2 photos
Isuzu MU-X Series I 4WD 3.0L Diesel LS-U

Isuzu MU-X Series I 4WD 3.0L Diesel LS-U (2013-2016)

4.3 from 26 reviews · View Statistics
See the Best Large / 7 Seater SUVs in 2022 as rated by Australians on ProductReview.com.au.
Brand Manager for Isuzu? Register now and take advantage of ProductReview's Brand Management Platform!

Expert Review

Youtube Video Thumbnail
3.3 out of 5 stars

Introduction

On a street near you, you’re most likely to spot an MU-X - for good reason too, as it’s one of the most popular 4x4 capable 7-seaters on the market.

Isuzu has a long standing history in the truck and ute market, but it more recently cracked the SUV market with a D-MAX derived 7-seater.

This 4x4 SUV is built on the same chassis, but is engineered to make it more family-oriented. Of course, the MU-X is built with off-roading in mind, as it retains and slightly improves the four wheel drive capability of the ute it's based off.

Because there’s a brand new MU-X for 2021/22 that’s arriving in the coming months, I took out the last of the existing generation to ask: should you buy this generation of MU-X, or should you wait for the new one?


Build Quality

4.2 out of 5.

Isuzu rear decklid

If you’re looking for luxury materials, you’ll have to shop elsewhere.

The MU-X is utilitarian with a capital U. First and foremost, it's an off-roader, and then it's a family SUV. This means it has a tough exterior to last against the elements and a robust interior to weather against dirt, dust and kids.

Externally, the MU-X has a similar build quality to the D-MAX, so it's definitely going to stand the test of time running across both tarmac and mud ruts.

For added longevity, there are factory bash plates fitted underneath the MU-X that protect some of its vitals when you manage to drive over larger obstacles.

Internally, the materials used are fairly basic. Cloth seats, hard plastic trim and even the touch screen all avoid feeling delicate, and instead give drivers confidence that these features will also last despite being kicked and scuffed.

Value for Money

3 out of 5.

Isuzu MUX grill

This isn’t the strong suit for the last of this generation’s MU-X. The model I had was the MU-X in LS-U 4x4 trim, which is priced from $58,302 drive-away.

There are many competitors on the market that offer a similar value proposition, but do a better job at justifying their comparable price tag - take for example the new Toyota Fortuner.

I’m expecting the MU-X to make waves when it lands, and hopefully make it extremely competitive again. However, in 2021, this MU-X model is hard to justify for many considering this a family-oriented SUV.

This MU-X is missing out on key bits of safety equipment and technology which are now standard on cars that are $20,000 cheaper than this. Blind spot monitoring and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are key omissions that make daily driving a little less enjoyable.

Similar to track-focused cars like the Lotus, the MU-X has fantastic off-road capabilities and enough equipment to get that job done. It’s just up to you if you value buying an Isuzu over the current crop of competition before the new one rolls onto showroom floors.

Cleaning and Maintenance

4.5 out of 5.

Isuzu on dirt track

Thanks to the ground clearance of the MU-X, it’s easy to clean out any stubborn dirt or mud stuck to its underside. Additionally, the side steps let you get a better view of the roof, just in case some mud or dirt has accumulated there as well.

As for maintaining this SUV, the MUX comes with a 6 year/150,000km warranty which will cover you for most of your ownership.

Isuzu also covers capped price servicing for up to 7 years, helping bring additional peace of mind if you plan on buying an MU-X that’s a few years old

Noise Level

3.5 out of 5.

Isuzu cabin looking outwards

There’s no hiding that the MU-X is based on the D-MAX, as you’re going to hear that diesel motor bleed into the cabin like you would on a working ute.

Unfortunately for those who prefer a quieter ride around town, under acceleration, the 3.0L diesel four-cylinder makes itself known to all the occupants. More so than other diesel motors, the engine sound bleeds into the cabin is quite noticeable. It’s not a deafening sound, but it’s going to come at a slight shock for those used to riding in quieter diesels.

Once you’re up to a consistent speed, the four-cylinder audibly settles and you’re greeted with the benefits of a diesel engine whilst out on the open road. Revs drop, and the cabin of the MU-X becomes a whole lot more relaxed.

