When Isuzu pulled the covers off the all-new D-Max late last year, we were excited. Among its competitors, it's the first one to have a full redesign instead of a facelift. Isuzu's popular pick-up has been re-engineered from top to bottom, bumper to bumper. However, it got us thinking about another thing: When will the next-generation mu-X be launched?
Well, Isuzu is very tight-lipped about it at this point. There aren't even spy photos of the SUV just yet, which would typically be a clue to when it will come out. Still, it's not stopping us from what we want out of the next-gen mu-X.
1. More power
When the Isuzu mu-X first came out in 2014, the top-spec model had 163 PS and 380 Nm of torque. Those figures were good six years ago, but the competition had quickly surpassed it. Even when it got a power upgrade, later on, 177 PS still wasn't near its competitors.
But it seems the future model will address that shortcoming. If we were to look at the D-Max's engine, the upgraded 3.0-liter now makes 190 PS. Knowing Isuzu, it's more than likely we'll be seeing that same engine under the hood of the mu-X. It's still not class-leading but that makes it much more competitive in the current crops of pick-up-based SUVs. More importantly, the new turbodiesel makes 450 Nm of torque, which is heaps more than the 380 Nm figure from the current generation.
2. Less weight
While the mu-X doesn't feel clumsy to drive, you do feel its heft behind the wheel. It weighs nearly 2.2 tons, which doesn't make it a light vehicle at all. Sure, some of its competitors are heavier, but the current model "only" has 177 PS to motivate that much weight. Should they put this SUV on a diet, not only will it be quicker off the line, it will be more efficient too. As it is, the current mu-X already delivers impressive fuel economy figures and we can't help but think how much more efficient it can be if it were a few kilograms lighter. With the next-gen model possibly getting the new 190 PS turbo-diesel from the D-Max, it will be a brisk and more efficient SUV.
3. More composed ride
We're not saying the ride of the mu-X is harsh. Having driven various mu-X models over the years, we noticed that its ride can be on the wallowy side. The thing is, the current mu-X doesn't feel as settled as some of its competitors on the highway, so we'd like the new one to be more composed at higher speeds. That said, we still want that soft ride we've come to appreciate in the Isuzu, so we hope they will retain that too.
4. Better cabin materials
There's nothing wrong with having hard plastics in the cabin, but too much of it just makes any interior feel a bit, well, downmarket. If there's one interior revision we want in the all-new mu-X, it would be more upmarket interior materials. That would make the mu-X's interior a much more pleasant place to be in, which will surely boost the ownership experience. If the all-new D-Max's interior is any indication, we have high hopes and expectations with the next mu-X.
5. Value proposition
The mu-X may not be the most powerful, highest-riding, or deepest-wading SUV in its class, but it has value on its side. If you compare the prices of the mu-X against its competitors, it's the most affordable mid-sized SUV among its peers. You can get a mu-X for Php 1,300,000, which is amazing when you see other SUVs start at about Php 200,000 to Php 300,000 more. If the next-generation mu-X can undercut the competition by a significant margin, then it will be a very tempting proposition for those looking for a relatively large vehicle.
What can we expect?
As mentioned, Isuzu isn't mentioning anything about the next-generation mu-X just yet, but we have high expectations for it, nonetheless. If we look at the old and the all-new D-Max, we expect the mu-X to level up the same way at the very least. With the Trooper being gone for over a decade now, the mu-X effectively becomes the brand's flagship SUV. There's a lot riding on this next-generation model, and we're excited to try it out for ourselves in the future.
But when will it come out? Looking at the previous generation, that one came out about two years after the redesigned D-Max was launched. If Isuzu will stick to the same pattern, then the second-generation mu-X might come out in late 2021 as a 2022 model.