The MU-X is built on a commercial-vehicle platform and is designed to be capable off road, rather than sharp and precise on the road. It does not handle badly, but keen drivers won’t take much pleasure from steering it.
Nevertheless body roll is reasonably well controlled, and while the steering is slightly vague, effort is light.
The new engine produces considerable grunt, with good thrust available as soon as you press the accelerator pedal. Six-speed auto and manual gearboxes, also introduced with the upgrade of February 2017, both work well with the engine. The auto has a sequential shift mode that lifts the fun factor.
Off-road, you can take a 4WD MU-X quite a long way. That means it can help families enjoy hard-to-reach camping locations and the like, which may be beyond the capacities of alternative SUVs with car-like, independent rear suspension and without dual-range gearing.
Any 4WD MU-X has plenty of ground clearance, and supplies a clever Hill Descent Control that is easy to use. Long suspension travel helps keep all wheels on the ground. Those wheels are placed relatively close to the bumpers at each end of the car, for short overhangs that are less likely to hang up on steep obstacles. Electronic traction control works quite well off-road also (no rear diff lock is available, even as an option). In an auto MU-X, a sequential shift mode allows you to select and hold a preferred gear in challenging going.