As one of the first Isuzu Ute dealers in Australia, back in 2008, I have a very soft spot for the company, and particularly the Isuzu MU-X.
Hi there, Bob Aldons, The Car Guy, with my review on the 2018 Isuzu MU-X LT-R.
I’ve been tripping around South-East Queensland for the last 7 days and it’s been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. From pick up at Eagle Farm, up to Peachester in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, the MU-X has brought back great memories for my time as a dealer.
What Is it?
The Isuzu MU-X is a large SUV with seating for 7, a 3.0-litre diesel engine and 6-speed automatic transmission.
There’s a lot listed on the RJ Pound Comparative Price Guide which I use for my research, but I’m going to exclude fancy ‘premium’ 7-seater soft-roaders and concentrate on those that can do the job of towing a heavy van or boat. Ford Everest, Holden Acadia, Holden Colorado 7, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mitsubishi Pajero and Pajero Sport, Toyota Fortuner and Prado.
Isuzu Ute always has a sharp offer to compete in their market. Currently, the vehicle I drove the Isuzu MU-X LT-R, retails for $52990 drive away including 2 years free scheduled service, a 6-year warranty and roadside assistance.
The entry model, Isuzu MU-X LS-M, is on sale for $44,990 whilst the 4×2 version is some $6000 cheaper if you don’t need the 4WD ability, again all with the service and warranty package.
As always, that’s the Isuzu advertised price and you should be able to do better if you shop around (Refer dealer panel below).
Ken Hill is a golfing buddy of mine from the Redcliffe Golf Club. Early in 2017, Ken and his wife Kathy approached me to source a new tow vehicle for them after the useful life of their Prado V6 had finished.
Given my history with Isuzu Ute, my first thought was a D-MAX or MU-X.
Here’s what Ken has to say about their Isuzu MU-X experience after 2 years.
“In 2017, we upgraded our caravan and purchased a new twenty and a half foot caravan. As a result, it became quite evident that the 2004 Toyota Prado, which we had at the time, was not going to tow 2750kg legally.
We have always driven Toyota vehicles however the new Prado was not going to do the job.
We researched the new car market and then sought advice from Bob Aldons of Car Business. We explained our circumstances, budget etc and amongst Bob`s suggestions was the 2017 6-speed automatic Isuzu MU-X.
We were given the option of the D-MAX, however, given our physical limitations, we decided on the wagon.
We’ve now travelled over 30,000 kilometres with trips around Australia and “off road” on Fraser Island. This was my first diesel vehicle.
We’re very happy with the Isuzu MU-X. It easily tows the new caravan which gives us peace of mind.
The fuel economy was a pleasant surprise, far better than the V6 Toyota Prado. We have grandchildren and Kathy does a “school run” most days. She finds the vehicle very comfortable, easy to handle and drive.
The two baby seats in the back seat enable the “school run” to be effected easily.
Fraser Island can be a trap for a lot of inexperienced four-wheel drivers. As a family, we’ve been going to Fraser for the last 12 years. Off Road, the MU-X handled the terrain easily.”
Isuzu MU-X Walk Around
Front: When Isuzu launched the D-Max here in Australia in 2008, the tagline was “Spirit of Truck”. This played on the history of Isuzu in the light and medium truck market and their reputation as a builder of strong, tough vehicles. Both D-Max and MU-X hold that reputation close to their heart. The number of concerns per 1000 vehicles sold, at least in my time as an Isuzu dealer was minuscule. Owners love their MU-X’s. MU-X and D-Max are both fitted with a 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine and now come with a 6-speed auto transmission. There’s sufficient power (130kw) and torque (430Nm) to get the job done easily.
The front of the vehicle features Isuzu Ute’s strong face – big grille, plenty of chrome and a tough stance.
Down the Side
I was expecting the LS-T Version of the MU-X to have up to date safety features, but missing from current top specs was adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and lane departure warning. Whilst Isuzu are still marketing the MU-X and D-Max as ANCAP 5-star safety vehicles, the fact that they’re missing these critical items would arguably only score the pair 3 or 4 stars.