The audio system in the MU-X isn’t disappointing despite its age. There’s a ‘surround sound’ feature in the form of downward-facing speakers placed on the roof, providing a richer sound, especially for the front passengers.

Despite lacking Apple CarPlay, I found listening to podcasts and music in the MU-X to be more upmarket for what I was expecting. However, there are some shortcomings in the overall audio quality in the form of a slight amount of distortion.

Braking

3.7 out of 5.

Isuzu wheels and tires

There are four-disc brakes on all four wheels.

I’m a firm believer that road-focused 4x4s should have disc brakes all-around rather than drums on the rear wheels. This is because you’re more likely to be towing and carrying less than the lower-trims would be. Despite not having disc brakes, you can still tow up to 3 tonnes braked!

Braking in the MU-X was excellent for a two-tonne SUV, with a relatively progressive pedal feel enabling you to drive smoothly and come to a stop with relative precision.

The only issues are the weight and height of the MU-X, which becomes apparent when you dig deeper into that brake pedal. Be careful of any loose containers as the MU-X will pitch whatever they’re carrying forwards if you brake hard enough.

Acceleration/Power

3.8 out of 5.

Isuzu MUX engine

Unlike the current D-MAX, the MU-X is carrying the older version of Isuzu’s 3.0L diesel motor.

In this generation, the MU-X is dealing with 130kW @ 3600rpm and 430Nm @ 2000-2200rpm.

Notice just how low in the rev range peak torque is generated, aiding in the off-road capability of this 7-seater.

Off the mark, the MU-X certainly picks up the pace. Although a 0-100km/h figure would land in the realm of nearing 10 seconds, the real-world performance of this motor never leaves you feeling like this SUV is underpowered.

Instead, the MU-X is able to comfortably move around town without the need to be buried in the accelerator pedal. On the highway, you won’t be left behind as overtaking is effortless thanks to all that torque.

When you’re out in the stickier stuff, the MU-X in low-range 4x4 mode provides confidence that you’ll make it out alive.

With what feels like a precise delivery of power, the MU-X never slips or faults when putting its power to the dirt. I was met with impressive power-delivery which only encouraged me to find more difficult terrain to put this SUV through.

Gear Shifting

3.7 out of 5.

Isuzu interior

Isuzu proves that you don’t need 9 speeds in your family SUV.

The 6-speed transmission used in the MU-X is able to seamlessly shift, even at low speeds, without ever feeling strained. My only complaint is the speed at which it shifts, which can feel a little slow. Oh, and don’t get me started on manual shifting out on the road...it’s best to leave this for holding gears when off-roading.

Suspension & Handling

3 out of 5.

Isuzu offroad suspension

Built on the D-MAX’s ladder frame chassis, but without the leaf-spring suspension, the MU-X struggles to soak up bumps as you’d expect from a 7-seater family car.

It’s apparent the MU-X can’t shake the fact that it’s a dedicated off-roader, as this suspension setup seems to give you too much feedback across tarmac. If you cross enough bumps and potholes, it seems to really upset the ride of the MU-X and can cause passengers to complain about the ride of the car.

On smoother sections of road, the MU-X settles and can glide across most highways with ease. When you start to hit corners, you’re met with the surprise that the MU-X can handle turns relatively well; a pleasant trade-off for those around-town jitters. As quickly as you’re impressed with how this SUV can prevent itself from sinking too much in the corners, it's dampened by the slow steering ratio.

This slow ratio keeps you busy and shuffling your hands as soon as a corner progresses into anything sharper than 100 degrees.

The suspension and handling make the most sense off-road. The MU-X is still busy over uneven surfaces, but it’s solid grip and added protection underneath the car provided confidence that the 4x4 wouldn’t bottom out across deeper ruts.

Fuel Efficiency

3.9 out of 5.

Isuzu Guages

There’s a 65L tank on board, and it’ll cost you just around $90 to fill from empty.

Claimed total fuel consumption is 8.3L/100km.

