The recent debuts two all-new SUVs – the 2016 Toyota Fortuner and 2015 Ford Everest – have reignited interest in the seven-passenger, body-on-frame SUV segment, particularly in Australia where such vehicles enjoy healthy sales. However, one stalwart in the segment is the Isuzu mu-X, an SUV that shares all the same important criteria as the others.

Isuzu’s seven-passenger people hauler rides on a ladder frame design with an independent front suspension and a solid rear axle sprung with a multi-link and coil design. The mu-X also sports a turbodiesel powertrain, available manual transmission, and optional 4WD. On paper, the mu-X certainly has the right stuff.

Ironically, much of that can be credited to General Motors – the parent company to one of the mu-X’s closest rivals, the 2012 Holden Colorado 7. Reminiscent of GM and Isuzu’s past partnership in the U.S., the mu-X is a rebadged version of the Holden Colorado 7. Here in the States, GM rebadged the first-generation Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup truck as the 2004 Isuzu i-Series and the Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV as the Isuzu Ascender.

Unlike that past partnership, Isuzu is providing its own powertrain for the mu-X, including a 3.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbodiesel and five-speed transmissions in place of the Holden’s 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel and six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes. Beyond that, the Colorado 7 and mu-X are strikingly similar. Still, both compete against each other in the Australian market and will have to fend off the new Fortuner and Everest from Toyota and Ford.

So let’s take a deeper dive into the Isuzu mu-X.

Continue reading to learn more about the Isuzu MU-X.

  • 2015 Isuzu MU-X
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    174
  • Torque @ RPM:
    280
  • Energy:
    turbodiesel
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    10 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    115 mph (Est.)
  • Layout:
    Front Engine; 2WD, 4WD
  • Price:
    45000 (Est.)

Exterior

2015 Isuzu MU-X High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Isuzu MU-X High Resolution Exterior
- image 637263
2015 Isuzu MU-X High Resolution Exterior
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The exterior of the Isuzu mu-X is rather slick. Isuzu designers added a generous amount of chrome on the grille, window trim, wheels, and rear tailgate. Xenon headlights are mounted behind molded covers. LED daytime running lights brighten the bumper and fog lights make dark roads less sketchy. When compared to its corporate cousin, the Isuzu features a much more appealing design that is far more fresh than the Colorado 7’s.

Overall, the Isuzu mu-X looks like a smart, well-rounded SUV.

On the purposeful side of things, the front end features a short bumper for a good approach angle. A decent amount of ground clearance helps it get over obstacles like rocks and logs. Similar to the front, the rear features a short overhang for a good departure angle. Meaty tires and smallish wheels give the mu-X an off-road advantage over some of the more on-road-biased SUVs of today.

The rest of the mu-X’s body gets plenty of stylistic cues. A long accent line runs front the front fender through the door handles and intersects the rear taillight. Large fender flares above each wheel look like ripped biceps on a body builder, making it wide yet defined. The rear end has just as much design work as the front.

The large taillights dominate the quarter panels with a chrome piece connecting them above the license plate. The bumper has additional lights housed down low, along with the parking sensors. The two bulges in the bumper look like a guard found on the back of a New York City taxi and lend a tough-guy appearance.

Overall, the Isuzu mu-X looks like a smart, well-rounded SUV. Let’s see if its interior keeps the trend going.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 3,095 MM (121.85 Inches)
Overall length 5,040 MM (198.42 Inches)
Overall width (excl.door mirrors) 1,775 MM (69.88 Inches)
Overall height 1,685 MM (66.33 Inches)
Ground clearance 190 MM (7.48 Inches)

Interior

2015 Isuzu MU-X Interior
- image 637260

Though the mu-X is basically a carbon copy of the Holden Colorado 7, both SUVs can trace their roots to the global Colorado pickup. The interior of the Isuzu blatantly gives that secret away as quickly as you can open your eyes. The dashboard carries the same basic design, though there are several key differences.

Though the mu-X is basically a carbon copy of the Holden Colorado 7, both SUVs can trace their roots to the global Colorado pickup.

Obviously the mu-X has its steering wheel plastered with Isuzu while its infotainment system departs from the GM-centric MyLink software. The system offers a touchscreen with navigation, iPhone connectivity, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker audio system.

