Isuzu has previewed the next-generation MU-X off-road SUV in Thailand, which looks as if it will move further away it from its ute-based brethren, the D-Max.
While the second-generation Isuzu MU-X has taken a step away from D-Max in terms of design, it's still based upon its ute sibling.
That said, there's no doubt that this latest iteration is a huge step forward from its predecessor, and a definite side-step away from the D-Max.
Despite Thai MU-X models being slated for a November on-sale date, an Australian arrival isn’t expected until the second half of 2021.
Isuzu Australia has just launched the Onyx special editions of the current-generation for the interim.
The 2021 Isuzu MU-X styling now stands on its own, with slimmer LED headlights, a high-placed chrome grille, high waistline profile, a different wheel design and a vastly different tailgate design at the rear.
Less is changed on the MU-X’s interior, which appears similar to what you’d find in the new-gen D-Max.
That means 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring, a small digital display within the instrument cluster and an electric parking brake.
Depending on specification, other features include dual-zone climate control, multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifters, power-adjustable ventilated seats, USB-A and 12v charging ports, reclining third-row, electric tailgate, remote engine start and ambient lighting.
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The new 4JJ3 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine - a thorough overhaul of the long-serving 4JJ1 in the current MU-X - will be offered, boasting the same 140kW/450Nm outputs as D-Max.
A six-speed torque converter automatic transmission will feature, though nothing is mentioned about a manual offering as yet.
A smaller 1.9-litre twin-turbo diesel engine is also on the spec sheets, but is an unlikely starter for Australia.
The 4x4 version of the MU-X will likely score a differential lock as per the D-Max, and will also receive multiple traction control modes for varied off-road situations.
Isuzu has increased the fuel tank capacity to 80 litres, too, up from 65 litres in its predecessor.
While the MU-X will borrow the ladder-frame chassis of the D-Max, ride comfort is improved with the use of a five-link rear suspension with coil springs in place of leaf springs.
Isuzu also says roll rigidity and drive stability is improved when cornering, thanks to a widening of rear suspension links.
Safety in the 2021 MU-X gets a major upgrade with a host of additions such as lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, rear-cross traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring.
No information has been given regarding the Australian market example at the moment, but we're not expecting an Aussie touch-down until well into next year.
To see more of the new 2021 Isuzu MU-X, click through the photo gallery at the top of this story.