The MU-X didn’t have an onboard L/100km computer, instead it spat out km per litre of fuel, converting my average meant I was closer to 10L/100km.

Interior Design

2.8 out of 5.

Isuzu steering wheel

This is a utilitarian SUV.

The inside of the MU-X offers no luxury extras.. It’s about simply offering you everything you need, not everything you might want.

The touch-screen looks like it was taken from 2011, as it has basic navigation and media utility, and of-course a glaring omission of any options for phone mirroring. There’s bluetooth available at least, but it makes changing playlists or podcasts a little more difficult.

There are basic analogue gauges, easy to use climate controls, and a shifter anyone could operate.

The car has a vast amount of storage options in the cabin too, from the middle of the dashboard, through to the dual-glove box configuration.

There’s also no shortage of places to source electricity from, with USB and 12V sockets littered throughout the cabin, and covered in rubber flaps that prevent dust entering these ports.

The mid-row seats have plenty of room for adults, and are able to recline and slide forwards for additional cargo space, or leg room for the third-row.

For the family holiday, it makes for a roomy and easy to use interior without the stress of having to preserve delicate leather or avoid getting crumbs caught in some expensive carpet.

Boot Size & Comfort

4.1 out of 5.

Isuzu boot

The MU-X makes do with a minimum boot space of 235L (with the middle row up) and a maximum of 1830L with all seats stowed away.

The manual operation of the boot in the MU-X is normally passable on a car like this, however due to the height that this tailgate opens to, children who can’t reach the boot will need you to exit the vehicle to close it.

There’s a thoughtful ‘tuck and fold’ design with the middle row, which helps expand the total usable interior space of the MU-X - enough to place several push bikes in without needing to remove front wheels.

Although it’s not a gargantuan amount of space like you’d find in say a Kia Sorento, the boxy design makes the most of the space it provides you.

Isuzu boot seats all folded up

There’s a compartmentalised storage box located at the entrance of the boot that can be removed. This is an ideal space to stow dirty or loose items that you don’t want flying around the boot.

As mentioned, the Isuzu is able to settle out on the open road with relative ease, however I found myself missing the ability to engage radar cruise control like I could on the new D-MAX. You can simply make do with the standard cruise control on this car, or easily coast along as you feather the throttle and brakes yourself.

There’s limited safety features here, with the only stand outs being the reversing camera. Compared to more modern vehicles, it’s certainly not as relaxing to cruise around town knowing you’re missing features like active lane-keep assist or rear-cross traffic alert. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alerts, you’ll have to find a car already with this ‘option’ fitted.

Isuzu storage box

I had the pleasure of transporting my car-sick prone partner on an extended drive in the MU-X who found that even when sitting in the front passenger seat, the MU-X made her feel ill on winding sections of road compared to other vehicles. Something to note for those with friends or family cursed with motion sickness.

Middle-row comfort is exceptional compared to the dual-cab alternative. You have wider doors to enter in and out of, and greater ability to recline these seats. There’s also a separate control for the rear aircon, helping keep the rear occupants comfortable.

Isuzu middle row

Third row seating is a little tight for adults. At 5 foot 11 inches in height, I’m able to fold myself in the third row. However, I’m not raising my hand to sit back there for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Features

3 out of 5.

Isuzu bash-plate

Although limited in creature comforts and safety equipment, the MU-X has plenty of off-road kit and hardware.

Here’s what you get when you buy a Isuzu MU-X LS-U:

Engine

  • 3.0L Turbo-Diesel 4-cylinder motor
  • 130kW @ 3600rpm and 430Nm @ 2000-2200rpm.

Infotainment

  • 10" screen
  • Sat-Nav
  • Bluetooth
  • Touch-screen
  • USB Connectivity
  • CD Player

Safety

  • Reversing Camera and Sensors
  • Trailor Sway Control
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Hill Decent Control

Performance

  • Total towing capacity of 3T
  • Under-body bash plates
  • 4x2,4x4 and 4x4 low drive train settings

Convenience

  • 7 seats
  • Storage container in boot
  • Cruise control
  • Second row A/C controls

Should you buy one?

