The new 2022 Isuzu MU-X looks more like the kind of seven-seater SUV that you'd expect to see doing school drop-offs than the previous model, which looked larger, boxier and more ‘off-roady'. But this is still very much an off-roader if you get the 4×4 option!
So let's find out how it gets on with our BabyDrive testing…
The main thing I was concerned about was whether they'd kept the brilliant dashboard cup holders!! They are still there thankfully so we can all relax and look at the rest of the car!!
While the washing machine style aircon dial is gone from the dashboard, Isuzu has retained the easy to use and minimal dash, which makes it simple to jump in and go without feeling overcomplicated.
There are some nice features in the top-spec LS-T model that I have tested like heated and electronically adjusted front seats too. It did take me a little while to find a comfy position so it would have been good if there were memory buttons too, because my husband also took ages to get comfy and I had to again spend time putting my seat back how I wanted!
There is a new 9-inch media screen in the top two models, the LS-U and LS-T, and a 7-inch screen in the bottom spec LS-M model. All have wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the bigger screen has sat-nav built in.
You can control some of the media system features from the buttons on the left of the steering wheel but I found there was a delay of a good few seconds which I found really frustrating and had to compensate for.
When it comes to the back seat, things are a little different compared to before. The previous model Isuzu MU-X was one of the few cars with three ISOFix across the second-row seats. In the new 2022 Isuzu MU-X, there are ISOFix in the two outer second-row seats and top tether anchorages on the back of all three second-row seatbacks.
Similar to the old MU-X, the top tether anchorages are quite far down the seatbacks, so there are some considerations for installing child seats, for some rear-facing child seats and capsules you will need an extension strap and when the third-row seats are folded flat then it is quite hard to access the top tether anchorages as the seats partially cover them, so it is best to install your child seats before filling your boot with all your camping gear!
There are no top tether anchorages in the third-row seats so you can't install child seats back there. I'd hoped Isuzu would try to match the Ford Everest with third-row anchorages.
I could fit three child seats across the second-row seats, the seat is also spacious and wide enough that I could also fit between two child seats, or in an outer seat beside two child seats.
The third-row seats are really spacious too. Hubby could fit back there comfortably and he's 186cm, so there is plenty of room for the in-laws when they visit or your lanky teenager and their friend!
The window in the third row has changed shape and doesn't wrap around the back of the car like the previous model, however I found visibility was better when seated in the third row as the visibility is now forward.
Knee, head and kick room are fantastic in the third row and that carries throughout the new MU-X. We could fit hubby in the third row, a rear-facing child seat in the second row and someone as tall as hubby in the front passenger seat.
You still have to uninstall a child set from the second-row seats to climb through to the third-row seats though.
The boot of the new 2022 MU-X has changed in design as well as size. The raised box that used to be at the opening end of the boot floor is now gone and there is just this underfloor storage area, which we found really handy for separating things you don't want damaged or to roll around in the boot.
The floor of the boot is now flat which is much better for loading prams etc in and out and better for transporting your family dog. Things are less likely to just roll out onto the floor when you open it now too!
From empty with the third row folded, the boot now holds nineteen re-usable shopping bags, which is one more than the Ford Everest and matches the Toyota Kluger. The old MU-X would hold seventeen bags, comparable to the Mazda CX-9, Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Fortuner and Toyota Prado that also hold seventeen. The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport holds 16 bags.
When the third-row seats are in use, the 2022 Isuzu MU-X will hold six shopping bags and a twin pram or stroller with now fit in the boot with one bag. That's a good improvement over the old MU-X and comparable to the Mazda CX-9 or Toyota Fortuner, which will both also hold six shopping bags. The Ford Everest will hold one more than the Isuzu and the Toyota Kluger will hold two more. Both the Pajero Sport and Toyota Prado will hold three.
There is lots of storage throughout the new 2022 MU-X too. Cup and phone holders in the third-row.
The second-row passengers have cup holders that fold out of the central armrest that stashes away in the seatback, as well as map pockets, door bins, two USB ports and a phone shelf in the back of the central console box.
In the front, the storage box is gone from the top of the dashboard, which leaves two small glove boxes and a glasses case in the ceiling.
The central console box is small and there is a phone tray in front of the gear lever.
The door bins are a good size in all doors and will hold large refillable water bottles.
There are air vents in all three rows of seats in the MU-X.
In the second and third rows, the vents are in the ceiling so you do have to set the direction of the fans manually before you head off if you have little passengers in the back. There are controls in the ceiling for bigger rear passengers or you can turn the rear air-conditioning on and off with a button by the driver's right knee.
The New 2022 Isuzu MU-X has eight airbags, including a central airbag between the two front seats as well as curtain airbags that extend to the third-row passengers.
The 2022 MU-X has a 3.5-tonne braked towing capacity which makes it a class leader for towing. So not only will its new more SUV-like look and feel make it more at home in the suburbs, when you head off on family camping trips it will be great off-road and for towing the caravan or camper trailer too. The MU-X comes with trailer sway control as standard. We'll give this a test later in the year when we'll take it on a family holiday!
The new 2022 Isuzu MU-X has a much-improved drive, there is a softness to it and it doesn't feel as top-heavy in the corners. The turning circle is 20cm smaller than the previous model MU-X which I've found makes it easy to drive around town and to manoeuvre in school and supermarket car parks It feels much smaller than the previous model in that respect, even though it is slightly bigger.
Visibility is very good down the sides of the vehicle using the side mirrors however when loaded up with child seats you can't see anything out of the back, so I relied heavily on the side mirrors and reversing camera. It doesn't have the ability to show the reversing camera while driving forwards, unlike some SUVs.
The reversing camera image fills the whole screen which is good. There are front and rear parking sensors in the top two models, LS-U and LS-T, but the LS-U just has rear parking sensors.
You can mute the parking sensors with a button in the central console.
When it comes to safety the new Isuzu MU-X is right up there with all the new safety technology you would expect in a modern family SUV, including blind-spot monitoring (BSM), lane-keep assist (LKA), forward collision warning (FCW), day and night auto emergency braking (AEB) and turn assist AEB, post-collision braking, driver attention assist, emergency lane keeping (ELK), lane departure prevention (LDP), unintended acceleration mitigation, rear cross-traffic alert (RCTA) and lane departure warning (LDW) to name some.
When it comes to fuel economy, the new 2022 Isuzu MU-X also has an 80-litre fuel tank which we have found pretty good this week and after doing over 150km on the motorway the distance to empty readout still said over 1000km of fuel to go. After driving round town it started using more diesel but still added up to more than 1000km on a tank.
Saving the best 'til last is the new digital speedo! Finally… woop woop! There is also speed sign recognition so it is much easier to stick within the speed limits and you can even press a button that won't let the MU-X go over the limit on the last sign it recognised.