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Isuzu MU-X

Fuel efficiency Ancap rating
$48,900–$67,400 7.8–8.3 L/100km 5

The original Isuzu MU-X was released back in 2013 as a 7-seater ute-based wagon.

Just like its sibling, the Isuzu D-Max, an upgraded all-new MU-X wagon was heavily revised and released to the Australian market back in August 2021.

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2023 Isuzu Media Drive Experience MU X LS T Galaxy Blue Beach Cutting 7

2023 Isuzu MU-X review: Australian First drive

Isuzu’s MU-X seven-seater gets a spruce up for 2023, off the back of customer feedback, but pricing remains the same

21 Dec 2022

Isuzu has seen record sales with its popular second-generation MU-X but, now in a neck-and-neck battle with Ford’s new Everest, it’s time for a 2023 model update.

While the Everest and MU-X duke it out, with less than 100 sales separating them in November, the top two contenders have both beaten the eternally popular Toyota Prado.

Customers are seeing the Isuzu wagon as a value proposition that is hard to beat, and sales numbers tell the story, with more than 12,000 MU-X models reaching Aussie customers since the latest generation launched in August of 2021.

For 2023 Isuzu has kept changes to a minimum, although pricing remains the same and any outstanding orders are being upgraded to the new models.

The update amounts to minor visual tweaks, with some additional tech, but given the model is less than 18 months old, that’s to be expected.

Visually, the 2023 model gets an updated grille and darker design aesthetic front to back, with a ‘magnetite’ grey finish used on side skirts, grille, lower front bar, roof rails and light surrounds.

A lot of the chrome and brushed aluminium look exterior trim has been ‘blacked out’ and it does make for a more dominant appearance.

All models score new wheels, and a fresh Galaxy Blue colour option is available, to round out the visual changes.

The most practical of the changes, for owners who tow, is the blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert ‘auto off’ feature. The vehicle will detect when a trailer is hitched and turn off the safety systems, which are redundant when towing.

Across the three MU-X models, being the LS-M, LS-U and LS-T in order of trim grade, the changes for 2023 do differ slightly.

The LS-M naturally scores the most conservative makeover, but the higher grade LS-U and top spec LS-T get useful additions comprising tyre pressure monitoring system and a hands-free tailgate.


How much is it, and what do you get?

Pricing remains unchanged across 4x2 and 4x4 MU-X models and the new models are available from this month. The flagship LS-T 4x4 retains its $65,990 special drive-away price, while the rest of the range retains its standard pricing (excluding on-road costs).

All models are still powered by Isuzu’s revered 3.0-litre turbo-diesel, producing 140kW/450Nm, with a six-speed automatic transmission. The 4x2 versions are rear-wheel drive and the 4x4s have a part-time four-wheel-drive system.

The simplicity of the MU-X driveline, shared with the D-Max ute, is well suited to off-roaders and those wanting a proven package that won’t break.

A full 3500kg braked towing capacity is still on offer and the auto-off safety system function when towing should improve usability further; Isuzu claims around half of its customers tow.

Bi-LED headlights with LED daytime running lights remain, featuring auto-levelling and automatic high beam control, as well as LED combination taillights.

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2023 Isuzu MU-X: Interior comfort, space and storage

The MU-X is the most luxurious car Isuzu makes, but it would be unfair to compare it to road-biased SUV competitors like the Toyota Kluger.

It’s nicer inside than any adventure vehicle needs to be, and for around-town use or family duties, it strikes the right mix of hardy and premium.

A combination of leather, piano black plastics and silver trim fill the MU-X cabin, and the seats are wonderfully comfortable.

You get 12 drink holders and more storage than you’ll ever find a way to use, which sets the MU-X apart from other ute-based wagons.

It’s the cargo space, with the seats down, that really makes the MU-X a practical wagon. You’ve only got 311 litres to work with if all seats are in action but fold the third row down and that number jumps to 1119 litres. Fold them all down, and the MU-X has 2138 litres of storage behind the front seats.

For perspective, that’s a few hundred more litres of storage than you get in a Toyota Prado.

Being a seven-seater, many will opt for passengers rather than folding seats down, at which point the second row offers plenty of legroom and adjustment. The third row is expectedly cramped, as many seven-seaters are, but suitable for kids or adults willing to squeeze in.

The new hands-free tailgate requires the driver to walk towards the tailgate, with the key on them, before taking a step back. It felt a bit finicky, compared to simpler ‘leg swipe’ options.

A 9.0-inch infotainment display for LS-U and LS-T grades, and 7.0-inch for the LS-M, offer wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, sat-nav, DAB+ digital radio and eight-speaker surround sound (four speakers for the LS-M).

Every variant gets three 2.4A USB ports and two 12-volt/120-Watt accessory sockets, clearly geared at adventurers who want to run a fridge or compressor.

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What is the 2023 MU-X like to drive?

The MU-X is undoubtedly more comfortable than its D-Max architecture sibling, and much of that is due to its coil-sprung rear.

