Many have been waiting for this: the 2022 Isuzu mu-X.

Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) officially launched the new SUV yesterday and it's ready to take on the likes of the Toyota Fortuner, Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, and Nissan Terra. But just how “new” is the 2022 mu-X especially compared to its predecessor?

To give you an idea of what Isuzu changed with the new mu-X, we'll be comparing it to the outgoing model. And before you ask, it's not just a major facelift similar to what its competitors did. The 2022 mu-X is all-new.

What

Let's start with the exterior. While it does retain some subtle styling cues, the 2022 mu-X looks nothing like its predecessor and it's most evident at the front. The new front fascia features slim headlights that flank a more aggressive-looking grille. There's barely any black plastic cladding too, giving the 2022 mu-X a more upscale look instead of a rugged SUV.

What

Similar to the front, the rear of the mu-X also received a drastic makeover. It's more simple featuring slim taillights and a revised tailgate design. Like the front, there's no black cladding here. The only rugged-ish design element would be the integrated faux skid on the bumper. One thing we noticed when we checked the vehicle was the tailgate: it's made of strong polypropylene plastic and not steel. 

2022 mu-X image
2020 mu-X image

Aside from the front and rear end, there is one major change on the 2022 mu-X's exterior: the rear quarter. It's possibly the biggest indicator that the SUV is an all-new model and not just a facelift. The rear quarter window doesn't wrap around the D-pillar anymore, and indicates that Isuzu really re-engineered the body for this. If anything, the new greenhouse bears a subtle resemblance to the Alterra from the side. 

What

It's hard to tell from the photos, but the all-new mu-X is bigger and wider than its predecessor. The 2022 mu-X now measures 4850mm long, 1870mm wide, and 1825mm tall, making it 25mm longer and 10mm wider. It is, however, 15mm shorter (in terms of height) than before. The wheelbase has been extended by 10mm, now measuring 2855mm long.

2022 mu-X image
2020 mu-X image

With the increase in size, there's a flatter cargo area as well. In the previous model there was a bit of a ledge when you fold the third row down. But now it's more continuously flat when both second and third seats are folded down. This is a big improvement over the predecessor, and there's also a compartment underneath for storage of tools and such. 

2022 mu-X image
2020 mu-X image

Under the hood, there's a new engine option for the 2022 mu-X. The new 3.0-liter 4JJ3 turbo diesel engine offered on the LS-A AT trim and up produces 190 PS and 450 Nm torque. In comparison, the old 3.0-liter mill only produced 177 PS and 380 Nm torque.

Those that prefer the 1.9-liter RZ4E diesel mill will be glad to know that it's still available on lower-trim models, and it still produces the same 150 PS and 350 Nm torque. The new 3.0-liter mill is only available with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, while the 1.9-liter engine comes with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic.

2022 mu-X image
2020 mu-X image

Step inside, and the changes to the cabin are as drastic as the exterior. The first you'll notice is the huge 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which is standard for all variants of the new mu-X. The design of the dashboard is more dynamic, giving the SUV a more upscale look. The surfaces and materials used on the dash are also very much improved.

In front of the driver sits a new three-spoke steering wheel and a new instrument cluster with a larger multi-info display. Gone are the round air-conditioning knobs, and instead these are controlled by a simple panel below the infotainment screen. Higher-trim variants even come with dual-zone climate control.

What

Possibly the biggest upgrade the 2022 mu-X has over the outgoing model is in terms of safety. All variants of the new model come with a wide range of safety features including ABS, EBD, ESC, TSC, Hill Start Assist, and even Hill Descent Control. The range-topping LS-E variants even come with Isuzu's new Advanced Driver Assist System or ADAS. The system offers forward collision warning, autonomous emergency brake, turn assist, pedal mis-application mitigation, and adaptive cruise control, to name a few.

Some folks might prefer how the previous-generation mu-X looked with the blackened lower half and fender extensions; it did look more rugged after all. Still, the new look on the mu-X makes the SUV look clean and more upscale compared to before. It's the same story when you're inside the cabin.

If you're unsure about Isuzu's newest SUV, why not take a look at it for yourself in person. It's now available and on sale at Isuzu dealerships nationwide.