Isuzu uphill

If you’re looking for a car that will be an off-road performer at its core, it’ll be hard to move past some of the deals that will be presented on the current generation as soon as the new MU-X arrives. There is enough here to make most people happy if they’re keen on offroading frequently and plan on making modifications to enhance the capability of the MU-X.

However, if you’re primarily looking at purchasing an MU-X for daily use in the suburbs with the occasional trip off-road, I’d certainly wait for the new MU-X.

After testing the new D-MAX, I have to say, everything I’ve complained about here should be addressed and improved. From safety equipment and technology through to engineered improvements both off and on road - the new MU-X hopefully should be a contender for best in class.

I’m quite looking forward to reviewing the MU-X and providing a verdict on a car that feels like it should have been here 1 year sooner (barring current global circumstances).

CameronPicture

About the author
Cameron is your typical car nut, but also drives and writes about cars for ProductReview.

Reviews

4.3
26 reviews
  • Build Quality
    4.7 (6)
  • Value for Money
    4.8 (6)
  • Cleaning & Maintenance
    4.7 (6)
  • Noise Level
    3.8 (6)
  • Braking
    4.5 (6)
  • Acceleration / Power
    4.0 (6)
  • Gear Shifting
    3.8 (6)
  • Suspension
    4.3 (7)
  • Fuel Efficiency
    4.6 (7)
  • Handling
    4.4 (7)
  • Interior Design
    3.7 (7)
  • Boot Size
    4.4 (7)
  • Comfort
    4.6 (7)
  • Features
    3.9 (7)
Previous
Next
Michael M
Michael MHunter Region, NSW
  • 12 reviews
  • 9 likes

New to 4WD Vehicle

published

Purchased Isuzu MUX February 2020 then covid struck. Now retired and was going to travel 2020.
Have only been able to do one longish run in it so far and fuel economy excellent. Could have travelled 1000k + on a standard tank.
Good to drive, comfortable and plenty of room.
No gizmos installed like other makes, so less to go wrong.
Servicing is every 15k and I have a fixed price listing supplied to me so I know exactly what I will be paying for the next 5 years
My only complaint would be the side mirrors do not fold in unless ignition is turned on. This could allow a bike rider to approach unnoticed prior to exiting.
Would recommend this vehicle.
Regards, M

Purchased in for $53,000.

  • Build Quality
  • Value for Money
  • See all answers
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Greg
GregPilbara, WA
  • 2 reviews
  • 1 like

Isuzu makes trucks not cars

published

Its a SUV truck, sounds like a truck, tows like a truck, trucks along all day. We have had since brand new and only trouble we had when first had it was the gearbox, it wouldnt change into top sometimes while doing 100kmph or could be in top while town cruising at 40-60kmph, fixed it by towing a 3t excavator 250km in 4th.

Purchased in for $48,990.

  • Build Quality
  • Value for Money
  • See all answers
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!

Great allrounder

published

This car is used for for commuting and towing our van. We use it most days in a mix of city and country driving. We service this car as per Isuzu spec, but may do more oil changes as I would like to see the oil kept cleaner. We have had this car for nearly 40,000 and had no issues whatsoever. These are a very basic car, with few bells and whistles, but they have a very good engine. Towing the van (17 foot) returns 13l and, country driving, can get down a low as 7.5l. My wife drives this car mostly in a mix of city driving, with some country, and, has no regard for fuel economy, she gets 9.5 to 10l mostly.

Purchased in .

  • Build Quality
  • Value for Money
  • See all answers
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
GaryM
GaryMGreater Melbourne (Outer), VIC

Brings a smile to my face

published

Purchased in .

  • Build Quality
  • Value for Money
  • See all answers
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Large / 7 Seater SUVs

Find out how Isuzu MU-X Series I 4WD 3.0L Diesel LS-U compares to other Large / 7 Seater SUVs

Know better, choose better.

