Isuzu MU-X 4X4 LS-T: Tow Test

By: Tim van Duyl, Photography by: Graeme Neander


We test out the Isuzu MU-X 4X4 LS-T offroad and see what it's all about.

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Resplendent in Havana brown and towing the X-Country was the Isuzu MU-X 4X4 LS-T. Based on the popular 4X4 D-MAX ute, it has the same driveline consisting of a 3.0L four-cylinder intercooled turbodiesel and six-speed automatic, dual range gearbox. Where it differs, aside from looks, is the rear suspension, which features a multi-link arrangement with coils as opposed to the leaf springs of the ute. The wheelbase is also shorter, noticeable where the rear wheel arch cuts into the rear doors more than the ute. The outcome of these differences is a reduced max tow capacity of 3000kg (down from the ute’s 3500kg), a tighter turning circle and a softer, quieter ride. A great compromise in my opinion.

In the back hide a pair of jump seats (perfect for children) bringing capacity to seven. They can be left down which allows for a massive boot hiding plenty of storage, even some designed for wet gear (great for surfers or dog owners coming from the beach).

The combo towed well, though some setup issues (a low towball) meant balance was out causing minor sway at higher speeds. No need to stress, though, as a reduction in speed negated the issue and the safety net of electronic stability control was ever present, though not needed.

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Power-wise it has enough (130kW), and an impressive 430nm of torque, though the towed weight of around 2700kg of our loaded X-Country was at the top end of where I felt the pair were comfortable. Looking at capacities, the MU-X’s payload of 640kg will take a hit if you add the maximum towball weight (300kg) plus a lot of gear so check before heading off. For us, our low TBW of 115kg left us plenty of capacity in the car.

Fuel consumption impressed with as little as 16L per 100km at a constant cruise on the flats to mid-20s when running through rolling hills, Mossman in tow. In town, sans caravan and for the limited time I could check, the MU-X impressed even more. At a constant load at freeway speeds, I saw consumption hovering around 7L/100km.

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The MU-X scored a 5-star ANCAP rating, the highest possible. This was thanks to modern tech including electronic stability control, brake distribution, six airbags, LED daytime running lights and more but the tech isn’t limited to safety. Hill Descent Control as well Hill Start Control make life a lot easier should you venture into the great unknown.

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Looks-wise, our LS-T spec featured a deep metallic brown known as Havana which shone bright in the sun and was complemented by chrome accents all-round. Inside were leather-clad seats set nice and high for a good view over the bonnet. The 8in touchscreen with navigation and Bluetooth was easy to use and handy when planning our route.

Right now Isuzu is having somewhat of a resurgence in popularity, no doubt thanks to the efficient engine but also from the after-sales service. A five-year warranty is impressive for proper offroader as is capped price servicing and roadside assist, both for the same five years.

HITS AND MISSES

Pros...

  • Great fuel consumption
  • Comfortable driving position
  • Tight turning circle

Cons...

  • Noisy engine at idle
  • Low towball height

Weights and measures

  • Tare 2110kg
  • GVM 2750kg
  • GCM 5750kg
  • Max TBM 300kg
  • Towing capacity 3000kg
  • Turning circle 11.6m
  • Engine 3L four-cylinder turbodiesel
  • Power 130kW
  • Torque 430Nm
  • 4WD system Selectable hi-low
  • Suspension Independent double wishbone coil (front); multi-link live axle leaf (rear)
  • Brakes Disc (front) disc (rear)
  • Seats 7 (2/3/2)
  • Wheel/tyre 18in alloy
  • Style SUV
  • Aftercare Five-year warranty; five-year roadside assist; five-year capped price servicing

Price as shown

$56,100 +ORC (from $52,990 +ORC)

The full tow test appears in Caravan World #572. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!