But suffice to say that if you’re a ‘driver’ not just steering the truck around, these features may not be that important to you. And given that Isuzu Ute Australia has now completed 10 consecutive years of growth (more sales year on year) there’s got to be something that these buyers like.
Safety & Security
|Anti-skid Brake System (ABS)
|Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
|Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
|Traction Control System (TCS)
|Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
|Trailer Sway Control (TSC)
|Hill Start Assist (HSA)
|Hill Descent Control (HDC)
|6 Airbags: dual front, curtain and side
|Rear park assist sensors
|Side anti-intrusion bars inside all doors
Apart from these safety features, Isuzu MU-X LS-T has Bi-LED Projector headlamps, front fog lights, and under-front steel skid plate and splash shield. If you’d like to check out the full specification yourself, click on this link – ISUZU MU-X
With the 7 seats engaged, the MU-X still has a cavernous boot. With the 3rd row folded, it’s just massive. The rear end is ok on the eye, but when you’re towing, that doesn’t really mean too much. The rear quarter panel kicks up on the side to provide good visibility for the rear seat passengers. Of course, reversing sensors and camera are standard. My test vehicle was fitted with a factory tow bar and electric brakes in case I was enticed to tow up to that 3000kg. I hadn’t planned anything like that but it was good to know that I could.
Isuzu MU-X also has trailer sway control which is a great feature for those purchasing an MU-X to tow a large caravan or trailed boat.
As always, you should check carefully with the dealer supplying your Isuzu and the sales department of the boat or caravan to ensure that what you’re towing can be done legally and safely.
Isuzu Ute has included 4 tie down points in the rear luggage area enabling larger and heavier loads to be secured. If you’re carrying a heavy load higher than the seat back height, I’d recommend a dual position cargo barrier be considered.
Ok, so it’s a pretty large vehicle but the visibility from all seats is excellent. On this model, the side of the vehicle is broken effectively by the judicious use of bright alloy wheels and chrome garnishes.
The standard side steps are useful and again define the side.
MU-X gets roof rails to which you can attach all sorts of things, from cross rails and then surfboard holders, fishing rod clamps and everything else in between.
I’ve seen bike racks, kayak supports let alone the luggage pods for those owners who really want to get away from it all
All doors, drivers and passenger, have side intrusion beams protecting all passengers from a severe side impact.
It’s no racing seat but the seating system in the Isuzu MU-X is comfortable whether it’s around the suburbs on or the highway. Isuzu has designed the seat to be just the right fit for ‘older Australians’ who may spend an extra long time in the saddle.
The interior – instrumentation, steering wheel controls and transmission – are better than adequate, and everything seems to fall to hand easily.
On The Road
Isuzu MU-X isn’t the smoothest on the road, but it’s hardly what you’d call rough. Road noise from the chunky tyres is evident, but again not more than expected.
Our 2nd-row and 3rd-row passengers on this trip were comfortable enough and young Thomas didn’t suffer at all from car sickness even though he’s had this experience in many of the softroaders I’ve tested.
The cabin is spacious with plenty of head and shoulder room. I’ve driven a few of the other brands and can positively say that the MU-X stands tall agains the others.
I’m continually amazed at the lack of attention to the use of ANCAP ratings by manufacturers. The Isuzu MU-X was tested 5 years ago in 2013 and still carries the 5-star ANCAP safety rating even though this 2018 vehicle doesn’t have the latest safety tech I mentioned earlier.
Green Vehicle Guide
Isuzu MU-X 4×4 LS-T Wagon. I use RACQ Insurance to give you a guide as to what you’ll pay for your annual comprehensive car insurance. Conditions precedent for this cover are:
- A male driver over 60 years of age, having held a license for over 10 years
- Bronze member of RACQ with 2 other insurance policies
- Has paid cash for the car for private use with the car parked in a garage overnight.
- The driver resides in postcode 4017
- The car is fitted with an engine immobilizer
- 1 at fault claim in the last 3 years, with no license suspensions
- Rating 1 currently having held that rating 1 for 10 years or more
- No driver under 25 will use the vehicle.
The premium quoted online by RACQ Insurance for Private Use – $479.67 with a $750 excess. Variations from the information above may result in different outcomes. Check online with RACQ Insurance for your own particular quote.
