Here’s what the 2022 Isuzu MU-X means for hardcore four-wheel-drive fanatics.
The 2022 Isuzu MU-X promises to be more capable off-road than its predecessor, with plenty of technology – and extra mechanical ability – that will likely give it a leg-up in the four-wheel-drive world.
As with the previous generation Isuzu MU-X, this new model is destined to be a favourite for those who want to do some four-wheel driving, camping, and caravanning.
Off-road traction aids
This is an important improvement for the 2022 Isuzu MU-X, bringing it up to speed with its rivals – as well as its stablemate D-Max ute.
A new locking rear differential (the same as that fitted to the D-Max) works in conjunction with a part-time four-wheel system: two-wheel drive for on-road use, shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive, and a low-range transfer case.
The Toyota Fortuner also uses a part-time four-wheel drive system (and the same Aisin six-speed automatic gearbox), while the Ford Everest uses a full-time four-wheel drive system.
The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport uses a unique Super Select four-wheel drive system which allows rear wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive.
Gearbox, transfer case, differential and low-range ratios all carry over from the previous generation Isuzu MU-X. Therefore, it has the same 33.3:1 crawl ratio.
Next to the locking differential button is something new for Isuzu: a ‘Rough Terrain Mode’ fine tunes off-road driving to better control momentum-sapping wheelspin in harder, more technical challenges. It’s similar to the TMS selectable driving modes in the Ford Everest, and the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport’s Off Road Modes.
Wheels and tyres
As with the new generation Isuzu D-Max, larger front brake discs means 16-inch wheels are no longer available for the 2022 Isuzu MU-X.
The range starts with a 17-inch alloy wheel and 255/65 R17 all-terrain tyres for the base model LS-M, growing to 18-inch alloys and 265/60 R18 highway-terrain tyres for the mid-grade LS-U.
Something new for the MU-X is a 20-inch alloy wheel for the range-topping LS-T, wrapped in 265/50 R20 highway-terrain rubber.
The five-link coil-sprung rear suspension is a similar setup to the previous generation Isuzu MU-X, but the coil springs and swaybars have been beefed up to accommodate the increased 3500kg towing capacity.
Up front, the same independent front suspension from the new Isuzu D-Max carries over, with higher-mounted upper control arms and improved driving characteristics. This also comes with an electrically-assisted steering system. Isuzu tells us there is better off-road articulation on offer, but we’re yet to be able to assess the new MU-X off-road.
Other details include thicker front CV shafts, a one-piece steel tail-shaft (rather than aluminium on the D-Max ute, to save weight and boost payload), a stronger front output shaft, and 1.5mm steel and 5mm plastic protection covers underneath.
The 2022 Isuzu MU-X has a much larger fuel tank capacity than before, increasing the bladder from 65 to 80 litres (now on par with the Toyota Fortuner). And more than the 76-litre tank in the new Isuzu D-Max.
Off-roaders and long distance drivers will appreciate the additional fuel tank capacity.
The 4JJ3-TCX 3.0-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engine shares the same bore and stroke as the old 4JJ1, but it carries plenty of important changes. There’s more power and torque available (140kW/450Nm, the same as the new Isuzu D-Max), and it’s also slightly more efficient according to Isuzu’s claimed fuel economy figures.
Compared to the combined fuel rating average claim of 8.3 litres per hundred kilometres for the the old MU-X, the new model is capable of slightly better in the same laboratory tests (7.9L/100km).
That means the 2022 Isuzu MU-X is technically capable of more than 1000 kilometres between refills in ideal conditions, provided you’re not too heavy on the throttle – and not towing or carrying a heavy load.
It’s also worth noting that the MU-X uses a diesel particulate filter in the exhaust system to keep emissions in check, and does not require a diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) such as Adblue. In more environmentally strict markets such as Europe, Isuzu uses a cleaner 1.9-litre turbo diesel engine.
The braked towing capacity has been increased from 3000kg to 3500kg for the new generation Isuzu MU-X, however there are some caveats.
We have a separate story that goes into more detail and compares all the Isuzu MU-X’s direct rivals. Click here for our detailed towing/payload comparison table.
It’s worth noting while the new 3500kg towing capacity might sound comparable to a Toyota LandCruiser or Nissan Patrol at first glance, the Gross Combination Mass (GCM) and (Gross Vehicle Mass) GVM means you can’t use maximum towing capacity and maximum payload at the same time.
The 2022 Isuzu MU-X gains the same 800mm wading depth as the new Isuzu D-Max (up from the 600mm wading depth for the previous generation Isuzu MU-X), thanks to a redesigned underbonnet air intake system.
There’s additional attention to detail with the differential breathers, which are routed up above the 800mm mark, to keep water out and oil in.
2022 Isuzu MU-X: Four-wheel-drive technology in detail