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.
The last pickup developed entirely by Isuzu was sold on the US market back in the 90s, as all the following models were basically rebadged GM versions. The 1995 Isuzu Pickup was one of the most basic pickups that could’ve been found at that time on the market. The vehicle had a spartan interior and a stiff ride but it managed to deal well with arduous working conditions.
The Isuzu Pickup was offered in two configurations. The two-wheel-drive version is powered by a 2.3-liter, 100-horsepower engine, while the four-wheel-drive model comes with a 2.6-liter, 120-horsepower unit. There is only a single cab configuration available, but there were two bed lengths to choose from.
Isuzu sold rebadged GM vehicles from some time now and one of the latest models launched by the company is the i-Series pickup which is based on the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. The vehicle is available in both single and double cab versions with either 4x2 or 4x4 configurations.
The i-Series is far from being among the best choices you can find in this segment as both its materials and build quality are behind average. The engines are also a half step behind models like the Toyota or Nissan, but the price is smaller than most if its rivals.
Though the competitive price strategy wasn’t enough to boost Isuzu’s sales and its i-Series was always at the bottom of the sales charts.
Judging by the poor sales recorded by Isuzu on the US market, it’s possible that the i-Series could be the last passenger car sold on this market.
Isuzu and GM work together from a pretty long time and one the models than was born from this relationship is the H-Series truck.
The H Series is built on the same chassis as the Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC Topkick. Isuzu’s truck is available as a medium duty Class 6, 7, and 8 truck. The H Series is also available in various GVW which range from 25,950 to 54,600 lbs.
Similarly with its siblings from GM, the H-Series also comes with both regular and crew cabs, but unlike its brothers it’s equipped with its own inline-6 turbodiesel engines.
The Isuzu Hombre was the first pickup truck build by the company and was basically a rebadged Chevrolet S-10. The Chevrolet S-10 was also the base model for the GMC Sonoma and all these three clones shared the same design, and technologies.
Isuzu preferred this strategy, as it was the cheapest variant and the company saved a serious amount of money. The Isuzu Hombre was offered in both 4x2 and 4x4 configurations with either regular cab or extended cab body styles (Spacecab).
Like the Chevrolet S-10 and GMC Sonoma, the Isuzu Hombre is offered with 2.2, 4.3 V6 and a 4.3 Vortec engine. The vehicle was priced pretty competitively at $11.500 for the base rear drive model equipped with manual gearbox.
The Isuzu Hombre was offered with 36-month/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warrantee, a five-year/60,000 mile powertrain guarantee and roadside assistance.
Isuzu has built itself a pretty solid reputation mostly thanks to its rugged trucks, but the company builds also pickups.
The Isuzu Fuego pickup truck was commercialized between 1998 - 2005 and was the typical utilitarian work horse that was usually found in the middle of nowhere carrying some serious loads at the back.
The Fuego was a success story for Isuzu until it was replaced by the newer D-Max which came up with a sharper style, stronger engines and a more refined cabin.
The Fuego was available in both 4x2 and 4x4 drive configurations and power came from either a 2,499cc or a 2,771cc engine.
The pickup market is in continuous expansion and many manufacturers come with better and better products to satisfy the need of its pretentious buyers. Isuzu makes no expectation and has recently launched its 2012 D Max (also known as the Rodeo) which replaced the old generation that was around since 2003.
The 2012 Isuzu D-Max is based on the new Chevrolet Colorado pickup and compared to the old generation it comes with better comfort, performances and transmissions. The new Isuzu D Max it’s available in five specification levels, including a new range-topper, and three body configurations, with the addition of a space-cab body with reverse-opening ‘wing’ rear doors.
Compared to the Chevrolet Colorado the D-Max comes with a different engine and a unique front styling. Unlike its sibling, the D Max it’s also available with both manual and automatic transmissions.
The new D max is priced from $27,200, and has a towing capacity of up to 3.0-tonnes with a maximum payload of 1128 kg.
The Isuzu Rodeo - or the D-Max on the Australian market - was built on the same platform with the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Isuzu i-Series.
The Rodeo is the only pickup in Isuzu’s lineup as the manufacturer is especially known for its mid- and heavy-duty trucks.
The vehicle replaced the old TF pickup and comes with a pretty pleasant interior being less rugged than other pickups in its class. Thanks to its mixed personality, the Isuzu Rodeo can be used successfully for both harsh jobs and family necessities.
As most vehicles of its ilk, the Rodeo is available with 2WD or 4WD configurations. Yet despite Isuzu’s struggles to come up with a good product, the Rodeo is still not in the same league with its competitors from Nissan, Toyota or Mitsubishi which are currently the segment leaders.
The Isuzu Gigamax is the biggest truck built by the Japanese manufacturer and was designed for heavy duty applications. The Gigamax has a cab over engine configuration which is usually typical for the European trucks and comes with a gross combination mass (GCM) of up to 70 tones.
The truck is sold globally and incorporates Isuzu’s latest technologies being equipped with strong and torquey Euro V diesel engines which develop between 415 and 510 hp. Isuzu was always appreciated for its proven reliability and the Gigamax makes no exception offering a standard 3 years or 500.000 kilometer warranty.
Isuzu’s F Series is one of the most versatile ranges of trucks available on today’s market. The vehicles have a good reputation regarding their reliability and they also receive good marks when it comes to fuel efficiency.
The F Series shares the same cabin with the stronger FX model, but compared with its bigger brother it has a more serene and subdued character. The Isuzu F Series is available with a choice of four engine outputs ranging from 200 hp to 300 hp and GVM (gross vehicle mass) ratings between 10400 kg - 16.500 kg. Specialist F-Series models include full-time 4 X 4 and 6 X 2 freight carriers, a 6 X 4 refuse compactor and truck tractors.
The Isuzu F Series lineup consists of more than 18 models with GVM (gross vehicle masses) ranging from 3559 kg to 24000 kg and GCM (gross combination masses) from 3550 kg to 42500 kg. The Isuzu FX Series is the biggest model in the F Series Range and occupies the gap between the F Series and Gigamax models, being available with GVMs ratings between 16500 kg-24.000 kg. The Isuzu FX series is equipped with a common rail diesel engine with a maximum output of 360 hp and 1442 Nm of torque.
The Isuzu N-Series range consists of 17 models and the NKR is the smallest model in this lineup. The NKR 3.5 chassis cab range was launched in 1993 and in 2008 has received a bigger cabin and a new 3 liter common rail turbo diesel engine. The engine was tweaked in 2009 to respect the Euro 5 emission norms and is mated on a five speed gearbox.
The Isuzu NKR is available in two cab configurations and three chassis including the NKR-S Dropside, the NKR-S Tipper and the NKR-T Tipper with twin rear wheels. The most capable of these three models is the NKR-S Dropside as it has the biggest payload with 1,400kg. The other two Tipper models can carry 1.180 kg and 1.034 kg respectively.
The Isuzu NKR competes in the 3.5 tones segment with models like the Renault Maxity or Toyota Dyna and it service intervals are set at 10,000 miles.