Service Costs and Warranty
Isuzu MU-X comes with a 5-year warranty and roadside assistance package normally, but this has been upgraded to 6 years this month.
Capped Price Servicing is available through the Isuzu Ute network of dealers. According to the Isuzu Ute website, for 5 years or 75,000km, you can expect to pay about $2090 or around $418 per service on average. Isuzu Ute now have 15,000km service intervals rather than the previous 10,000km
Given that this is a 3.0 turbo diesel engine with a 6-speed automatic, $418 per service is very reasonable
Where to Buy – Dealers
My test vehicle was supplied by Isuzu Ute Australia. No financial incentives were paid to me by Isuzu for this review.
If you’re in the market to buy an MU-X or D-Max for that matter, pick your dealer carefully. When I want to check out the ‘worthiness’ of a dealer, I Google ‘Isuzu Ute Dealers Brisbane” where the city is the one that you live in or around and the brand is that particular one you’re interested in.
I only list dealers who have achieved a minimum of 15 reviews with Google and then only those with 4 stars or higher.
From a South East Queensland perspective here’s the dealers I’d visit:
Northside Nundah Isuzu Ute 4.7 Stars from 70 Reviews
Southside Keema Isuzu Ute 4.0 Stars from 13 Reviews
Eastside Keema Isuzu Ute 4.7 Stars from 80 Reviews
Westside Westpoint Isuzu Ute 4.8 Stars from 16 Reviews
Gold Coast Gold Coast Isuzu Ute 4.1 Stars from 50 Reviews
Sunshine Coast Pacific Isuzu Ute 4.4 Stars from 21 Reviews
(Google Stars and review numbers effective 17th December 2018)
If I was towing a large caravan or boat, Isuzu MU-X would certainly be on the short list if not top of the list. My decision would reflect the excellent reputation that both Isuzu models carry. Keeping your new vehicle out of the service driveway is important when it comes to maximizing time on the road.
Would I buy? Yes I would – there are few other vehicles available in this class with the reputation and reliability of the Isuzu MU-X
- Smooth power delivery and economical
- Lots of interior space
- Plenty of room in the third-row and luggage area.
- Disappointed at the lack of Adaptive Cruise Control and Emergency Braking
- Lane Departure feature is necessary
I’ve spent the last forty-one years immersed in the automotive industry from salesman to the owner of a 7 brand multi-franchise dealership. I know cars.
If you’re hunting around for a great price on your next new car, you should call me, the auto expert, from Car Business.
My company, a Brisbane Car Broker, Car Buyers Agent or Car Buyers Advocate based on the north side of Brisbane, will return your inquiry within 24 hours and make the process of buying a new car easy and stress-free.
Are you tired of salesperson tricks? I protect you from the pressure exerted by car dealer’s salespeople. There isn’t any obligation – just a pretty significant saving.
You’re where? Seriously, my services are available for you in any Australian state and territory: from Darwin to Hobart, Cairns to Perth. Car Broker Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, and Darwin – I’m available when you need me to be.
Whether you’re a retail customer, a small company or a large national fleet, I’ll go to work and get that price down. Lower new car prices are my goal. So you’ll get the best prices from me rather than hoping you can help yourself.
If I can’t get you the best new car price, better than you can get yourself from a car dealer, I won’t charge you any fee. No Saving, No Fee. – that’s what you should expect from a car buying expert.
Car Business WILL save you money on your next new car purchase – guaranteed
Australian Road Safety FoundationThe Australian Road Safety Foundation is a not-for-profit organization whose charter is to reduce serious accidents on our roads through training and education.
Car Business donates to the ARSF for every car we sell. If you’d like to support this worthwhile foundation, donate to the cause, become a member today or just buy your next new car from Car Business.
People Also Ask
Car Buyers always seem to need answers on a vast number of topics about their cars. There are a few questions that I seem to be asked regularly, so to save you a phone call, make sure you check out our People Also Ask questions below. If your answer is not listed, I’m more than happy for you to call. My number is 0418 748 498 or you can email it to [email protected] Free advice – no obligation – how can you go wrong?
