Isuzu MU-X set to rattle SUV market

Zivisai Chagaka

ISUZU’S recently launched new SUV, the Isuzu MU-X, is a marvel that is set to rattle the market. The Isuzu MU-X is a midsize SUV with a bold stance that’s sure to get the all the attention on the road.

Local official distributor, Autoworld, launched the vehicle at a glitzy ceremony in Harare last Wednesday.

Borrowing its DNA from its still new sibling, the D-Max twin-cab, the new MU-X — which stands for Multi-purpose Utility Crossover — features a signature chrome grille which complements the stunning Bi-LED-Projector headlamps with integrated daytime running lights and an auto levelling function. Adding style to the sides of the vehicle are muscular fenders and new 18-inch alloy wheels which combine to give a dynamic appearance. Another highlight is the new roof spoiler and LED tail lights which attract attention to leave a lasting impression on all who set their eyes on the MU-X.

The MU-X is described as a “full-size seven-seater SUV trusted by modern families everywhere to get them where they need to go” and “a value for money”. While the KB model still continues to be popular on the local market, the new SUV has already excited the market. Some have described it as compact and versatile — a family car good for both the school run and long-haul travel.

“It’s a must-have car for the family — it’s luxurious, spacious and has good aesthetics,” Pamela Muzenda, a local banker, told IndependentXtra. “I think it’s good for us ladies. It’s good to drive and manoeuvre. I can go with it to the shops, school run, etc.”

MU-X comes in 4×2 and 4×4 range powered by a 3,0-litre turbo-diesel engine delivering power and torque of 130kW and 380Nm, giving it enough oomph to tow trailers and caravans. Both versions are automatic and are covered by a five-year warranty or 120 000km.

Apart from all the niceties of modern driving, including rear view cameras and satellite navigation, this new SUV has French-stitched ergonomically designed bolster leather seats and a six-way electric driver seat.
In terms of fuel consumption, Muzenda gives it the thumbs-up: “The distance we travel from one point to another in and around our cities is not that far, so it should be sustainable.”

The two-wheel drive burns 7,3 litres in 100km on a litre, while the all-wheel drive is at 7,9l.

Muzenda says she drives a car in the same class, but “Isuzu listened to what the market wants”.

Out of the generous seven colours to choose from, Muzenda likes white. So whether it is urban exploring or outdoor adventure, it is more than ready to meet every discerning requirement.

Motoring pundits point to the fact that, unlike the Frontier, this is a proper SUV designed for the purpose of transporting seven occupants in comfort.

The MU-X also features traction control system and electronic stability control which allows the driver to maintain total control of the car. It has optimal ground clearance, excellent 4×4 angles and a well-protected underbody to overcome just about any road obstacle and deliver you to your destination.

Isuzu enthusiast and businessman Les Wild says he has been driving Isuzu since 2000.

“It’s a people-carrying vehicle and I need one to carry my grandchildren.” Four of them, he says, with all the safety features that my family want such as airbags all round, 17-inch wheels and a ground clearance of 230mm — these are good for our bad roads — and the fuel consumption for a D-Teq is well-known, this SUV is value for money.

Autoworld Harare business development manager Piet de Klerk is happy with local sales which he hopes to improve this year.

“As Isuzu, we are very optimistic about the Zimbabwe market and we expect to improve sales this year,” de Klerk says.

But as any other business in the country, the foreign currency shortages are a cause for concern for the car dealer.

“With the new political dispensation, we are excited about the future and we are looking up to government to address the issue of foreign currency shortages. We really would like to think the Isuzu vehicles are going to play an important role in the reviving the economy as we have a range of commercial vehicles.”

The MU-X has been in other markets like Australia, New Zealand and Thailand since 2013.

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