Front view of the MU-X
Rear view

IF you want to carry seven passengers, but want the toughness and off-road capability of an Isuzu pickup truck, the MU-X is the way to go.

Isuzu Malaysia recently launched the special edition of its seven seater MU-X, dubbed the Type-S, an SUV that has the underpinnings derived from its brothers in the D-Max range.

It almost fooled me! At a glance, I thought it was a pick-up truck. From the front, especially, it has the muscular outline of a pick-up truck.

But take it for a spin and you’ll see the SUV in the MU-X even before you could get out of the parking lot.

The Type-S gets several enhancements from the addition of body-coloured front and rear skirting, a rear bumper garnish, shark fin antenna, 17-inch alloys (with 255/65 tyres) and “Type S” badging

The special edition model also gets an expanded equipment list, with fancy items like keyless operation, an 8-inch touchscreen multimedia unit, new e-Lumax display, ivory-coloured leather seat upholstery and armrest, along with piano black dashboard and air-con vent trim thrown in for good measure.

The D-Max-based SUV also adds hill start assist on top of standard items such as ABS, EBD, brake assist, dual front airbags, ESC, and traction control.

I spent a few days driving the 2.5L 4◊4 Auto and even took the opportunity to take the SUV out on an all-girls day trip to Port Dickson for some beach, sun and seafood.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Isuzu. Would it feel more like a pick-up truck since that’s where the basis of the SUV came from?

The MU-X turned out to be extremely comfortable. The four of us had so much space. One of my friends could even use her laptop during the drive without suffering from motion sickness. That proves how comfortable the SUV is.

The MU-X excelled on the highway. Speed and comfort aside, it is as user-friendly as a vehicle can be. I certainly had no problem handling the monstrous SUV without having to read up the “starter kit”. The girls only had good things to say about the Isuzu, or they were just grateful to be able to see the sea again. Or both.

The VGS Turbo Intercooler Diesel engine is responsive though I could not help but notice the growl from the engine.

Every time I stepped on the throttle, it could get a little noisy, especially if you are the aggressive type at the wheels.

There is no shortage of hi-tech wizardry and gizmos inside the cabin. The Isuzu MU-X utilises comprehensive crash avoidance electronics including 4-channel 4-sensor Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Traction Control System (TCS). Just to name a few.

Back to the road trip, impulse drove me to take the SUV to a semi off-road route that led us to the beach. As promised, the Isuzu MU-X handled the cobblestones, gravels and sandy surface effortlessly with the 4WD Terrain Command system. The MU-X is balanced by the 5-link suspension with coil springs and stabilizer to drive on any terrain.

We experienced very little vibrations throughout the journey. At higher speeds that tend to make some pick-up trucks rattle, my view in the rear mirror of the Isuzu MU-X was clear. Personally, that’s a big plus point for me. Girls get very annoyed when the rearview mirror is blurry. It is also dangerous.

One slight downside is the laboured feel on the steering wheel when you drive at slow speeds or as you are navigating switchbacks and tight spaces.

The Type-S is priced at RM176, 640.41 (on-the- road without insurance) comes with a five-year warranty but with unlimited mileage. It is is available in four colour options which are - Splash

White, Titanium Silver, Cosmic Black and Uluru Brown.

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