We’ve long been awaiting confirmation that the body-on-frame Isuzu MU-X is heading to South Africa, and now our sister publication, Leisure Wheels, is reporting that the KB-based SUV will touch down on local shores in the first quarter of 2018.
First, the MU-X found itself on the cover of the November issue of Leisure Wheels, and now that report is online (read the full story here), with the publication predicting that the Isuzu-badged SUV – which was unveiled in its current form back in late 2013 – will fare better in SA than its Chevrolet Trailblazer cousin.
Of course, back in May, General Motors announced that it would cease operations in South Africa, with the Chevrolet brand to be phased out of the local market at the end of 2017. Isuzu Motors then revealed its intention to purchase the Struandale plant in Port Elizabeth as well as GM’s 30% shareholding in Isuzu Trucks South Africa. And that has seemingly opened the door for Isuzu to finally offer an SUV in South Africa again (remember the Isuzu Frontier?).
Set to take the fight to the big-selling Toyota Fortuner, the increasingly popular Ford Everest (which enjoyed its highest-ever sales tally in November 2017) and the new Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, the top-spec versions of the seven-seater MU-X offered in overseas markets use the KB’s 3,0-litre turbodiesel mill – which makes 130 kW and 430 N.m (the local version of the bakkie churns out 380 N.m) rather than the Trailblazer’s 144 kW/500 N.m 2,8-litre oil-burner. A 1,9-litre turbodiesel is also available in markets such as Thailand. Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are offered, along with the option of all-wheel drive.
Local specifications, powertrain options and – crucially – pricing will likely be revealed closer to the expected launch of the Isuzu MU-X early in 2018.