Whenever we think of entry-level SUVs, we tend to think of vehicles that come with fewer features, a more conservative exterior, and a less powerful engine. Since they're intended to be the most affordable model available, they're usually available with a manual gearbox as well instead of an automatic transmission.
But Isuzu Philippines Inc (IPC) decided to switch things up for the all-new 2022 mu-X. Instead of a manual, the base model RZ4E LS comes with a six-speed automatic and retails for PHP 1.590 million. So while it might have less equipment inside, buyers that prefer a self-shifting mu-X will not be disappointed.
Puzzled, we asked Isuzu why they went for this approach for the all-new mu-X.
According to Robert Carlos, Department Head of Product Planning at IPC, the entry-level mu-X comes with an automatic to attract new customers more easily. This doesn't come as a surprise since more and more customers now prefer an automatic gearbox over a manual transmission.
Back in 2018, Isuzu introduced the new entry-level LS for the previous generation facelift. Priced at PHP 1.3 million (at the time) for both the automatic and manual versions, it was one of the most affordable seven-seater SUVs in the market.
This doesn't mean that the mu-X is no longer available with a manual gearbox, however. The second most affordable mu-X in the range is the RZ4E LS-A M/T with an SRP of PHP 1.770 million. It comes with more equipment than the LS A/T and even gets several intelligent safety features derived from the top-of-the-line LS-E. And as the name implies, it still comes with a 6-speed manual.
If ever you're in the market for an affordable SUV that comes with an automatic, the base model RZ4E LS of the 2022 mu-X is available and retails for less than PHP 1.6 million.