Q: Why Should I deal with a Car Broker rather than just going to a dealer?
A: It’s the goal and actually the job of a car salesperson to make as much money for his dealership as he possibly can. And that applies to the car, finance (finance and insurance), and aftermarket sales (tint, paint, interior, rust).
It’s the role of a car broker or car buyer’s agent to buy the same car at the lowest possible price. Your broker will get prices from at least 5 dealers or more, get independent finance and insurance quotes and then only recommend the car protection you actually need rather than the products the dealer wants to sell you. Dealers, on average, make around $3800 on a car sale. An astute broker will get that margin down to around $1800, saving you about $2000 on your vehicle purchase
Q: Should I take Finance and Insurance through a car dealer?
A: Generally no. An average car dealer relies on the car buyer to be exhausted after the trauma and stress of actually buying a car. They depend on their finance manager to make an average profit of $1100 for EVERY car buyer coming into their dealership. The income per finance contract rests around $3000 per contract. In recent times, the ACCC (Australian Consumer and Competition Commission) has looked closely at the way that finance companies and their dealers sell to consumers. Recently, on a voluntary basis, finance companies have reduced the flex rate (the maximum rate allowed to be charged over the base rate for particular consumers) to 4%, down from 8%.
There is still need to be wary of some of the non-standard lenders. For those in our community who have fallen on hard times, have bad credit or are on Centrelink benefits, some lenders are still allowed to charge exorbitant interest rates, upwards of 25%.
Q: It’s a fact that dealers, forced by their manufacturers charge very high prices for genuine spare parts. Recently I needed to purchase a set of head bolts for a 2008 Alfa Romeo Sedan. Price quoted by my local dealer was $294. I picked them up from the UK for $115 including freight to Australia. I expect to receive them in the same time as the local dealer would take to get them from Melbourne.
A: It’s not the dealer’s fault on this occasion. Typically a dealer makes around 20% profit on genuine spare parts sales. It’s the manufacturer/Importer who is charged prices higher than dealers in overseas markets can buy at. Shop around. To determine whether you can buy the part you need, you’ll first need the part number. Get your VIN, ring the local dealer and ask for the part number. They may oblige and if they do, just search on the net through Google. You’ll be amazed. There’ll even be local suppliers who are able to provide a genuine part for you at around overseas prices. For Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Isuzu Ute and Volkswagen, visit my site www.genuinespares.com.au
Q: If you have a larger vehicle, with a lot of glass area, the chances are that you’ll want or need window tinting. At the point of sale, dealers will want to charge you up to $795 to tint the windows of your car. Again, you’ll want to avoid the stress and pressure of negotiating anymore and just sign where you’re asked.
A: Window tinting can be obtained for around $400 through Car Business. My company has arrangements with local tint shops to do just that price – $400. Don’t be overcharged. $400 is the price to pay for the average vehicle
Q: How do I pick the right car for my needs?
A: Typically, car buyers will have a general idea of what sort of car they want to buy. However, in a market like ours with nearly 60 brands and thousands of models, historical ownership doesn’t have to be maintained. Find an honest buyer’s agent and have a chat to them about your requirements. My company, Car Business, offers this service to our customers without any obligation. You can fill out the lifestyle form, by clicking and a representative of Car Business will contact you to discuss your needs. We use the R J Pound Comparative new Vehicle Price Guide to assist buyers to understand the alternatives. It may not be the one you’re thinking about right now.
Q: I need some accessories for my new car, but I’m not sure that I’m getting the best price from the dealer
A: Accessories are another area that dealers make a lot of their profit. Apart from the window tinting, paint and interior protection and rust proofing, a typical salesperson will run through a long list of accessories. Even the manufacturer has copious amounts of accessories in their new car brochure.
Don’t feel obligated to buy any accessories you want through the dealer. I suggest to a lot of my customers to phone the spare parts department of the same dealer and ask for a quote on the accessories they want. You might be surprised at a price. The other way is to search on the internet. There are lots of retailers who buy the same parts you want from overseas suppliers (even ones that supply the manufacturer directly) and will offer them at a substantially better price. All you have to do it fit them up, but generally it’s a pretty easy thing to do for the home handyman
Q: If I sell my car privately will I get a better price?
