DRIVEN: Isuzu mu-X 1.9 Ddi is a new entry model that’s surprisingly capable

Published Aug 11, 2023


By: Colin Windell

Cruising down the highway it was impossible not to notice how quiet things were inside the cabin of the 1.9-litre diesel Isuzu mu-X that has been added to the range as the base version.

The revised mu-X was launched earlier this year – longer, wider and bigger than its predecessor and there was, perhaps, a tinge of expectation that the small diesel engine would not be able to handle the voluminous bodywork without a bit of a struggle.

On the contrary, it is more than up to the task and Kevin Fouche, Department Executive: Product Planning and Programme Management at Isuzu Motors South Africa, says: “Adding a new entry-level 1.9-litre model significantly broadens the appeal of the mu-X. It offers outstanding space, comfort and versatility but is more affordable and with lower running costs.

“This is the first time we’ve offered the mu-X with the 1.9-litre Ddi engine and at this price point. We believe the timing is perfect due to the continued growth of the SUV segment.”

The fuel-sipping achievement of the Isuzu 1.9-litre bakkie making it all the way from Johannesburg to Cape Town on a single tank of fuel has been well documented and it is now the turn of the family-sized mu-X to opt in with an automatic version.

“The competitive pricing makes it an attractive proposition for family-oriented customers making the step up from a sedan, hatchback or bakkie, and we are confident the exceptional fuel economy will be a major drawcard,” adds Fouche.

The 1.9 Ddi engine delivers a power output of 110kW at 3,600 r/min matched to a torque figure of 350Nm available from 1,800 r/min to 2,600 r/min, driving through a six-speed automatic transmission, with a rear differential lock fitted as standard.

Styling mirrors the upgrades made to the rest of the range earlier this year and the specification list is both long and extensive, including privacy glass for the rear windows and dark Magnetite finishes for the radiator grille, front and rear bumpers, front fog lamp bezels, roof rails and side steps.

LED lighting is standard as are Bi-LED headlamps, fog lamps and combination tail lights.

The cabin has dark Magnetite accents to go with the leather trim and the driver’s seat has eight-way power adjustment and four-way adjustment for the front passenger seat.

Standard safety features include Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control, ABS brakes, Brake Override Accelerator (BOA), Hill Start Assist (HAS), Hill Descent Control (HDC), Trailer Sway Control and Cruise Control.

Passengers are protected by driver and front passenger crash bags, front seat side bags, curtain bags and a driver’s knee bag.

Techies will be happy with the 7.0-inch (17.8cm) touchscreen system with integrated Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Wi-Fi, and front and rear USB charging ports.

The Isuzu mu-X is sold with a 5-year/90 000 km service plan, 5-year/120 000 km warranty and roadside assistance, and 5-year/unlimited distance anti-corrosion warranty.

On a short launch drive covering motorway and city roads the onboard computer showed a consumption of 7.2 l/100km and this will no doubt drop quite considerably when on a longer cruise and this too could possibly make the Johannesburg/Cape Town trip on a single tank.

Significantly, the smaller engine did not compromise the ride and, even though it takes a little longer to get to cruising speed, will maintain that with ease and have enough ‘vooma’ to make overtaking moves without dropping down too many cogs.