Tuesday, November 14, 2017

First Drive: 2018 Isuzu mu-X 4x2 LS-A Blue Power


There’s a lot to love with the Isuzu mu-X. Compared to its other PPV (Pickup-based Passenger Vehicle) competitors, it’s largely unpretentious, but still very capable. Its no-frills, honest-to-goodness, all-practical attitude makes it a great 7-seater family SUV—one you’re proud to recommend to your family and friends. Still, pressured by increased competition, Isuzu has brought to table some improvements for 2018, some of which are designed specifically to make it a more attractive prospect to more buyers.

Isuzu Philippines says that around 40 percent of mu-X buyers are family-oriented women and because of that, a lot of the changes centered around to make sure the interior much more hospitable and upscale. Compared to the plasticky cabin of the 2015 model, the 2018 mu-X gets nicer appointments with lots of soft-touch contact points, better plastics (including the dash itself), and suppler leather seats. The instrument cluster is also new, featuring a customizable full-color LCD screen sandwiched between the tachometer and speedometer. There’s also three USB ports and three 12-volt power outlets for those needing to juice up their devices on the go. Oh, and there’s some blue ambient lighting on the door panels.



Cabin space has always been an asset for the mu-X thanks to its upright, square-cut passenger compartment. It’s a genuine 7-seater with best-in-class headroom and ample legroom across three rows. With all seats up, the cargo hold doesn’t offer much (235 liters), but fold the third row down and things become pretty decent (878 liters). The resulting luggage hold isn’t entirely flat, but the optional cargo box accessory makes it so, along with providing a nifty way to store items like an Early Warning Device or EWD.

The mu-X’s cabin is now much befitting of a vehicle in this price range and it’s actually a very comfortable place to spend traffic in. The lack of telescopic adjustment on the steering wheel may hinder smaller drivers from finding the perfect driving position, but that aside, the ergonomics are solid. The layout is practical and user-friendly with everything easy to locate and operate.




Together with the new cabin is Isuzu’s shift to clean diesel technology in the form of the 3.0-liter Blue Power engine. The 4JJ1-TCX engine is now Euro 4 compliant while also getting a slight power bump (177 horsepower from 163 horsepower) with torque remaining the same at 380 Nm. Though it generates less torque than even some smaller-capacity rivals, the Blue Power engine is never stressed. Sure, there’s a momentary lag in power before the turbo kicks in, but once it does, the momentum keeps going. It always feels willing, yet relaxed. And with torque available across a wider engine rev range, open road driving is made even more comfortable.

Joined to this engine is a brand-new 6-speed automatic. It’s a clever gearbox that shifts at the right time, always. It’s well-suited to the engine’s relaxed character in that it keeps the revs as low as possible during cruising. Plus, when it detects the need for spirited driving, it downshifts with immediacy. The resulting fuel economy during this particular drive came out to 13.2 km/L, or a 20 percent improvement over the old engine and gearbox combination.




Although the new engine has contributed to make the 2018 mu-X much quieter and smoother than before, Isuzu has also done work to wipe a few more decibels of unwanted noise, harshness, and vibration (NVH). This is done by adding more insulation in the floor, firewall, and windshield. Though the telltale diesel clatter is still audible, especially at full throttle, the wind and tire noise are surprisingly low. Even when driven through coarse surfaces such as loose gravel, cabin insulation is noticeably improved.

Though the body-on-frame mu-X still can’t match the on-road behavior of a car-based monocoque platform, it’s never a torture to drive. In fact, it handles quite tidily for its size. For sure, it pitches through tighter roads, but body roll is largely controlled. The brakes bite well and are confidence inspiring too. If there’s one complaint, it’s that the steering is too hefty and slow.




Communicating the changes this 2018, the mu-X receives a pleura of changes including a revised front fascia with new headlights, bumpers, and grille. Continuing Isuzu’s penchant for taking inspiration from nature, the mu-X’s bi-beam LED headlights and integrated LED daytime running lights (DRLs) are reminiscent of a bald eagle. At the back, it also gets a re-shaped bumper along with a LED lighting signature that’s made to look like eagle’s wings. Capping off the changes are larger, sportier looking 18-inch alloy wheels. In the grand scale of things, these changes are fairly minor, but much needed to keep things fresh.