Opt for the range-topping LS-T trim level, and Isuzu’s Sky Sound system offers roof-mounted surround-sound speakers. A rear-seat entertainment package includes a 10-inch video screen as well. The HVAC controls, gear shifter, door panels, and overall dashboard layout are the same.

Behind the front seats is where the mu-X comes alive. A second row bench seat offers room for three passengers while the third row 50/50 split seat offers room for two. Like all proper SUVs, both the second and third rows fold flat for cargo storage. Passengers can fold any number or combination of seats for creating a compromise between people and cargo room.

The interior also offers a slew of cubby spaces for odds and ends, along with an impressive number of cup holders – 14, to be exact. A two-tier glove box offers storage for maps and other things (gloves perhaps?) while a center console bin provides space for even more items.

Drivetrain

2015 Isuzu MU-X High Resolution Exterior
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While the mu-X shares many of its parts and its overall design with the Holden Colorado 7, the Isuzu comes with its own powerplant. The GM-sourced 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel is swapped for an Isuzu-sources 3.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbodiesel.

The GM-sourced 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel is swapped for an Isuzu-sources 3.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbodiesel.

The engine makes 174 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque and is mated to your choice of a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission Isuzu calls “Rev-Tronic.” The transmission comes with a sequential sport mode for making the most out of the engine’s power.

Mated behind Both transmission choices is an optional 4WD system. When ordered, the two-speed transfer case offers both high- and low-range gears in 4WD while also allowing for conventional rear-wheel drive on regular surfaces.

The engine affords the mu-X a towing capacity of 6,613 pounds regardless of transmission choice. With the automatic transmission, the mu-X gets 28.3 mpg highway while the manual transmission ups the number to 29 mpg highway.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 3.0L Diesel, 4-cylinder
Maximum Power 174 HP
Maximum Torque 280 LB-FT
Transmission 5-speed Manual/ 5-speed "Rev-Tronic" Automatic transmission with sequential sport mode

Prices

The Isuzu mu-X carries a starting price of roughly $45,000, including Australia’s on-road costs of $4,500. With that, you get the automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive, the 16-inch allow wheels, and the rear park assist. Prices climb into the $50,000 range with the top-trim level and added options.

Competition

2015 Ford Everest

2015 Ford Everest Exterior
- image 577517

The Everest is like the mu-X in the fact it is based off a pickup truck platform, in this case, the global 2015 Ford Ranger. The Everest gets three well-rounded engine options, along with an automatic or manual transmission. The most powerful engine available is the 3.2-liter five-cylinder turbodiesel, though a 2.2-liter turbodiesel and 2.0-liter gasoline engine are offered.

The Everest offers some of the segments most technological innovations and most luxurious cabin. A part-time 4WD system with Ford’s terrain management system helps keep the SUV moving through harsh terrain.

Read our full review here.

2016 Toyota Fortuner

2016 Toyota Fortuner High Resolution Exterior
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Based on the venerable 2016 Toyota Hilux pickup truck, the Fortuner is Toyota’s new answer to the Everest and mu-X. The Fortuner slots in between Toyota’ unibody crossover, the Kuger – Australia’s version of the Highlander, and the Land Cruiser Prado. A stout
2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel pulls the Fortuner up and over obstacles while a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic does the shifting. Like the others in this category, a two-speed transfer case offers RWD, 4WD high- and 4WD low range.

As of this writing, Toyota has yet to release any photos or detailed information on the Fortuner’s interior, but it’s expected to be similar to the recently updated Hilux. Expect the latest version of Toyota’s Entune infotainment software and a cabin full of soft materials and good fit and finish.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2015 Isuzu MU-X Exterior
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The Isuzu mu-X still offers Australian buyers a solid choice of SUV amid the growing choices in the market of body-on-frame, diesel-powered, seven-seaters. It might not be the newest, most powerful, or most sophisticated, but it offers a less-complicated approach to moving folks across the outback.

And like most globally built vehicles that wind up in Australia, the U.S. will sadly have to do without. The mu-X has been on the market for a while now, and it’s extremely unlikely Isuzu has any plans to expand the SUV’s reach. It would be nice, however, if GM took the idea of the Holden Colorado 7 and built a seven-passenger, body-on-frame SUV based on the U.S.-spec Chevrolet Colorado. Powered by the upcoming 2.8-liter “Baby” Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel, it would be a fantastic addition to the Chevy lineup. In fact, the Trailblazer moniker is conveniently sitting idly by. Hey GM, want to build an awesome SUV that can tow and go off-road? We sure hope you do.

