Make your own way - Isuzu MU-7 Review
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When Isuzu says that their target audience is the politicians and those who look for a spacious SUV, it is easy to believe after one look at the Isuzu MU-7. At 4955 mm, the MU-7 is huge, imposing and it looks good too. When you see one of these in the rear view mirrors, you have to give way and that covers the politicians' angle. The rear seat is one of the spacious places to be in a SUV and that ticks the boxes for those looking for a spacious SUV. But how does it fare as a car? Should Toyota Fortuner be worried?
Despite its size, the Isuzu MU-7 does look good though not as modern as its competition. If the road presence is your priority, look no more than the MU-7. This big bad SUV easily intimidates other cars and people on the road. The front of MU-7 hosts the big chrome grille with vertical slats, large headlamp clusters and neatly designed fog lamp inserts. With the huge bulge on the engine hood, the MU-7 looks majestic from the front.
Come to the side and the length of the car becomes evident. With a wheelbase alone measuring more than 3 metres (3050 mm), the dimensions point to a spacious seating inside. The chrome finished ORVMs, a chrome strip running the length between the wheels, huge wheel arches and 12-spoke beefy alloy wheels add drama to the sides. If there's anything humble about the car, it should be the rear. The large tail lamps still compliment the overall size of the car and the rear bumper is neatly finished in dual colour.
Inside, the locally assembled MU-7 now gets beige interiors and a black dashboard while earlier the car got all-black interiors in its CBU form. The build quality of the car is top notch and the finish look great with the switches and knobs feel good to touch and use. The dashboard gets wood finishes in the center console, corner AC vents and arm rests.
The big four-spoke steering wheel offers good grip while the three dial instrument cluster gets a big speedometer in the middle with the tachometer to the left and fuel/MID/engine temperature gauge to the right. The center console hosts the 7-inch touchscreeen display in the middle with the AC vents and controls on the top and bottom respectively.
Space and Comfort
After looking that big from outside and if it doesn't translate to space inside, that would be a shame. And MU-7 doesn't disappoint. While the front seats offer great support and legroom, the second row seats are the place to be in. Apart from acres of legroom, the second row seats also offer great thigh support and recline angle. The third row seats too offer reasonable space but the knees-up seating position is not to our liking. But the MU-7 offers great boot space even with all the seats up. While all the rows of seats get sliding feature, the front and second row seats get reclining feature adding to the comfort levels.
From the storage space under the front middle armrest to the cup holders in the front and second row seats, the MU-7 offers numerous cubby holes and spaces for storing various things all around the car.
Engine and Performance
To haul this mammoth of a car, the engine also needs to be powerful. And the Isuzu MU-7 gets a 3.0-litre, intercooled, VGS, turbo-diesel engine with an maximum output of 160 hp at 3600 rpm and a maximum torque of 360 Nm at 1800-2000 rpm. Isuzu has worked hard to get the refinement right with low levels of NVH and the minimal turbo lag. The engine never feels out of breath with great low-range and mid-range power delivery. Getting off from standstill is easy and the car pulls away cleanly without any jerks or bumps.
Ride and Handling
The steering wheel provides good feedback in highways and feels lighter in city traffic. The suspension is tuned for comfort and stability and the irregularities of our roads are absorbed nicely. Though the steering tries to mask the mass of the MU-7, it is the heavy clutch that makes things a bit hard for the drive. Body roll around the corners is unavoidable in the MU-7 but the car never showed any signs of struggle. The 5-speed gearbox gets good ratios to offer minimum gear changes in the traffic and longer top gear to gulp down highway miles. The MU-7 acted as the perfect mile-muncher offering less stress and more comfort to the driver and the passengers.
The top variant of the Isuzu MU-7 gets 2-DIN music system with USB/Aux-in/Bluetooth connectivity, rear camera, 7-inch touchscreen display, rooftop display unit, leather seats, dual AC with 2nd and 3rd row AC vents, ABS with EBD, dual airbags and remote keyless entry. Though the feature list covers most of the creature comforts, neglecting some of the obvious features in the segment like steering-mounted controls and Auto AC are questionable.
Isuzu MU-7 ticks all the boxes for a spacious SUV with incredible road presence. But when you are going against the likes of Toyota Fortuner and Ssangyong Rexton which offer better features at the same price range, the MU-7 looks under-featured. But the MU-7 offers a durable engine, great build quality and a gigantic car to satiate your ego and more.