India is a market that no one can afford to ignore any more and the latest entrant in our market is Isuzu. Isuzu is a Japanese car, commercial vehicle and heavy truck manufacturing company, based in Tokyo. It is also famous for making diesel engines and in India it supplies engines to the HM Ambassador plus it is a partner in a joint venture with Swaraj Mazda. In India it has brought its SUV and pickup range which have a big following in many other markets worldwide. Isuzu has opened its first dealership in Hyderabad and team Gaadi went there to have a close look at the Isuzu MU-7 and bring you this detailed report.
Isuzu MU-7 exterior
One thing that the MU-7 has in bucket loads is presence. Tons of it. It is probably the beefiest SUV in India and looks bigger than any of its rivals which is a plus point. The MU-7 is basically the wagon version of the D-MAX pickup and is called the Isuzu Alterra in some countries. This butch looking SUV is along the lines of the Force One and Toyota Fortuner. In fact in styling terms it is a lot closer to the Force One and just like the One it is a old school SUV with loads of presence. The side view makes the car look really long.
The front is our best part of the looks with a mean looking face that looks like its ready to swallow everything in its path. Surprisingly the rear styling is soft and rather conservative. We like the hood scoop, aggressive front bumper and the chrome grille. As we have earlier said the styling is pure old-school SUV especially with its big wheel arches and roof rails.
The MU-7 has a gross vehicle weight of 2515 kg and with a length of 4955 mm you cannot mistake it for anything else on the road. Despite the 'don't mess with me' front the rear is a lot soft and is simple looking. Build quality is great and it feels as tough as a battle tank and with Isuzu having worked on improving the appearance of the MU-7 to make it more plush, the overall effect is impressive. We like our SUV's to be big and you cannot get bigger than this, in fact this is a huge SUV that even dwarfs the Toyota Fortuner! Some serious brownie points earned here.
Isuzu MU-7 interior
The interior is just like the exterior i.e. simple and slightly old-school. The design of the dash is not futuristic but everything is simple to use and there are lots of storage palaces. The MU-7's interior though lacks some of the premium feel which is present in its rivals like the SsangYong Rexton. Isuzu has tried to improve the interior ambience by giving it more features. It is well equipped as the MU-7 has plush leather seats and a great sound system plus a rear entertainment system which contains screens for rear passengers. We liked the seats which are comfortable and not very hard.
When talking about its seats it leads to the best thing about MU-7 which is its space as there lots of it inside. Thanks to a wheelbase of 3050 mm the MU-7 liberates tonnes of legroom and headroom. The second row is the most spacious in its class and even the third row is comfortable. Thigh support is decent on the second row and the whole cabin has an airy feeling to it. Overall Isuzu has clearly worked hard to make it plush on the inside and it has worked though design is clearly looking a bit old.
Isuzu MU-7 engine
Isuzu is known for making tough, sturdy and high performing diesel engines. The MU-7 is powered by a 2999 cc turbo diesel engine which makes 163PS at 3600 rpm and a plentiful 360Nm of torque. Performance despite the weight is very good as it does 0-100 kmph in about 10.7 seconds and a top speed of 175 kmph. This will enable it to have sufficient power and will haul this beast well and truly on and off the road. The MU-7 comes with a 5-speed manual gearbox and is available only in 4x2 guise for now.
The Isuzu MU-7 is priced at Rs 22.35 lakhs (ex-showroom Hyderabad) and looks Isuzu’s best bet for India due to its big SUV looks. For now all the Isuzu launches will come in via CKD route and will be assembled at Hindustan Motors' Chennai plant. Isuzu soon also plans to get a 4x4 variant of the MU-7 to attract hardcore off-road enthusiasts.
Overall the Isuzu MU-7 is a good package and is pukka SUV with its enormous size, presence. It is roomy, well built and will appeal to the SUV buyers a lot though as always it will have to face some stiff competition. The Toyota Fortuner is its toughest rival but the much cheaper SsangYong Rexton also will compete with it. There is also the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport which just like the MU-7 will appeal to people looking for an exclusive SUV. The MU-7 is not perfect but ticks some crucial boxes for itself and we feel this big SUV has what it takes to carve its own space in the SUV segment in India.
For all the pictures and specification sheet of the MU-7 see below