  • Leave it
    • * Low-budget interior
    • * Lacking in power
    • * Third row is best for the kids

Press Release

Bold, adventurous styling.
The All-New ISUZU mu-X strikes a commanding stance. With suave city-style meshed with tough off-road tones, the mu-X will turn heads for all the right reasons. Available in a variety of different spec levels, there’s an ISUZU mu-X that not only looks the part, but is appropriately designed with all the features required to suit any driving purpose.
Whether your rendezvous is on the red carpet or off the beaten track, the All-New ISUZU mu-X looks at home in any setting and on any terrain. Effortlessly, the mu-X blurs the boundaries between the city and the outback - providing you and your family an endless choice of exciting destinations.

Interior space and utility.
Cloaked behind the sleek exterior lines of the All-New ISUZU mu-X lies a smartly designed interior that creates a wealth of space for all of the family - and then some. There’s room for you and a team of six to travel safely, securely and in comfort.Wide door arches make access for all passengers a breeze, and when exploring your sense of adventure off road, there’s strategically placed assist grips to help keep you grounded.
In addition to the fun there’s also a practical side to the All-New mu-X’s interior. There’s an abundance of clever storage compartments and with the second and third row seats ability to fold down, there’s also an overly generous cargo area when you have a sizeable load to carry.
A new seat design with ‘wrap-around’ bolsters provide increased shoulder, back and base support delivering more comfort for occupants. Clever split/fold rear seats in both the second and third rows mean that no matter what seating configuration you choose, the versatile interior will provide you and your family with all the head, leg and shoulder room you need for a relaxing journey.

Designed for your comfort and convenience.
Whether you’re navigating peak-hour on the weekday school run or traversing whatever the wildest weekend can throw at you, the All-New ISUZU mu-X has you covered for the routine, extreme, and everything in between.
While you’re having fun behind the wheel, the All-New ISUZU mu-X has also been designed to keep your family entertained. A premium audio system with 6 speakers plus 2 Exciter roof-mounted speakers and Bluetooth® phone connectivity along with audio streaming are available.
You’ll never need to look for another cup holder again, our design engineers have managed to include 14 of them so you’ll always have a refreshment at hand.
Enjoy a passenger car-like driving experience you have come to expect from today’s modern SUV’s.

Four-wheel-drive command at your fingertips.
With the All-New ISUZU mu-X four-wheel-drive you can tackle your dream destination and reach that out-of-the-way spot with confidence, as it enables you real-world off road capability.
All 4x4 mu-X models are equipped with ISUZU’s super-easy to use 4WD select dial (2-high, 4-high and 4-low range) -so when the road that takes you to that secret beach, or hidden mountain range gets tough, your spirit for adventure won’t be stopped in its tracks.
Every 4x4 mu-X is also fitted with the rugged off-road protection you need when roughing it. There’s a front steel plate skid /splash shield as well as steel plate guards to protect the sump and transfer case. Add to this a tried and tested 4x4 drivetrain managed by an intelligent Traction Control System (TCS) with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), along with generous ground-clearance, approach and departure angles - any track is yours to be owned
A true family-sized seven-seat SUV, the mu-X redefines the boundaries of adventure. The All-New Isuzu mu-X is always ready when you are.

Legendary fuel economy takes you further.
From one of the world’s leading manufacturers of diesel engine technology, the impressive ISUZU 2.5 litre turbo diesel engine that powers the All-New ISUZU mu-X is as frugal as it is athletic. Delivering plenty of power and torque, this stirring powerplant produces equally amazing fuel economy which means less time filling up and more money in your pocket to spend on your next adventure.
The All-New ISUZU mu-X is as efficient as it gets thanks to its Variable Geometry System (VGS) turbocharger alters the direction of exhaust flow to optimise turbine response at low engine rpm to overcome ‘turbo lag’. Overseeing the fuel delivery is the mu-X’s common rail high pressure fuel system which uses the latest in fuel injector and high pressure fuel rail technology to effectively minimise the amount of fuel in the combustion process, providing superior fuel economy.
In addition, automatic versions of the mu-X also benefit from the intelligent ‘grade-logic’ transmission which keeps the mu-X in the correct gear preventing over-revving and unnecessary fuel burn.

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