Isuzu MU-7 4×2 Automatic – Test Drive Review


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The Isuzu MU-7 is a wagon based on Isuzu’s D-Max pickup truck. The MU-7 is a 7-seater Sports Utility Vehicle which was launched in Thailand in the year 2004. The MU-7 has the same front fascia as the D-Max pickup truck but has a covered rear end instead of a truck bed. This MU-7 is available only in some respective countries of Southeast Asia and it is called as Isuzu Alterra in the Philippines. The Isuzu MU-7 Manual was introduced in India in the year 2013 while the new Automatic variant was introduced in 2015. The Isuzu MU-7 Automatic is offered in BS4 variant and comes in only 4×2 (Rear Wheel Drive) drive train. We put it through some serious offroadings to find out how it really lives upto its name. Read below to know more about it.

Price of Isuzu MU-7 4×2 Automatic – Rs. 23.77 Lakhs (Ex-Showroom, Pune)

Exterior Design: This SUV is huge and long. It’s not compact and stands out of the other cars and does not fail to impress you with its absolute dimensions. This SUV also has a humongous road presence and everybody just keeps starring at it all the time. This automatic variant carries the same design as that of its manual variant. The design is up to the mark and the car looks decent from all angles. The design is kept simple and the SUV looks muscular in its manly outfit. The front resembles the D-Max pickup truck’s front fascia. The headlights of this giant SUV are rectangular in shape and sit straight with integrated indicators above them. The headlight assembly is assembled in three rows – the indicator, the projector headlamp and the normal regular headlamp. The headlight has a good amount of throw of light at nights and makes all things pretty visible for the driver. Between the headlights sits a two slat chrome grille with Isuzu logo fitted in the middle. The front bumpers are redesigned to add some sporty look to the car and are fitted with round fog lamps at both the sides. Below the fog lamps, there are chrome inserts which are placed at the edges of the either sides of the bumper. The front bonnet of this SUV gets an intercooler intake vent which also gets some chrome-like silver-ish inserts again. The side of the car is long and the doors are big too and they get chrome inserts below which looks nice. The ORVMs are treated with chrome again and get integrated turn indicators. Door handles too are in chrome. The R16 alloy wheels look great with those double sided six star design. The rear stands tall and looks cool. The taillights are designed neatly and are stacked vertically and provide a proper visibility to the rear commuters. The rear license plate is surrounded by chrome on all its sides and the boot door handle too is in chrome. On the roof at the right extreme end is the antenna for the radio and sat-nav of this SUV. The roof rails are of body colored and add up in making this SUV look more bold and beautiful. The front and rear bumpers are also surrounded with skirts which end up in making this car look more sporty and aggressive. Overall, the Isuzu MU-7 looks muscular, aggressive and has the presence to go well with your personality.

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Interior Design: The MU-7 is big from the inside as it is from the outside. The car’s interiors aren’t new and are still carried from its BS3 manual variant. The giant doors and the side steps of this beast help you to get into this car. As you get into the car, you will notice the dashboard is finished in a dual tone, beige and black color scheme. The dashboard and the inside door handles get wood garnishing finished in high gloss lacquer. It looks premium. The seats are super comfortable and the interior designers of this car haven’t left any point to be complained about its headroom and legroom. There is ample of space inside and the third row seats are comfortable too and offer a decent amount of headroom and legroom. The front seats are wide and are very comfortable too. The driver seat’s height cannot be increased or decreased, yet it provides a proper and clean road’s view to the driver of this SUV. The quality of the materials inside is decent and overall fit and finish is also fine. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather and also gets a touch of aluminium covering and it offers ample of grip to hold and steer. The three spoke steering wheel also gets steering mounted audio and telephony controls. Make sure you get their placement set in your mind as they aren’t backlit and at nights you will have to blindly operate them. Each and every back seat is provided with individual AC controls, ceiling AC vents and is also provided with storage compartments for bottles. The middle row doors get an extra foldable bottle holder which we liked the most in this car. The car is equipped with Kenwood’s screen adjustable 2-DIN audio DVD system with touch screen, Bluetooth, USB and AUX-IN. The touch screen is very sensitive and you don’t need to struggle a lot to select between the various options. The speakers are bang on and don’t let you down during your both short and long distance journeys. The beige colored leather upholstery looks premium and rich and is of top quality. The boot offers a lot of space and all of your shopping bags can fit in there. Everyone gets a big window in this XL sized SUV but only the last rear glass panel has been curved in which reduces the rear seat passengers view. Nonetheless, this SUV looks decent from the inside but the interiors could have been better but the seats and your overall short and long distances will be full of comfort and happy smiles.

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Engine & Performance: The Isuzu MU-7 Automatic gets a 3L, in-line 4-cylinder, inter-cooled VGS Turbo diesel engine. This turbo diesel engine produces maximum power of 163 PS at 3600 rpm and maximum torque of 333 Nm at 1600-3200 rpm. This 3L engine is mated to a 4-speed automatic gearbox. Shift into ‘D’ drive mode and foot the accelerator and the car moves immediately. The car has no turbo lag as the VGS keeps the torque curve flat and keeps the car moving smoothly. The gear shifts happen smoothly and to accompany them, there is a lot of turbo noise and the turbo helps a lot in keeping the car moving smoothly. The car misses out on an uphill assist but the car doesn’t rolls backwards at all while being on an incline. This car weighs 1945 kgs and the engine yet feels smooth and responsive.

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The car performs well in all the power ranges. The car has no vibrations and the gear ratios are short which helps in cruise the car comfortably in city traffics. You cruise normally or are on an adrenaline rush, the turbo always makes the noise. The numbers not only looks great on the papers but they are great in real too. We could do 0-60 km/h run in 5.11 seconds (VBox tested) and the 0-100 km/h sprint was achieved in an unbelievable 11.3 seconds (VBox tested) only. I was set back surprised when I got the VBox data. It truly impressed me a lot and I had a smile on my face. This SUV does a top speed of 165 km/h which is not at all bad for a 2 ton automatic vehicle. The car’s 3050 mm wheelbase helps it a lot to stay stable at higher speeds. The car feels planted well and performs well too. Overall, I was very much impressed with the performance of its engine. It performs smoothly and is never in any hurry and just keeps going and going like a pro.

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Driving Dynamics: When it comes to the driving dynamics of this big boy’s toy, it felt much planted on the straights. The lane changes were made with an ease without any struggle, wheelbase matters. The hydraulic steering is light and we did not encounter any difficulty in driving this big toy through the city traffics. Maneuverability is an easy task in this car even though it’s long and big with a minimum turning radius of 6.2 m. the car also gets reverse parking cameras which help in to park this car easily.  The car is equipped with independent double wishbone with torsion bar spring suspension at the front and with rigid suspension with gas-sealed, twin-tube shock absorbers at the rear. They never unsettled any of us and our passengers anytime. Around the corners, the car was stable and not much body roll was felt.During off roads, when the car was put through some serious paces and this car being a RWD was capable to conquer every terrain. It went flat over many potholes and only the suspensions with those big R16 tyres were seen moving. It did not even unsettle any of us. The car gets disc brakes on the front and drum brakes at the rear. The brake test was performed to check if they were actually able to get this car to a standstill properly. From 100-0 km/h, the car came to a proper standstill in 3.4 seconds (VBox tested) and it took 47.24 m to stop. We don’t always cruise at 100 km/h and so 60-0 km/h brake test was also carried out and it stopped in 2.1 seconds (VBox tested) in 17.92 m. These VBox brake test numbers are again impressive and the car has very effective brakes and the ABS with EBD makes an effort to get this car to a standstill without any drags and drifts. Handbrake is also very effective. Being an automatic, it also does a burnout easily. The car sits on a ladder-on-frame chassis instead of a monocoque chassis. But, the company, Isuzu has managed well to combine the automatic gearbox, suspensions with this chassis and everything works seamlessly. The power delivery to the rear wheels from the longitudinally fitted engine is quick and responsive. The car returned us a mileage of 9 km/l in city and of 12 km/l on highway and such numbers is good for such huge SUV. While cruising on highways, the wind noise was kept in control and everything was felt at its place during off roads. There was no rattling noise of any plastic material/part in the car as fit and finish of the materials is top notch.  Driving dynamics of this car are thus on the positive side even when it’s a rear wheel drive SUV.

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Safety & After Sales Service: In terms of safety, the car gets dual front airbags and ABS with EBD. Isuzu established itself in India in 2012. They came up with the MU-7 manual SUV in 2013 and now they have come up with its automatic variant and have placed it in the premium segment and have kept the manual variant in the higher segment. Since the manual MU-7’s launch, Isuzu didn’t do pretty well with their SUV, but they have been doing very great with their pickups. The company now has 27 dealerships across India and has started to do well with the SUVs. The MU-7 is being assembled at the Chennai’s plant of Hindustan Motors. The quality of after sales service at these limited service stations is satisfying.

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Verdict: The Isuzu MU-7 Automatic excels in terms of design, comfort, performance and ride quality. The car is huge and sometimes it becomes too big to handle on busy roads or while parking it on the roadside. The car has pleasant interiors and the automatic transmission offers a lot of convenience. The car is available in only 2WD option and so it’s less sport oriented and more utility oriented with the space it offers. Not every SUV gets to go where it actually belongs to so it seems like this MU-7 automatic will be an every practical driver’s choice. It is not cheap but the SUV offers a lot of practicality and is surely a game changer in its segment if other choices don’t fit in your budget.

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Isuzu MU-7 4×2 Automatic Technical Data:
* Engine: 3L, 2999cc, in-line 4-cylinder, Inter-cooled VGS Turbo diesel
* Power: 163 PS @ 3600 rpm
* Torque: 333 Nm @ 1600-3200 rpm
* Transmission: 4-speed Automatic
* 0-60 km/h: 5.11 seconds (VBox Tested)
* 0-100 km/h: 11.3 seconds (VBox Tested)
* 100-0 km/h: 3.4 seconds (VBox Tested)
* 60-0 km/h: 2.1 seconds (VBox Tested)
* Top Speed: 165 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 9 km/l (City), 12 km/l (Highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: Independent double wishbone with torsion bar spring (Front), Rigid suspension with gas-sealed, twin-tube shock absorbers (Rear)
* Tyres: 245/70R16
* Brakes: Disc (Front), Drum (Rear), ABS with EBD
* Safety: Dual Airbags, ABS with EBD

Isuzu MU-7 4×2 Automatic Dimensions:
* Overall Length: 4955 mm
* Overall Width: 1800 mm
* Overall Height: 1805 mm
* Wheelbase: 3050 mm
* Track Front: 1520 mm
* Track Rear: 1525 mm
* Turning Radius: 6.2 metres
* Ground Clearance: 210 mm
* Kerb Weight: 1945 kgs
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 76 litres

VBOX Equipments provided by – ZEN Microsytems

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