Isuzu seven-seater is now better off-road with additional diff-lock option.
To compete with Toyota’s Fortuner is virtually impossible, but Isuzu has done its MU-X no favours, by not having a rear differential lock option.
For true off-road explorers and gravel travellers, a rear differential lock is crucial. With good reason too. If you wish to launch a boat on a treacherous slipway, with a 4x2 MU-X, you’ll feel a lot more secure about doing that with a rear-locker engaged.
Although traction control systems are increasingly becoming more sophisticated and better at sensing terrain and managing wheelspin, they can still be tardy and reduce power when it is required. There are instances in highly technical off-road driving, where a locked differential cannot be beaten.
Crawling over slow, rocky terrain – or having to climb acute angle deep sand corners, are two instances where having a locked, equal, torque distribution between the rear wheels is decisive.
Isuzu has finally recognised that if it wishes potential buyers to consider the MU-X as a Fortuner alternative of sorts, it must service the local demand for a lockable rear differential.
That solution is now available, as an option on both 4x2 and 4x4 MU-X variants. This new rear differential is supplied by American automotive component supplier, Eaton, and it is very clever mechanical device which is partly autonomous in its operation.
Working as a limited-slip differential in default mode, the MU-X’s Eaton locker senses when there is a wheel speed discrepancy of more than 100rpm between the rear wheels. This wheel rotation differences triggers a clutch pack which engages full locking function on the rear axle, giving a true 50/50 torque split between the wheels.
At speeds above 30 kph, the Eaton differential automatically disengages and reverts into its default setting. Priced at R11 500, the lockable rear differential will be a very welcome option to followers of the Isuzu brand who wish to experience their MU-X SUVs are true exploration and adventure vehicles.