Compare all
Watchmen
Watchmen
  • 9 reviews
  • 14 likes

Excellent Vehicle

published

Two years after purchasing new, the MUX is performing as expected with no problems experienced and just scheduled services. Used for long distant drives as well as around the paddocks towing a trailer. Sometimes pulls a caravan when needed for holidays.
Very comfortable on the open road and economical averaging 9 litres per 100km and 12 when towing.
Replaced my isuzu ute based on its own reliabilty over 320,000 kms with this MUX and very happy i did.

Purchased in at Cardiff Isuzu Ute.

  • Build Quality
  • Value for Money
  • See all answers
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
TerraTerrano
TerraTerranoSouth East Queensland, QLD
  • 4 reviews
  • 3 likes

I've grown to love this noisy beastie that can tow houses up mountains!

published

Besides for being a little noisy, the engine in this vehicle is phenomenal. I tow a Majestic Knight SLE (20'6") packed up to almost 3.0 ton with very little effort. Fuel consumption towing (about 13 l/100) is equivalent to many vehicles unladen effort! With the updated interiors, the feeling of being in a much more expensive vehicle cannot be passed by. Our MU-X has just turned one years old, and every indication is that it'll still be with our family for many, many years to come. Zero problems or issues to date.

Purchased in for $44,000.

  • Build Quality
  • Value for Money
  • See all answers
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Jackee
JackeeNorth-West & West coast, TAS
  • 12 reviews
  • 3 likes

Great car at a reasonable price.

published

After much research on medium sized SUVs capable of towing a medium sized Caravan we settled on the Isuzu Mu-x. We were set on the Toyota Prado but found that we couldn't justify the extra $20k when the Mu-x had everything we wanted. We've only had it for 2 weeks and are yet to tow anything but we are happy with the car. Yes it sounds like a ute to drive but we don't mind this as it's only noticable driving around town and we do most our driving on a highway.
Our must haves were 3lt turbo diesel engine, 3t towing capacity and seats that folded down flat so you can sleep comfortably in the rear of the car. We got them all and more.

  • BadgeLS-U
  • Drive4WD
  • TransmissionAutomatic
  • Date Purchased
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!

Related Articles

Previous
The right to repair: which brands are making it easier for you to fix their products?

The right to repair movement in Australia is calling for companies to make it easier for their products to be repaired. Here are some electronics and appliance manufacturers who are starting to listen and make it more feasible for consumers to repair, rather than replace, their items.

Clara V.
Clara V.
the-right-to-repair-which-brands-are-making-it-easier-for-you-to-fix-their-products
Make staying at home more enjoyable with these products and tips

Staying at home doesn’t have to be a drag, even if you’re isolating. With the right products, you can still eat, drink, and relax as if you’re on holiday, so that your summer staycation is something special.

Clara V.
Clara V.
make-staying-at-home-more-enjoyable-with-these-products-and-tips
How to be more eco-friendly when you're gifting this Christmas

Christmas seems to go hand in hand with consumption, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be eco-friendly with your gift giving. We’ve got tips for everything from shopping sustainably to zero-waste packaging, so that you can have a greener holiday season.

Clara V.
Clara V.
how-to-be-more-eco-friendly-when-youre-gifting-this-christmas
Next
Wenna
WennaBaradine

love the car - few things to fix at service time

published

* km left until i have to fuel up
changes dramatically
e.g 1 minute i might have 500km left
it changes to 600 then 300km
*usb mp3 music going blank and screeching after half hr
* car pulling to right
* cruise control -car is changing back gears and revving dangerous.

  • BadgeLS-U
  • Drive4WD
  • TransmissionAutomatic
  • Date Purchased
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Macca
MaccaSydney, NSW
  • 6 reviews
  • 8 likes

Beware of the Isuzu towbar

published

Purchased in .

  • Incentivised Review No
  • TransmissionSemi-Automatic
  • See all answers
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Large / 7 Seater SUVs

Find out how Isuzu MU-X Series I 4WD 3.0L Diesel LS-U compares to other Large / 7 Seater SUVs

Know better, choose better.

