If you’re out looking for a big, burly, seven-seat SUV for Rs 25-30 lakh, Isuzu might just have the right model for you, the MU-X, which has been launched at a starting price of Rs 23.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). It steps in place of the MU-7 as Isuzu’s flagship in India, and is shooting straight for a slice of the Toyota Fortuner’s and Ford Endeavour’s pie. But does it have the vital stats to hold its ground against these heavyweights?
There’s no doubt that all three contenders here are huge, but, at nearly 4.90m, it’s the Ford Endeavour that is the longest here; not that the 4.82m-long MU-X will be easier to park. The Toyota Fortuner measures the least here at 4.79m.
The three SUVs are neck-and-neck in terms of width, with the Ford and the Isuzu spanning an identical 1.86m, just 5mm more than the Fortuner.
It’s a similar story with their heights, wherein the three are millimetres apart; the MU-X being taller than the Endeavour and the Fortuner by just 3mm and 5mm respectively.
Fat, high-profile tyres are, again, unsurprisingly common on all contenders, as they should help the SUVs take lots of beating from our cratered roads. The India-bound MU-X is expected to come shod with 255/65 R17 tyres, which are the smallest ones here. On the other hand, the Fortuner and the Endeavour come with slightly larger 265/60 R18 tyres on their fully loaded variants.
To shift all their bulk and heft, what these SUVs need is a lot of pulling power, which they get from big, industrial turbo-diesel motors. Of the lot, the MU-X is likely to get a 3.0-litre diesel engine that produces 177hp and 380Nm and is paired with a five-speed automatic gearbox. Now, for those who remember, this is the same powertrain that lugged the MU-7 around, though it was a 163hp version of the motor. Since we are looking at a large-displacement, automatic SUV, we have considered the diesel automatic variants of the Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Endeavour here; the more powerful 3.2-litre motor in the case of the Ford.
Among the Isuzu’s rivals here, it’s clearly the Ford that has the upper hand in terms of outright grunt. Its 200hp and 470Nm overshadow the numbers of the Isuzu by quite a lot.
While the Toyota may look a touch humble against the Endeavour, at 177hp and 450Nm, it produces the same power, but a lot more torque than the MU-X, that too from a smaller engine.
Sticking with the Fortuner and the MU-X, what works in their favour is that both can be had in 2WD and 4WD avatars (the Endeavour 3.2 comes only in 4×4). This means, you can have all the presence of a large SUV, plus the (relative) efficiency of a 2WD SUV.
The price you pay
Here’s an area where the MU-X has a sizeable advantage over the Fortuner and the Endeavour. WIth the 2WD variant priced at Rs 23.99 lakh, and the range-topping 4WD variant costing Rs 25.99 lakh, the Isuzu MU-X undercuts the Toyota Fortuner 2.8 Auto by about Rs 6 lakh and also the Ford Endeavour 3.2 Auto by Rs 4-6 lakh, depending on the variant. (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi).