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From eSwatini to Sun-City with love- thank you Isuzu MU-X

THE ISUZU MU-X picks up where the Chevy Trailblazer left off!

From eSwatini to Sun-City with love- thank you Isuzu MU-X

It boasts convenience, comfort and can go-anywhere from eSwatini to Sin City (oops my bad Sun City) with aplomb.

 The MU-X is one of the new generation of SUVs, and picks up where the discontinued Chevrolet Trailblazer left off. Based on the extremely competent Isuzu KB (now D-Max); it provides compelling argument for those in need of an ‘affordable’ bakkie-based SUV.

Headed to the eSwatini for the annual pilgrimage of the Mtn Bushfire, this four-wheel drive version relies on Isuzu’s easy to use Terrain Command 4×4 system with electronically selected two and four-wheel drive high-range modes, or 4×4 low-range for more challenging off-road driving. To allow the MU-X to be more SUV friendly, Isuzu has trimmed the wheelbase by 250mm to help with manoeuvrability, as well as added multi-link coil suspension in the rear allowing for a smoother ride.

On and off road especially in the dorpie Carolina (Mpumalanga) it went seamless, as I and my traveling crew, went for a break and coffee. Yes, the cops where helpful on advising which route to use, considering an irritating but expected long queue at the Swaziland main border.

Powered by a 3.0-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel mill that produces 130kw and 380nm, whilst being paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission which has a sequential sport mode, the MU-X in terms of off-roading ability, boasts a 600mm wading depth, and 230mm of ground clearance, whilst approach and departure angles stand at 24 and 25.1 degrees respectively; meaning it will conquer pretty much anything you can throw at it. It also has a penchant for towing big loads without a fuss, with it capable of pulling 3 tons.

Unfortunately, my family did not adhere to my request to use the dust-laden Caraven since we were camping citing, long haul as the main reason. Bloody cowards…

The exterior styling of the MU-X is distinctly Isuzu. The chunky, aggressive lines of the chrome-trimmed front end continue through to the rear of the vehicle, punctuated by muscular wheel arches. Being based on the KB-bakkie, means that it shares much of its niceties with the big pickup. Specification levels are good, and include LED daytime running lights and Bi-LED projector headlamps, aluminium side-steps, stylish 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass and LED tail lights.

Oh, before one forgets if you have downloaded too many songs on your USB, like I did, don’t bother ‘cos only one or two songs will be played, that’s if your lucky.

This is despite the latest features such as the dash dominated by an easy-to-use 9-inch infotainment screen that incorporates satellite navigation, audio and communication systems that includes a DVD and MP3-compatible CD player, Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. There’s keyless-go, cruise control, climate control, leather seating, as well as electric adjustments for the driver’s seat too.

Yes, it’s a ‘4×4 as my better half’ reiterated, ‘expect such’, she went on after completing our registrations at the border and now headed towards the misty Mbabane surrounded by its majestic hills and valleys around 6pm, having left Jozi around 11am, as we clogged between 80 and 100km/per hour- an obvious reference to ‘Easy like a Sunday Morning’ a popular song made by Lionel Ritchie.

What happened after we left the Bushfire the other night shall remain in eSwatini, as the saying goes (what happens in Rome stays in China).

Talk of mountains and hills, for MU-X it was seamless as indicated in my previous stanza, as it is packed with an extensive range of active safety features, including ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA). This is complemented by Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Hill Descent Control (HDC) which can be engaged in low-range 4×4 mode.

Upon arrival at the secluded house perched in the thick bush, not far from the Mbabane Mall, our guest, his second in command a student’ and two of their Bullterrier dogs (to tell truth, they terrified me to such an extend I wanted out of that house) but the welcome was abundantly awesome and ended warming up to the dogs.  

Being late as it was they helped to unravel the tent on the grass and put it up in 30m. Walaaaa!

The cold Isibebe a local beer- came in handy, so did other forbidden drinks as we set next to the actual bushfire, enjoying pap and tomatoe gravy in preparation for a long next day. We interacted with nature and enjoyed a bath in the open, stru!

For my dear ISUZU MU-X it had packed all assortments from food & beverages, camping tents, chairs, blankets and medicinal stuff.      

As if that was not enough, we ended up in Sun City for the SAMA music awards the next weekend, so clogging was not a concern. So, next time you wanna hit the outskirts of your country get your MU-X it will be with you- for the long run…  

It offers a 5-year/120 000km bumper-to-bumper warranty and Isuzu Roadside Assistance, a 5-year/unlimited km anti-corrosion warranty and a 5-year/90 000km Service Plan.

It retails for R576 600

Verdict

Performance 1-10 (7)

Diesel 1-10 (6)

Image (The dusty but dependable Isuzu MU-X packed outside our hosts thick bush house in eSwatini).

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