Compare all

BRILLIANT (SO FAR)

published
  • TransmissionManual
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
JW
JWSydney, NSW
  • 9 reviews
  • 7 likes

Troubles not being fixed by dealer

published

The car is great, easy to drive, economical and a great tow vehicle. It performs well in all conditions. Only let-down is the navigation system, the maps are outdated and dealer hasn't upgraded them, even though they have been requested to do so well before the 3 years were up; this was a complimentary service offered by Isuzu before the 3 years were up. Now Isuzu are saying it is our responsibilty at retail cost to get this done! NOT GOOD ENOUGH

  • BadgeLS-U
  • Drive4WD
  • TransmissionAutomatic
  • Date Purchased
JW
JW
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Andrew Excell
Andrew ExcellGympie
  • 6 reviews
  • 9 likes

For a new car, no problems

published
  • BadgeLS-U
  • Drive4WD
  • TransmissionAutomatic
  • Date Purchased
Andrew Excell
Andrew Excell
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
Large / 7 Seater SUVs

Find out how Isuzu MU-X Series I 4WD 3.0L Diesel LS-U compares to other Large / 7 Seater SUVs

Know better, choose better.

Compare all

We have inner guard crack too

published
  • BadgeLS-U
  • Drive4WD
  • TransmissionAutomatic
  • Date Purchased
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
joe
joecairns qld
  • 2 reviews

fuel consumption

published

My 2015 Isuzu mux has done 45000 k's and has never missed a beat. I am getting 800 k's to a tank but this did not happen until I reached 40,000 K's and I do not think it is fully run in yet. Best vehicle I have owned. Costs much less to run than the Toyota GXL I owned and has no interior noises what so ever.

  • BadgeLS-U
  • Drive4WD
  • TransmissionAutomatic
  • Date Purchased
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
lisha_gal
lisha_galSouth East Queensland, QLD
  • 128 reviews
  • 37 likes

Love love love this car!

published

We purchased our MUX in 2015 and it has been the best decision we have made for a vehicle purchase ever. We will be buying another! Its roomy with so many features. We bought the top of the line with gps and dvd player. The dvd player has been a god send with the kids. Gps has been excellent also. There is nothing I do not like about his vehicle. The metallic silver is easy to clean and gorgeous to look at. A+++++

  • BadgeLS-U
  • Drive4WD
  • TransmissionAutomatic
  • Date Purchased
Similar opinion? Write a review on ProductReview.com.au!
See all Isuzu MU-X reviews

Questions & Answers

Hayley H.
Hayley H.asked
MU-X Series I 4WD 3.0L Diesel LS-U (2013-2016)

My 2014 mux will connect to my phone through bluetooth but won't sync my contacts or play music through my phone. Is this a known issue or can it be fixed?

No answers
See all Isuzu MU-X questions

Get an answer from our members

Isuzu MU-X Series I 4WD 3.0L Diesel LS-U (2013-2016)

Details · 

Compare all 12 Isuzu MU-X
CategoryLarge / 7 Seater SUVs
TransmissionAutomatic and Manual
Drive TypeFour Wheel Drive (4WD)
Fuel TypeDiesel
ANCAP Safety Rating5 Stars
Fuel Consumption8.1 L/100km
Engine4 Cylinder 3.0L
Max Power130kW @ 3600rpm
Max Torque380Nm @ 1800-2800rpm
Country of ManufactureThailand
Maximum Towing Capacity (braked)3,000 kg
Maximum Towing Capacity (unbraked)750 kg
Manufacturer Warranty5 year(s)
Release date
Discontinuation date
Replaced byIsuzu MU-X 2nd Generation
Compare all 12 Isuzu MU-X

Extra Information

Other Large / 7 Seater SUVs

Mitsubishi Pajero
Lexus RX
Toyota Prado
Subaru Outback
Hyundai Santa Fe
See all Large / 7 Seater SUVs

ProductReview.com.au has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence our content moderation policies in any way, though ProductReview.com.au may earn commissions for products/services purchased via affiliate links.

©  ProductReview.com.au Pty. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. General disclaimer: All third party trademarks, images and copyrights on this page are used for the purpose of comparative advertising, criticism or review. This is a public forum presenting user opinions on selected products and businesses, and as such the views expressed do not reflect the opinion of ProductReview.com.au. Further details in the disclaimer.