2021 Isuzu mu-X debuts to take the fight back to its rivals

Updated Oct 30, 2020 | Same topic: Automotive Industry Updates
Isuzu's new SUV is ready to do battle.

The mu-X serves as Isuzu’s SUV contender in its key markets, but recent offerings from its Japanese, American, and even Chinese rivals have left it feeling a little long in the tooth, despite several facelifts and minor interior tweaks.

mu-X front

Isuzu is definitely going big with the 2021 mu-X SUV

Now, Isuzu steps up its SUV game by launching the new-generation mu-X in Thailand. Although it still rides on the same platform used by the D-Max pickup, the new mu-X is taking steps to distance itself from its pickup sibling and shine on its own.

2021 Isuzu mu-X: Exterior

The Isuzu mu-X goes beyond being a D-Max with an extended roofline and extra seats. It sports a slimmer grille flanked by smaller, revamped bi-LED headlamps that make it visually distinct.

The LED daytime running lights feature a simplified yet sportier design, appealing to those looking for a more aggressive look. The fog lamps are now nestled within revised housings, located farther down the front bumper.

mu-X brown

The restyled fascia carries more than a hint of elegance

Prominent character lines run across the slab-sided profile, topped by a high beltline. The rear quarter windows now emanate from the C-pillar, with a contour that reminds one of a certain Japanese compact crossover.

Sleeker rear lamps flank the new tailgate that proudly sports the Isuzu branding right below the rear glass. The new mu-X rides on alloy wheels ranging from 18- to 20-inches, housed within rounder fenders.

2021 Isuzu mu-X: Interior

Opening the doors welcomes up to seven occupants to an interior that’s now roomier than ever. The new mu-X borrows heavily from the Isuzu D-Max with a few changes, such as leather upholstery and gloss black trim on the transmission tunnel.

The front seats feature power adjustment with memory settings, while the multi-function steering wheel can be tweaked for reach and rake to find the perfect driving position. Headroom and legroom have been improved over the outgoing model, resulting in a more comfortable ride.

mu-X interior

The 2021 mu-X gets its workhorse twin's interior with added premium bits

There’s ample room for cargo space behind the rear seats, easily expandable if you don’t have two extra passengers to carry. For bulkier loads, the middle seats can be collapsed as well. Various storage bins can be found within the cabin for convenience, while the ergonomic layout keeps everything within easy reach.

>>> Related: Next-gen 2021 Isuzu mu-X could look like this, based on leaked patents

2021 Isuzu mu-X: Tech & Safety

Drivers take command of a new multi-information display nestled between the analog gauges, while a 9-inch touchscreen head unit in the middle of the dashboard packs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, patched to an 8-speaker audio system.

Bluetooth hands-free, USB, and AUX IN connectivity enable more opportunities to stream multimedia, while wireless charging lets your compatible devices top up on juice anytime. The automatic climate control foregoes the old control dial in favor of switches.

Climate control

No more twisting around for the perfect temperature

Safety features on the 2021 mu-X include six airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, traction and stability control, hill-start assist, and hill descent control.

The SUV even comes with the Isuzu Driver Assist System (IDAS) which features adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive high-beam, blind-spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, lane-keeping assist, lane departure warning, turn assist, traffic sign recognition, and forward-collision warning.

2021 Isuzu mu-X: Engine & Drivetrain

The new mu-X retains its predecessor’s two turbodiesel options, with a 1.9L RZ4E base engine kicking up 150 hp and 350 Nm of torque.

Upper-spec trims get a more powerful 3.0-liter 4JJ1-TCX BluePower turbodiesel power plant, with the output bumped up to 190 hp and 450 Nm of torque. Both engines are mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, with the top-spec trims getting paddle shifters.

The top-spec mu-X boasts a switchable four-wheel drivetrain with low range, actuated through the Terrain Command Select Dial. Independent double wishbones for the front and five-link coils with stabilizer at the rear ensure that the 2021 Isuzu mu-X can handle both pavement and trails with ease.

2021 Isuzu mu-X: Pricing

The Thai-spec 2021 Isuzu mu-X comes in seven variants, with the base 1.9L Active 4x2 M/T priced at THB 1,109,000 (Php 1,716,661 at current exchange rates), while the range-topping 3.0L Ultimate 4WD A/T commands a price of THB 1,579,000 (Php 2,444,190).

There's no word yet as to its Philippine debut, but in all likelihood, Isuzu Philippines will release the 2021 Isuzu D-Max first by next year. That means a late-2021 to early 2022 local arrival for the new mu-X. But judging by what it has to offer, hopefully it will be worth the wait.

We take the mystery out of new model releases only at Philkotse.com.

Author

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Joseph has been on the LTO's records since 2004. Old enough to remember riding in taxicabs with analog meters. Keeping his hopes high and his revs low, he dreams about owning a Kei car when he retires. Hates slow parkers.