All told, the 2018 Isuzu mu-X may not be game-changer. However, thanks to the various upgrades put in, it should attract more buyers who might seek the enhanced aesthetics and tweaked interior more than anything else. Still, dig deeper and the new powertrain along with better on-road behavior help make it excel in the hotly contested PPV segment. More importantly, priced at P 1,598,000 (for the 4x2 LS-A Blue Power), it continues to keep value-for-money as an all-important trump card. The Isuzu mu-X continues to be an unpretentious choice, but those in the know, will know. And they know that this mid-sized SUV is all they could ever need.



55 comments:

  1. The de facto SUV of the OFWs and "taga-bukids" has now been modernized. By the way how do you pronounce mux? I hear some people calling it "muks".

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    1. The "mu" is derived from the Greek letters "mμ."

      It can be pronounced either as "mew X" or spelled out as "M-U-X." Both are acceptable. Isuzu Philippines prefers to spell it out as "M-U-X" though.

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    2. mu-X could also stand for MaUXok as in mausok.Im just joking, izusu really made a great leap in their blue diesel technology.
      mu-x is even a better choice than the crv & cx5 diesels!

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. Isuzu should have kept the "Hi-Lander" name for this one. Sakto sa tagalog "Taga-Bundok"

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    5. Grabe naman kayo manglait sa Isuzu. At least yung mga taga bukid o OFW me pangbili ng kotseng mahigit 1 milyon. Baka kayo nag bisikleta lang.

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    6. Toyota Kluger, Kluger meaning Hi-lander also, small brain spoted. lol

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    7. Eto yung sasakyan na puro stick-on chrome,decals at led add-ons. Pag baba driber naka cargo shorts na puruntong fit, leather sandals with basketball sando. Complimemted with makapal na kwintas, ring at gold na rado..hahaha

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    8. LOL. Tumpak! Yan yung mga biglang yaman. You really can't buy class. Once mahirap always mahirap.

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    9. I am OFW but i dont buy Isuzu, i dont have also gold watches and jewelry. i have 2 Honda city 2006 and 2010 model we're using them for school in ADDU, one 2016 wildtrak ranger and my wife using it for our business. So what OFW can buy all of that, my job is in US as interior designer. nakakatawa mga comment nyo.

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    10. Uy interior designer daw... Confiiiiirmed!

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    11. Na hurt cya..nag yabang tuloy..hahaha. typical ofw attitude.

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    12. masyado kasi kayo mayabang. di nyo naranasan magtrabaho sa ibang bansa. yung ibang maka comment kala mo self made. eh sponsored pa rin naman ng parents or di kaya hulugan yang sasakyan mo. mga kakilala kong mayayaman sobrang humble. kaya wag nyo pintasan mga OFW.

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    13. SO, wtf about interior designer, i have 2 license architect and interior.

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    14. 2 license daw baka nagbayad ka lang sa PRC para makapasa.lol

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  2. Off topic:
    I already have the Mazda 3 2.0 2017 and I'm choosing a car for my sister, my choices are the Volkswagen Jetta Business Edition and the Civic 1.8E. The Jetta is slightly more expensive but it is a diesel and has leather seats and a sunroof which are a plus. However, I'm concerned about the Jetta's age because the current generation had been around since 2011 and the new one is about to debut next month in the US. The Civic is newer but it is gasoline and has lesser equipment than the Jetta. What do you guys think?

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    1. Jetta! I think they had a promo on the outgoing Jetta diesel and its much cheaper than either the Mazda 3 or the Civic. It feels just as powerful and you will save a whole lot of money using diesel instead of gas.

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    2. ^
      Don't believe this guy. The jetta may be good on paper but it'll give you headaches.

      First of all, VW cars are notoriously unreliable. Just a quick google search will show you how bad they are.

