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2021 Isuzu MU-X: Next-generation SUV revealed in patent images

Wearing a similarly bluff front to the new D-Max but with more crossover-inspired styling, the next-generation Isuzu MU-X promises a similarly huge leap in safety and convenience features.

William Stopford
William Stopford

Isuzu’s redesigned rival for the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Ford Everest has been revealed in patent images from Japan.

The new D-Max is off to a strong start, with some variants sold out until next February. Isuzu Ute Australia will no doubt want to see a similarly strong reception for the next generation MU-X, its D-Max-based SUV.

Autoweek Netherlands has shared images of the redesigned MU-X from the Japanese Patent Office.

They reveal an SUV with a strong familial resemblance to its ute counterpart, with headlights and a grille that appear almost identical.

The front bumper, however, has a smoother, more car-like look.

That applies to the rest of the car, too. The wraparound rear window treatment of the current MU-X has been dialled all the way down. Instead of the rear passenger windows ending on the door, they continue to stretch towards the D-pillar while the rearmost window only slightly extends from the tailgate.

The rear features slimmer tail lights than the current MU-X and continues to eschew the D-Max’s vertically-oriented tail light assemblies for horizontal ones.

While the overall look is more crossover-like than before, the narrow and tall look when looking at the rear dead on makes it clear this is a ute-based SUV.

We expect the new MU-X to feature the new D-Max’s 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, which produces 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque and is mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Like the current MU-X or updated Toyota LandCruiser Prado, however, we expect the new model to be an auto-only proposition.

The MU-X will also undoubtedly include the comprehensive suite of safety features that’s been added to every new D-Max model. The suite, which Isuzu calls IDAS, comprises autonomous emergency braking, forward-collision warning, turn assist, traffic sign recognition, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive high-beam.

That’s a big step up from the current MU-X, which doesn’t even have automatic headlights. The new D-Max also adds a locking rear differential and an adjustable steering column, two features we also expect to see on the new MU-X.

The next MU-X should launch sometime next year or early the following year. We’ve contacted Isuzu Ute Australia to confirm when we should expect to see it.

The current MU-X was introduced in Australia just under a year and a half after its D-Max counterpart, back in late 2013. Despite its advanced age, the MU-X remains a strong seller.

Last year, Isuzu sold 8419 examples. That was more than the Ford Everest (5333), Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (6477), Toyota Fortuner (3033) and its now-defunct platform-mate, the Holden Trailblazer (2813). The only other off-road-ready SUV in its segment to outsell it was the Toyota LandCruiser Prado, with 18,355 sales.

That’s an impressive showing for the MU-X, particularly considering the outgoing D-Max didn’t pick up the silver medal for sales in its segment. It was outsold by four vehicles last year: the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi Triton and, narrowly, by the now-axed Holden Colorado.

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William Stopford
William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel (remember that?), briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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