.

If you fell in love with the previous model and have stuck out the wait for the new model, then it is sure to have you grinning from ear to ear and let’s face it sometimes good things take time.

At a glance


Isuzu MU-X


3.0-litre  turbo


$80,990 + ORC

ANCAP safety rating

5 Star




Six-speed Automatic

Fuel Economy/CO2

8.3L/100km (Combined), 220g/km

Towing capacity

3,500kg braked, 750kg unbraked 



Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

311L with third row up


Safety systems

  • 4-channel 4-sensor Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) 
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) 
  • Traction Control System (TCS)  
  • Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
  • Hill Start Assist (HSA) 
  • Hill Descent Control (HDC)
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
  • Turn Assist with AEB
  • Post-Collision Braking
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Misacceleration Mitigation
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop and Go functionality 
  • Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) 
  • Intelligent Speed Limiter 
  • Manual Speed Limiter
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW) 
  • Lane Departure Prevention (LDP)
  • Lane Keep Assist (LKA) 
  • Emergency Lane Keeping (ELK)
  • Driver Attention Assist 
  • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) 
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)

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