Isuzu MU-X LS-TMore of what we want
The MU-X has become a popular choice for many Australian families, couples, and retirees over recent years and for good reason. Its 4WD capabilities and 3.5-tonne braked towing capacity make it a go-to option for those seeking an adventure-ready SUV, while its seven-seat versatility makes it ideal for family practicality too. It’s a nicely rounded and well put together multi-function 4WD SUV, well suited to tackling trails, beaches, and all manner of domestic duties.
Since its launch in mid-2021, this 2nd generation MU-X has had a meteoric rise to prominence in a highly competitive market. It’s often the preferred choice for customers wanting a strong robust ute-based 4×4 SUV, as backed by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries report confirming more than 12,000 MU-Xs have taken up residency in family driveways since 2021.
You can read my full in-depth review on the 2nd generation MU-X here as today we’re focusing on what’s new in 2023.
The MU-X continues to strengthen its position in the segment due to its reputation for reliable towing and adventurous capabilities. Only this time it’s even better thanks to several updates, both aesthetic and practical.
If there’s one thing Isuzu does well, it’s listening to their loyal customers and taking on board feedback from past and present owners. This is reflected in enhancements for the 2023 range, that add genuine value and features that owners want and need, rather than cosmetic trickery to refresh an otherwise ailing model.
The 23MY Isuzu MU-X range comes in three distinctive grades: LS-M, LS-U and LS-T, available in either 4×2 or selectable 4×4 configurations.
Under the hood remains Isuzu’s trusty 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine with 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque. Granted, it’s down on competitors’ offerings, but it is coupled to an intuitive 6-speed automatic with grade logic technology that makes sure you are in the correct gear when ascending and descending tough terrain. And if you’re feeling a little sportier, you can take the reins by selecting the Rev-tronic mode for quick sequential shifting.
Or simply sit back and let the auto do all the shifting for you. As the MU-X still has a wonderful, relaxed cruising attitude, perfect for devouring long distances as the tacho spins lazily at 110km/h on the open country road.
However, better calibration for a more responsive throttle when in 2WD mode would be a welcome addition. This isn’t necessarily a gripe, more an observation. Around town the MU-X can give a lethargic impression, requiring a large depress of the right boot to draw its attention to the task at hand, and get a move on. This is a double-edged sword, both good and not so great. In stop start traffic it is annoying, whilst when off-road it’s brilliant for delicate throttle control over challenging terrain. In the MU-X’s favour, granted, you won’t be breaking any records heading away from the traffic lights, but it’s no slouch. If you do sink the boot then it will assertively move through the gears.
Call me picky… but I’d like to be able to tap into those strong power reserves progressively with a more linear delivery, rather than have it all thrown at me in one gush.
Adding to the specs from last year, the base LS-M presents a great option for drivers and families who want a practical interior with easy-to-clean trims. Its bold black trimming highlights its tough but not intimidating look and the new 17-inch alloy wheels and all-terrain rubber make it far more suitable for moderate off-road conditions. Instead of chrome in the rear combination lights of previous models, this version features dark grey accents to fit in with its dark exterior design and giving the LS-M a more purposeful external appearance. Isuzu has provided a range of external colours allowing you to customise your MU-X to suit personal taste.
You can choose between Mineral White, Mercury Silver Metallic, Obsidian Grey Mica, Basalt Black Mica, Magnetic Red Mica and Cobalt Blue Mica for exterior colours.
With the MU-X having a 3.5 tonne braked towing capacity, the LS-U variant is a popular choice for travellers, caravanners, and families because of its combination of convenience, comfort, interior space and value. Sporting smart looking 18-inch dark grey turbine wheels it also features a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) for precision tyre pressure monitoring to help ensure optimal traction and tire life. The LS-U model elevates the exterior design of its predecessor by introducing Magnetite in parts such as the grille, fog light trims, sidewalls, roof rails and the rear bumper. They carry the same shade throughout the cabin, featuring on the dashboard and door trims.
