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BUYER’S GUIDE: Isuzu mu-X RZ4E

We don’t know about you, but when you have had 80 years of experience manufacturing diesel engines, you pretty much know a thing or two about what makes diesel engines tick. So we weren’t really that surprised when Isuzu launched the Isuzu MU-X RZ4E Blue Power with its engine as its focal selling point. Now “optimized for power and torque,” the newest sibling of the MU-X is specifically designed for fuel efficiency, fewer emissions, and lesser noise and vibrations.

Exterior

The MU-X was designed to look rugged and tough; hence, it continues this theme in this variant. The automatic variant is slightly taller (and with a bit higher ground clearance) compared to the other ones in the RZ series. This is good news to those who are on the taller side–or who tend to drive through flood-infested roads often.

If you’re a fan of chrome, then choose this variant; otherwise, prepare to be bombarded by strange terms like “material gray” or “material black” grille, side mirrors, door handles, and tailgate. What kind of material are they talking about here? The vagueness of it all makes us wonder if we’re dealing with a tailoring company here, instead.

Interior

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Enter the abode of the MU-X and you’ll be bombarded by plastic–and fabric–everywhere. The plastic’s a given due to cost-cutting; the seat fabric at the center, however, need to be subconsciously masticated until our conscious minds accept it. Still, there’s one redeeming factor we can see here: the fabric name: Jacquard and Tricot. At least we can say that the name sounds important enough.

What’s more, there are three more redeeming factors we can see inside here: 1) the 10-inch roof mounted video system with remote control; 2) hands-free, three spoke leather-wrapped (with audio) steering wheel; and 3) and the audio: an eight-inch touchscreen display / CD / VCD / DVD / Tuner / Aux-in / USB MP3 compatible / Bluetooth & iPod connectivity / TPMS-ready audio system.

Comfort and Convenience

What we like about this variant is that the engine allows for lesser noise and vibration when you drive it on the road. There’s a noticeable smoothness to it, and changing gears is straightforward.

Still, we would like to point out that there are other SUVs out there that fare better when it comes to ride quality. The suspension can get a bit too firm when you drive it slowly, so the impact of every bump and hump on even, flat roads can be too noticeable.

Safety

Safety features are really impressive. The MU-X RZ4E AT comes with airbags, seatbelts, child seat tethers, slide door impact beams, ABS and EBD, Brake Assist, Brake Override System, Under-Front Resin Skid Plate, Alarm, Child-Proof Rear Door Locks, Rear Defogger, Reverse Sensing System, and Reverse Camera.

Engine

Its four-cylinder, in-line Blue Power Diesel Engine with Turbo Intercooler offers a small, 1,898cc engine that more than matches the power of vehicles with bigger engines. You would even be surprised that it produces a hefty 150 hp and 350 Nm of torque. This is quite impressive, and makes you wonder where they’re getting such power from such a small size.

Our Verdict

The MU-X RZ4E Automatic might not win the best SUV in the country, but it can pull its own weight and deliver a good performance when needed. It’s a versatile vehicle, and can be a satisfactory off- and on- roader from time to time.  Its small engine, however, has one disadvantage: it has lesser power when it comes to pulling weight.  So go easy on towing heavy loads if you plan to buy this vehicle.

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