      Second, the jetta uses a dual clutch transmission which is jerky and prone to failure. VW reliability and dual clutch transmission don't go well together.

      Third, parts are hard to find and expensive as hell to replace.

      Fourth, VW's resale value is s*** compared to Honda.

      Will you choose the jetta for minimal fuel savings but will give you a lot of headaches later? It's up to you if you'll use your common sense.

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    3. while VW reliability is impacted by dieselgate, it's still on par with Subaru and Mazda according to JD Power. I don't trust reliability of automatics but I saw a manual Jetta selling for way less than a million. Imagine the power of the diesel in that manual transmission. If I didn't buy an SUV last year I would have bought it. There is such a thing as internet which you can buy parts at a fraction of the price at casa. Earlier models did have DCTs did have problems but this has since been resolved. Civics are a dime a dozen here and as common as a Corolla. You want to stand out a little pick the Jetta but if resale value is your priority you would be a lot better off with a Vios.

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    4. I'll personally check both cars today and will post here my feedback.

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    5. Since reliability and resale value does not seem to worry you, I suggest you check out ford focus sport too. It has a 1.5 turbo engine at less than the price of the civic. May leather seats na and all.

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    6. Yes a lowly Vios coz I know someone who sold a 2015 Civic for P500k while a used 2015 Vios sells for 400-500k. Considering their price brand new of both cars you lose a lot less in resale value if you change cars after a few years down the road.

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    7. I went to both Honda and Volkswagen dealerships and chose the Jetta mainly due to its solid german build quality, equipment and features(comes w/ leatherette, soft touch materials, sunroof, 8 speaker fender sound system, etc) which arent found on the Civic. It also has a very classy vibe compared to the Civic. The Civic's interior is filled with hard plastics and devoid of the features that are found in the Jetta. I didn't feel the revered Honda build quality that every honda fanboy is talking about. The Jetta's build quality is comparable to the Mazda 3 btw but its a diesel and way more classier than the Mazda 3. If people buying the Civic would go to Volkswagen and checkout the Jetta, they would know what I'm talking about. The downside is that they only have a 2 year warranty w/unlimited mileage and the avg annual pms is once a year at 10k php.

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    8. ^at first i really thought you're a buyer and not a salesman, but the last two sentences gave you away. kudos!

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    9. Congratulations! Good luck in the future. Ipon na kayo ng biogesic.

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    10. I'm a buyer, I just included the last two sentences for additional knowledge.

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    11. A 2015 Civic for 500k? He got duped or there's something wrong with the Civic. We'll see about Volkswagen's reliability. This is our first European car and if it is really unreliable, then we'll stick with the Japs. But life is short, I wouldn't want to buy a car that everyone is buying due to resale value and worrying about spare parts while sacrificing your everyday feel and satisfaction with the car.

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    12. Try searching OLX there are a lot of 2015 civics out there if you want want from 500-600k

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    13. Well that's why you have to look at owner's experiences, so that you won't suffer like they did. You don't have to own one to know that it is unreliable unless you've got money to burn in which case, why the hell not, right?

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    14. Civics' resale values are way lower compared to before. Maybe because these newer Thai built Civics are increasingly unreliable

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    15. Its not because the civic is unreliable. Its because it has a bigger engine, consumes more fuel and the demand is low, hence the low resale value. The civic is one of the most reliable cars you can buy. By the way those 500 - 600k civic are the last generation ones, it is definitely not the current ones. The current ones are way more expensive than that.

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    16. Meanwhile Jetta of the same period sell for 900k. There goes those Honda fanboys claims of low resale value for Jetta. Civic pala low resale value and I remembered they cost 1-1.2m brand new in 2015.

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    17. People who buy a second hand vios for that price are idiots. Paying that much for a second hand b segment vehicle.