For added practicality, Isuzu has added a hands-free tailgate system which can be opened by stepping towards it when carrying something heavy. The tailgate can also be closed using either a button on the dashboard, tailgate, or smart key. There are also two additional colour options available in the LS-U configuration, including the swanky Moonstone White Pearl and the new, rather stunning, Galaxy Blue Mica.
At the top, the flagship LS-T remains an exceptional combination of luxury and bold styling.
An updated piano black and leather interior is complemented by its stylish exterior, made even more distinct with additional Magnetite detailing on the lower front bumper, and all new 20-inch machined two-tone alloy wheels covered in 265/50R20 Bridgestone rubber.
With our test vehicle turning heads thanks to its gorgeous Galaxy Blue Mica paint job.
Safety is still high on the MU-X’s priority list. With more stringent testing requirements introduced in 2022 further raising the standards and making it even harder to achieve a five-star rating. Isuzu’s Intelligent Driver Assistance System (IDAS) technology, incorporating both passive and active safety systems, plus eight airbags and a centre airbag to protect front seat occupants in a side on crash, has enabled the MU-X to achieve the very latest 5-Star ANCAP rating.
And, to give credit where due… kudos to Isuzu for making these impressive levels of safety a standard feature in every MU-X variant. Other brands should take notice – making consumers pay more for the privilege of additional safety features only offered in higher spec variants isn’t playing nice!
How much you are going to outlay will depend on your personal preference for levels of luxury fit and finish, because the foundational underpinnings are the same in each variant making the base Isuzu a particularly good value proposition when focusing on performance, reliability and safety. Indicatively, in our state of WA, the drive away pricing for the MU-X range at the time of writing this article is as follows:
- MU-X LS-M 4×2 – $54,970
- MU-X LS-U 4×2 – $61,970
- MU-X LS-T 4×2 – $68,387
- MU-X LS-M 4×4 – $61,464
- MU-X LS-U 4×4 – $68,387
- MU-X LS-T 4×4 – $74,803
The 2023 updates for the Isuzu MU-X range have sharpened its exterior good looks and enhanced the visual appeal of its already spacious and practical interior.
For me, it’s what hasn’t changed which continues to make this vehicle so appealing to a very broad demographic.
This new updated MU-X remains as confident and capable as before, more than ready and well suited to deal with daily family duties, pulling the boat, trailer or caravan, or perhaps heading down that more adventurous trail to a secluded camping spot for a special weekend getaway.
Reliability and practicality with solid off-road performance and impressive long-distance touring credentials are at the core of Isuzu’s DNA and reputation, and the MU-X and D-MAX have earned a loyal following for those very reasons. This is a vehicle with the build quality and tenacity to withstand whatever life throws your way, good or bad! Why can I say that with such confidence, well I’ve seen and experienced first-hand what the iVenture instructors will put their demonstration vehicles through time and time again to demonstrate to MU-X owners just how rugged, dependable and well-built are their new toys!
Model: Isuzu MUX LS-T
- Price: $74,803
- Engine: 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel
- Output: 140kW/450Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Fuel: 8.3L/100km
- Safety rating: ANCAP 5 Stars
About our Motoring Editor: Ray has been passionate about all things automotive since he first started collecting Matchbox and Hot Wheels models when he was five. Since leaving his executive role at General Motors (GM), he’s been sharing his driving experiences with Australian audiences for nearly 20 years, commencing his automotive journalist career with a popular WA-based magazine and was writing his own column in The West Australian for 8 years.
Ray’s strong love of automotive engineering and clever design has seen his articles and photography featured in prominent national magazines in Australia and the UK. He loves sharing his passion with other drivers, including via a long running stint as Senior Instructor for Land Rover Experience, providing training and education for new vehicle owners.
Recently Ray has been presenting on TV shows including Ready for Adventure and the very popular Caravan and Camping WA, to showcase some of the great products, vehicles and companies that make getting out and exploring Western Australia that much more enjoyable.