When you sell only two models, the success of one or the other is crucial.
That’s the scenario facing Isuzu Ute, with the launch of its all-new MU-X 7-seat 4×4 wagon.
MU-X is based on the D-Max ute, an all-new version of which hit the market late last year.
The latest ute has struck a chord with buyers because it’s now one of the top 10 selling cars in Australia.
Naturally, Isuzu hopes the wagon will enjoy the same kind of success.
But car buyers are a notoriously fickle mob and the company will need to keep a lid on prices to ensure success.
Of course Isuzu also manufactures and sells trucks, light commercials and diesel engines, but the passenger car business is a separate operation.
All-new MU-X is priced from $47,900 plus on-roads, which gets you the entry level 4×2 LS-M with a 6-speed auto.
If you plan on taking the wagon off road and the evidence suggests many owners do, then the same vehicle with 4×4 will set you back $53,900 — a hefty $6000 more.
To help move things along, Isuzu is offering the top the range LS-T for an introductory price of $63,990 driveaway — it’s normally $65,900 plus on-roads.
New MU-X is powered by a re-engineered version of the tried and tested 3.0-litre turbo diesel from the previous model, with 140kW of power and 450Nm if torque — together with a new 6-speed auto transmission as standard (there’s no manual).
Regardless of whether you opt for the 4×2 or 4×4 version, both can tow a segment-best 3500kg braked load.
The 4×4, however, uses a little more fuel at 8.3L/100km versus 7.8L/100km for 4×2 models.
Since launch in 2013, MU-X has built a reputation as a spacious, versatile and dependable multi-purpose seven-seat SUV.
There’s three grades from which to choose: LS-M, LS-U and LS-T.
The ute has achieved a maximum five-star safety rating and MU-X comes with the same safety package, including eight airbags.
Isuzu is also among the first to introduce Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Turn Assist, with the system able to autonomously brake at intersections to avoid driving into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
The Intelligent Driver Assistance System (IDAS) uses radar and binocular style cameras that precisely detect and measure distance, size, velocity and depth of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other potential obstacles.
The system incorporates Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and Emergency Lane Keeping (ELK).
Isuzu UTE Australia’s Managing Director, Hiroyasu Sato said the Australian market is key for Isuzu globally and with the importance of Australian customer feedback comes an exclusive high-level of specification.
“Australia is a very competitive new-vehicle market and I’m proud to say that the Australian-spec All-New MU-X was designed with the feedback from Australian motorists,: he said.
“After all, Australia is the world’s largest market for the MU-X outside of Thailand, and with the significant importance of Aussie customers we’ve been able to specify our MU-X to better suit their exact and unique requirements.”
MU-X is covered by a 6-year/150,000km warranty, with 7-year capped priced service and roadside assistance.
Standard spec includes:
Isuzu’s Intelligent Driver Assistance System (IDAS)