A five-link coil-sprung rear and slightly shorter wheelbase mean the MU-X handles well, all things considered, offering a compliant ride on- and off-road.

Its towering wagon stature becomes apparent in corners, but I doubt that comes as a surprise. Isuzu stiffened the spring rates and added a thicker anti-roll bar for this generation of MU-X and it’s clearly helped with body roll.

Steering is something Isuzu nailed in both the MU-X and D-Max, with an electric system that just works. It doesn’t feel like it’s making adjustments, but it’s always weighted just right.

The 3.0-litre turbo-diesel feels more than adequate as it propels this two-plus-tonne wagon, but it does run out of puff if you drive it like a petrol SUV.

Preferring to be encouraged with a steady throttle, this engine has one of the best torque spreads of any diesel on the market. It’s also on the noisy side if you start wringing its neck.

Although not the lightest sipping engine out, we loved using the ever-present torque to mosey on up hills and through soft sand on the beach. That’s a luxury that tends to come with displacement.

The second day of testing involved trying to outrun a storm homing in on us at Double Island Point, north of Noosa in Queensland. The MU-X is loads of fun on sand, and the 4x4 system is a winner.

It does have a rear diff lock, but the only time we’ve needed to use it on an MU-X in the past was when we had already explored the clearance limits. For beach work, it’ll charge through nearly anything in 4H.

This is a fun vehicle off-road, yet it is composed on-road and there really aren’t many compromises. The MU-X is a reminder of how far ute-based wagons have come.

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2023 MU-X: Fuel consumption

The LS-Ts on the launch program all saw two days of pretty unsympathetic driving, on- and off-road, with a mix of speeds.

At the end, our car had averaged 9.6L/100km, which is impressive given we’d just finished having (too much) fun on the beach. Highway driving the day before likely pulled this average down.

With an 80-litre tank, and averaging 9.6L/100km, you’ll be up over 800km of range before needing to visit a fuel bowser. If you can achieve the official combined-cycle rating of 7.9L/100km you'd get even further.

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How safe is it?

The MU-X line-up has a full five-star ANCAP safety rating, and was re-tested recently.

Eight airbags plus a suite of active safety and driver assist tech go a long way to making the MU-X a safe family wagon.

The so-called IDAS suite includes auto emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, rear-cross traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning and emergency lane keeping.

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Warranty and running costs

All Isuzu vehicles get the manufacturer’s ‘Service Plus 6-7-7’ aftercare package, made up of a six-year/150,000km warranty plus capped-price servicing and roadside assist for seven years.

Service time comes around every 15,000km or 12 months, and capped-price servicing is offered for the first 105,000km.

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It’s hard to think of a better 4x4 seven-seater for the money

Isuzu rightfully dominated the ute-based wagon segment with the latest generation MU-X, but are subtle improvements enough to fend off the new Ford Everest? Ultimately, it might not matter. The MU-X is cheaper, simpler, and has a formidable reputation for being dependable.

With a drive-away price of $65,990 for the top-spec model, it’s hard to think of a better 4x4 seven-seater for the money – even if it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the Ford.

The MU-X is an incredibly competent off-road tourer, while also being capable of handling family car duties. It isn’t a frontrunner by mistake.

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2023 Isuzu MU-X specifications

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Score breakdown
Safety, value and features
Comfort and space
Engine and gearbox
Ride and handling

Things we like

  • Loads of luggage space
  • Pricing the same, despite upgrades to ’23 model
  • New colours add premium feel
  • Full 3500kg braked towing capacity

Not so much

  • Wireless charging not standard
  • 20-inch alloys not ideal for off-road / adventure use
  • Power tailgate wasn’t as simple as other systems

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Isuzu MU-X ranges in price from $48,900* for the 3.0 LS-M 2WD Auto, and $67,400* for the 3.0 LS-T 4WD Auto

*Pricing excludes stamp duty, other government charges and options. Prices subject to change.

The Isuzu MU-X was built in Thailand.

The Isuzu MU-X has a 5 ANCAP crash safety rating.

The Isuzu MU-X is available in diesel fuel types.

The Isuzu MU-X has 5 doors.

The Isuzu MU-X comes with a boot size of 311 litres.

About the Isuzu MU-X

The original Isuzu MU-X was released back in 2013 as a 7-seater ute-based wagon.

Just like its sibling, the Isuzu D-Max, an upgraded all-new MU-X wagon was heavily revised and released to the Australian market back in August 2021.

Notable upgrades for the new generation Isuzu MU-X include a rear differential lock, and the inclusion of the 4JJ3-TCX turbo diesel engine, just like the Isuzu D-MAX, producing 450Nm and 140kW. No manual gearbox is currently offered.

Further enhancing the off-road performance of the latest Isuzu MU-X is the addition of Rough Terrain Mode, a more aggressive traction control calibration designed for off-road use, and simply activated by a push button on the centre console.