2022 Isuzu mu-X Quick Drive Review: Going upmarket?

Updated Sep 30, 2021

Isuzu’s trying to punch above its class with the new-generation mu-X.
2022 Isuzu mu-X Quick Drive Review: Going upmarket?

In this review...

  1. Introduction
  2. Exterior Review
  3. Interior Review
  4. Tech & Safety Review
  5. Engine & Performance
  6. Initial Verdict & Pricing

2022 Isuzu mu-X Review: Introduction

Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) sure likes to tease the local market. The Japanese automaker only has two passenger vehicle offerings in the lineup but despite the other one already gotten introduced earlier this year, the company took its time to follow up with its SUV counterpart, the mu-X.

2022 Isuzu mu-X: Going upmarket? (Old vs New) | Philkotse Quick Look

But lo and behold, the second-generation 2022 Isuzu mu-X is now officially here, ready to sizzle up the lucrative midsize SUV market. Is it worth the wait, though? Fortunately, I’ve had the chance to spend some time with the all-new model in the top-spec flavor before the launch.

That’s enough for me to curate an Isuzu mu-X Quick Drive review based on that brief encounter, so read along.

2022 Isuzu mu-X Quick Drive: Exterior Review

Refined and looking-upmarket – that would be the best words to describe the new mu-X. In comparison to the old model, which is more rugged and robust (and looked highly similar to the old D-Max), the new model now differs a lot from the new-generation Isuzu D-Max.

A picture of a white Isuzu mu-X parked near some shrubs.

The all-new, second-generation Isuzu mu-X

What I particularly like about the new mu-X is that the whole lineup is now equipped with LED headlamps, daytime running lights, and follow-me-home function, while the top-spec LS-E gets the auto on/off function.

A picture of the 2022 Isuzu mu-X from the side.

It has grown in size so it definitely has more road presence

At the sides, I immediately noticed the huge wheels – 20 inches to be exact – which are the biggest offering in the midsize SUV segment, mirroring what the Ford Everest Titanium has. The D-pillars are largely changed as well (no extended rear windshield anymore), which got dropped with the dissolved marriage with Chevrolet. This change made the mu-X look sleek in profile, with a contrast of machismo coming from the bulging fenders and sculpted character lines. The story’s the same at the rear, the classy appeal continues, but you won’t miss the seemingly lifted rear bumper.

A picture of the rear of the Isuzu mu-X while parked near some shrubs.

The new mu-X from the rear.

The new mu-X is also bigger now than before, albeit marginally, but at least it still has the massive 235mm space from the ground – among the biggest ground clearance among SUVs in the market today.

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2022 Isuzu mu-X Quick Drive: Interior Review

Full disclosure, I am not a fan of the outgoing mu-X’s cabin. While looking durable and ready for abuse, it was a bit spartan plus the age was really showing.

A picture of the new Isuzu mu-X's front cabin highlighting the dashboard

The new mu-X's more premium cabin

But Isuzu sure made a home run with the new-generation model’s interior. Side-by-side with the old mu-X, the materials used are more refined, more premium, and more upmarket, though my qualm with shiny black plastic is intense around the center console. Beyond that, the differences are practically night and day, especially with the leather used on the seats and steering wheel. If we’re talking about redemption, Isuzu hit the target this time around.

A picture of the new mu-X's second row from an open door.

A peek into the mu-X's second row

Space-wise, the mu-X has a fixed leg-room at the second and third rows, which will only vary with the angle of the backrests. This trait is rather unique in this segment but worth noting is the fact the mu-X’s third row has better creature space for people standing at 5’6” than any other vehicle in this class.

2022 Isuzu mu-X Quick Drive: Tech & Safety Review

The mu-X’s cabin improvements aren’t limited to the materials used. Isuzu has invested in technology and safety features, so much so in fact, the mu-X can now match the former tech-laden forerunners.

A picture of the Isuzu mu-X's ten-inch headunit

A closer look at the new mu-X's 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system

Part of the improvements includes an electronic parking brake with auto brake hold, the massive 10.1-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and all-powered adjustments and controls, among others. And yes, the LS-E has a power tailgate in case you’re asking, as well as a remote start function as a bonus.

A close-up picture of the Isuzu mu-X's 4.2-inch TFT display

Its 4.2-inch TFT multi-information display

Safety-wise, the 2022 mu-X is just as filled to the brim as the new D-Max, which means it now has Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, and Autonomous Emergency Braking – at least for the top-spec LS-E that I spent time with. But the rest of the lineup isn’t bare at all, offering SRS airbags, ABS with EBD, Brake Assist, Brake Override System, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, 3-point seat belt for all passengers, and underbody protection. And yes, all mu-X variants are equipped with rear parking sensors and cameras, save for the base LS variant.

2022 Isuzu mu-X Quick Drive: Engine & Performance

While Isuzu retained the 1.9-liter RZ4E diesel mill for the lower variants of the mu-X, the higher mu-X LS-A 4x2 AT up to the LS-E 4x4 AT are powered by an updated 3.0-liter 4JJ3-TCX engine that puts out 188hp and 450Nm of torque. This is mated to either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, though the range-topping LS-E is exclusive with an AT (with manual mode via the lever).

A picture of the mu-X's engine bay containing its 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine

The 2022 Isuzu mu-X's 3.0-liter inline-4 4JJ3-TCX turbodiesel engine

Also exclusive the LS-E is a 4x4 drivetrain with off-road mode, though it’s worth pointing out that the mu-X does away with differential locking this time around.

Power wasn’t exactly an issue with the outgoing mu-X, and so is with the new mu-X. But what’s noticeable is the more refined ride of the all-new model, which shows the improvement done on the platform and suspension setup. The steering’s notably lighter than before as well, which was one of the pain points of the predecessor.

Other driving traits are best tested for a longer period of time, so make sure to watch out for our full, in-depth review in the weeks to come.

2022 Isuzu mu-X Quick Drive: Initial Verdict & Pricing

With all the improvements mentioned here, you’d expect Isuzu to increase the pricing of the mu-X and you’d be correct. The 2022 Isuzu mu-X LS-E 4x4 AT that I spent time with now sells for P2,450,000, which now stands as the most expensive midsize SUV in the market today.

A picture of the Isuzu mu-X parked on the side of a road.

The all-new mu-X is now loaded with tech. Are those enough to justify the price?

Of note, this price tag equals the white pearl variant of the 2022 Toyota Fortuner LTD 4x4 AT. More importantly, the LS-E 4x4 AT is more expensive by almost P400,000 than the previous top-spec LS-A 4x4 AT.

So the question is: are the changes worth the massive price jump? That depends on your buying power. But as I see it, the top-spec LS-E isn’t an attractive offering for the majority, but it could sway premium car shoppers who know Isuzu’s reputation reliability of diesel-powered vehicles. High-tech stuff, premium cabin, and esteemed reliability – that’s a tough formula to beat, I reckon.

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Jacob Oliva

Jacob Oliva

Author

Jacob is a motoring journalist and the Content Manager of Philkotse.com. A recipient of the Henry Ford Awards in 2019, he currently has a column under Wheels, the motoring section of The Philippine Star. He's also an editor for Motor1.com, a leading global automotive website.

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