A: It is sometimes possible to achieve a higher price with a private sale however this reduces significantly if your vehicle is not presented correctly and is no longer under warranty. The private buyer today is looking to receive the same benefits they would by purchasing from a Dealer and expect huge reductions in price if they believe they are disadvantaged. Add to this the cost of preparing your vehicle to the same standards as Motor Dealers. Look at such items as Safety Certificates, Service, Tyres, Windscreen, Chips and Scratches, Detailing, and Advertising along with the need to be accessible and available at all times including weekends when prospective buyers will want to inspect your vehicle. It may not be the wise choice to have people you do not know, coming to your home.
Once the costs and time involved are assessed, most people choose to trade their present vehicle or to use a professional Car Buying Service to ensure they get a good price without the expense or hassle.
Q: Do you allow and/or recommend RACQ Inspections on second-hand cars?
A: Yes, we welcome the RACQ Inspection Process in our business and recognize the need for such an independent examination. Once completed we will discuss the report with you and facilitate any repairs that are deemed necessary. You can arrange for the RACQ to visit our business. We can arrange for them to inspect your choice of vehicle and have them send the report directly to you if you prefer.
Q: Why are dealers so expensive for service in comparison to other service centres?
A: Dealers service and maintain vehicles as set out by the manufacturer’s recommendations to protect your new car warranty. They will generally be willing to match other service providers as long as they are comparing “like for like”.
Your individual circumstances can be taken into account regarding changing some filters and coolants etc. They also have factory trained technicians and have the support of specialized equipment and of course the proper factory support. There are many other reasons such as resale value, and when it comes to trade-in price, car retailers always look at maintained service books and especially if a dealer has serviced them.
On the other hand, if you’re carefully managing your money, we can arrange a log book service at one of our preferred providers.
Do I need to return my vehicle to the selling dealer for service?
The simple answer is NO!
Whilst dealers may suggest or insist that your new car is brought back to their service department, the reality is:
- You can take your car to any of the brand’s service centres for routine or warranty service. Brand X warranty is covered by the manufacturer, not by the dealer. So if there’s a more convenient location to have your car serviced, take it there.
- Dealers may suggest that you have to have your car serviced at the franchised dealer to maintain your warranty. Again that’s a falsehood. You can have your car serviced by any qualified mechanic or technician, provided that they follow the service guidelines for your vehicle as specified by the manufacturer
- They should use as a minimum the oil grade specified by the manufacturer and also parts that are of the same quality standard. You shouldn’t use inferior parts. Whilst I would suggest using the manufacturer’s parts, there are similarly high-quality non-genuine parts available on the market. Things like brake pads, brake rotors, air and oil filters, spark plugs and the like are often cheaper and as good quality as those supplied but the manufacturer
How often should I check my Tyre Pressures?
Personally, I check my tyre pressures monthly. I have a tyre gauge purchased from Repco that I rely on to check the pressures in my tyres. Arguably, it’s probably better to check your tyre pressures every second time that you fill your fuel tank. High volume petrol centres have good quality air pumps and it only takes a few minutes to do that after you’ve got your fill.
What should I do if my car breaks down at night?
Firstly, I’m suggesting that you be in a roadside assistance program such as provided by the RACQ.
If you’ve purchased a new car, you’ll have coverage under your new car warranty. Kia Motors Australia provides 7 years of roadside assistance in coordination with their warranty. Hyundai and Ford have a 5-year program.
Mitsubishi only provides roadside assistance after the first year provided you’re having your services done at one of their dealerships.
If you run out of roadside assistance, best sign up with RACQ or your state motoring body. (NRMA, RACV, etc.) It’s far from sensible to break down on a dark or unit road and then have to do repairs yourself. This is particularly for younger drivers.
A phone call from inside a locked car is preferable to having to find a phone booth or a ‘friendly neighbour’ to call for help
If you’d like to discuss anything to do with purchase, trade-in, private sale, service, warranty issues or just have a conversation about the motor industry in Australia, please give me a call on 0418 748 498 or email to [email protected]