2019 Isuzu D-MAX and MU-X Review | carsales

2019 Isuzu D-MAX and MU-X Review | carsales


Isuzu Ute Australia has achieved strong consistent
growth here since it launched in 2008, its solid two product offering carving out a significant
slice of Australia’s ute and SUV markets. The steady evolution of its D-MAX ute and MUX
SUV have served the company well thus far, and that philosophy continues into 2019 with
a further round of minor updates. Carsales sampled the refreshed range at a
media drive event in Victoria, our route taking in a section of the Great Ocean Road and various
offroad activities at the nearby Australian Automotive Research Centre. Changes are relatively modest, and barring
a few exceptions, largely cosmetic in nature. Not surprising given development of Isuzu’s
next-generation platform which it’s co-developing with Mazda is well underway. Headlining the update, then, is a boosted
warranty and aftersales care programme, along with the release of a new limited edition
D-MAX X-Runner. The X-Runner will be limited to 645 units,
and sports a number of cosmetic enhancements and extra features beyond the top tier D-MAX
LST on which it’s based. Meanwhile, the MUX receives recalibrated steering
for a lighter feel at lower road speeds and new safety tech, with blindspot monitoring,
rear cross traffic alert and front parking sensors now available as optional accessories. Both models sport the same truck-derived 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine, with power fed to the rear or all four wheels. The chassis, suspension and brake packages
are also carried over. The line up’s offroad prowess was showcased
over a series of obstacles at the AARC proving grounds, where the lazy, low revving and torquey
engine partnered with healthy offroad geometry, low range gearing and decent underbody protection
for effective progress. A significant gradient also highlighted the
model’s hill hold and hill descent control features. Both the D-MAX and the MUX have found significant
favour as tow tugs and offroaders, where Isuzu’s 4JJ1-TC engine again comes to the fore. Look, it’s a modest update. A few tweaks here and there, nothing mechanical
other than the steering recalibration for the MUX, but the elephant in the room here
is the next generation model produced in partnership with Mazda. We don’t have any official details on that
yet, but on the flipside, this 2019 range, you could say it’s at the peak of its evolution,
and with the minor cosmetic enhancements and a few other tweaks here and there in specification,
and especially the boosted Service Plus factory warranty and capped price servicing scheme,
it’s a great package. This latest round of updates builds on what
was already a proven package with plenty of rugged appeal. These vehicles may not be the most refined,
nor the best equipped in their respective fields, but Isuzu’s D-MAX and MUX still present
as capable, practical and compelling packages.