Report: Rahul Kapoor; Photography: P. Tharyan
loves to drive off-road, the British, the Indians, the Americans, the Russians,
the Malaysians and even the Japanese. But these days, most SUVs that boast of
mighty off-road abilities are seldom taken off road because the owners are wary
about damaging them as they are just so expensive to buy and maintain.
But a group
of Japanese hardy men who call themselves Isuzu have a big giant SUV called the
MU-7. It is a full blown truck with giant tyres with an extremely high ground
clearance and enough power to keep you moving in anything and everything. We
drove the MU-7 last year and we thought it was pretty good for its size. Now
however, Isuzu has added some new bits to it and thrown in a 5-speed CVT
automatic transmission in as well. We had to have a go at it and see what’s
outside, the car remains untouched. At the front you get the same aggressive
multi toothed chrome plated grille and the angry sharp edged bumper. The
massive 16 inch wheels remain the same, and the rear is exactly identical. The
changes are on the inside.
The new MU-7
Automatic gets dual tone interiors (beige and black), with an updated
infotainment system with navigation system and the 4 spoke old fashioned
steering wheel has been replaced with a more modern 3 spoke steering wheel with
audio controls for easy access. The standard car needed a volume knob for the
infotainment system because the buttons of the touch screen system were way too
small. With the controls now on the steering wheel, Isuzu has taken out 2 birds
with 1 stone.
the car remains sound in exclusion to the gearbox. The very same 3.0L 4
cylinder i-TEQ VGS Turbo Diesel engine that does duty on the manual also powers
the automatic version producing 161bhp and 333Nm of torque with a fuel economy
of 12.8kmpl. The car is relatively economical for its size and spec. The
Automatic transmission is really smooth though above 3000rpm, the noise from
the engine is quite significant in the cabin. The MU-7 unfortunately isn’t
available as a full blown 4x4, it only has to deal with a 4x2 rear wheel drive.
The 4X4 will only be missed when the vehicle is taken to extreme off-road
terrains but because of its huge tyres and more than adequate torque, it can
easily get its way out of any rough situation. In the city, the automatic comes
very handy and one forgets the fact that he is driving a giant vehicle with the
ease of a small Maruti car!
But just to
test out the ability of the car, we did take it a little bit off road just to
see how it feels and test out the suspension. On road or even off, the
suspension is brilliant and the ride is quite comfortable even over the rough
stuff. With only rear wheel propulsion, the car performed pretty well on our
test off road. The ground clearance of the SUV was really high therefore uneven
cross axle dips didn’t hinder the car at all. It just waded itself through. Even
the automatic transmission worked extremely well off road.
the car MU-7 ticks all the boxes for its abilities on the road and off the
road, but there are some things the car may have been improved. The interior
floor I felt was a tad too high which leaves even the front passengers to sit
with their knees high and though the leather upholstery is plush and
comfortable, the stitching could have been improved. The third row seats are
almost touching the ground but then the leg room is ample in all three rows of
seats. Folding away the 3rd row of seats also massively increases
the boot space of the car. The last time around we managed to fit an entire
full sized bicycle in the back with room to spare.
So if you are
looking for a tough rugged beast that transforms itself to the road and then
again when the tarmac disappears, (which is very often in India) the Isuzu MU-7
will do the job brilliantly. Compared to the prices of some of the SUVs that are
with the competitors, this one is quite decently priced.
cylinder i-TEQ VGS Turbo Diesel
Suspension with Gas sealed Shock
L x W x H
4955 x 1800
Price (ex-showroom Delhi)
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