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    18. I questioned the guys at the Jetta club Philippines and there was only one guy that had a major problem with his Jetta but it was under warranty so there's no problem and he's satisfied overall with the car. All other commentators have positive feedback with the Jetta. This discouragement due to fear of reliability and scarcity of Volkswagen and Mazda alike is the main reason why most people are scared to buy one and are stuck with low quality, overpriced, and inferior Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi vehicles. #Truth

      I had the same experience prior to buying a Mazda 3, all the fears of the battery and the istop failing prematurely and a year later, the car had no problems and I'm very satisfied with the car.

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    19. Its the market price. Vios parts are cheap and they are easy to maintain. Civic part are not as common and are a lot more expensive to maintain

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    20. Those who sell their jetta for 900k probably do not know its market value. Feeling nila premium sasakyan nila. They overrate it. Kaya ganun. Milagro din naman mabenta yun sa ganung presyo.

      Yup. The parts are more expensive to maintain versus the vios. But that applies to all in its segment. Subcompact cars will always be cheaper to maintain than a compact car hence, the higher resale value.

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    21. So you will sacrifice the overall feel just because of cheaper parts? The feel and ride quality of a city over a civic is very different.

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    22. Meanwhile Civic owners are so enamored with theirs that they're willing to sell at less than half of its original price after less than two years of use

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    23. I asked the Jetta club philippines about their ownership experience and 99% are very satisfied. Even the 1% that had a problem is satisfied with the warranty claim.

      Even when my prior buy of the mazda 3, many are discouraging me to buy it because of reliability fears and after one year of ownership there are no problems and I'm satisfied overall though the fuel consumption in heavy city traffic leaves me wanting.
      Btw, the jetta feels above any japanese sedan in terms of the build quality based on first hand experience.

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  3. Just be reminded current jetta is NOT from Germany..

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    1. And honda is made in thailand

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  4. Hi Uly, hope in your full review, you can touch on the cost of ownership and maintenance. Im particularly interested on the DPF, as I heard this is quite expensive to replace... TIA!

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    1. I read a study before that there is not a big disparity in quality of cars made in mexico or the US. Volks and other manufacturers have been making cars in Mexico since the 60s.

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    2. The salesman told me that the parts are from Germany and assembled in Mexico. Explains the high quality materials.

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  6. Spend 250k on another brand and you'll get a badge and fewer equipment

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  7. mahal po ba ang sharkfin antenna?

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  8. Hey fools, this is a MUX thread and there you are highjacking this thread.

    At any rate, Civic RS > Mazda 3 all day.

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    1. That would be true if they priced the RS at around 1.2-1.3m, however, the only advantage of the RS over the Mazda 3 is more interior space and 20hp. Even in it's top trim, the Civic still feels cheap compared to the Mazda 3. It looks very sporty from the exterior especially the white orchid pearl but the interior quality was is so cheap. Clearly overpriced compared to its competitors. Only honda fanboys will deny reality. Currently, the Jetta tdi 2.0 is the best one in terms of quality and practicality. The Mazda 3 is the sportiest and the Civic is in between. Honda is not what it was in the past, they skimped on the quality and value for money.

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  9. The problem with Isuzu is their warranty policy. It sucks!

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  10. I bought a Jetta and I'm very much satisfied with. The hell with your negative reviews on this gem of a car. Just because it's imported you crabs think the maintenance and parts are a headache? Well blow me down 'coz most of the Japanese brands here are assembled in Thailand they're also considered imported.

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  11. Good day sir Uly. We are going to purchase a second vehicle in the coming days. Your input will be highly appreciated.
    We are a family of five adults plus two children. We are choosing between innova g a/t and isuzu mux. The vehicle will be mostly used for city driving and sunday family outings to mall and nearby provinces. Which would you recommend? Sorry to bother you and many thanks. Appreciate your kind input.

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    1. I would recommend the Innova. It's not as sexy as any PPV, but it's just as powerful and even more comfortable. It also has generous ground clearance and isn't too shabby when it comes to floods.

      I would go for a PPV if I need it to tow or if the roads I travel on are extremely rough.

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  12. Isuzu MUX + Nissan Almera = Family Goals

    Yan ang Malupet!

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