Refreshed Isuzu MU-X on cards for SA?

Isuzu Motors SA recently introduced the option of a diff-lock on its MU-X, but now that production of the new-generation D-Max has begun in Thailand (from where the local-spec Adventure SUV is sourced) we could soon see the underrated 7-seater feature an updated look as it inches towards the end of its lifecycle...   

Following General Motors’ departure from the SA market at the end of 2017, Isuzu took ownership of the multinational’s former production facility in Port Elizabeth. With the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Isuzu introduced the MU-X (on which the former was based, anyway) in the local market in 2018. In fact, it was the first model that the (then) newly-formed Isuzu Motors SA – which finished runner-up to Volkswagen in the 2019/20 #CarsAwards Brand of the Year rankings – launched in Mzansi.

Although the sales figures of the MU-X pales into insignificance compared to those of its Toyota Fortuner arch-rival, Isuzu’s Adventure SUV was a finalist in its category of the Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank in 2018/19.  

As is the case with recent revisions to the current D-Max range, black trim features prominently on the Onyx.

Meanwhile, Isuzu Motors SA continues to produce the outgoing D-Max and will begin building the next-generation bakkie in Port Elizabeth next year. That means time is running out for the current-gen MU-X (which is, after all, based on the older bakkie’s design). Reports suggest its replacement will only be revealed next year; perhaps it will arrive in South Africa in 2022.

But there is life in the Japanese firm's Adventure SUV yet. Isuzu recently released an update to its MU-X in Thailand, the most stylish (and flagship) version of which is dubbed the Onyx (shown here). Depending on current stock levels of the Adventure SUV in South Africa and local demand for the model during its run-out phase, a mild series update or special editions such as this one could be introduced in the local market in the near future.

The design of the Onyx derivative's rear bumper is arguably sportier than that of the one at the front.

The exterior look of the Onyx features a plethora of black addenda: its sportier bumpers feature dark accent lines, which match the roof rails, side-window- and wheel-arch trims, as well as the grille finish. Even the 19-inch alloys have black detailing.  

Inside, piano-black trim dominates the fascia and the door trims feature LED ambient lighting fore and aft. What’s more, a few small, but nonetheless nifty, features have been added…

According to the Thailand brochure of the Onyx flagship, the Bi-LED headlamps feature auto high/low beam technology and the auto-dimming rear-view mirror incorporates a forward-facing dash camera, while the seats are upholstered in Cool Max (we assume a leather-like) material, which is claimed to “reduce heat accumulation”.

Note how the sporty black instrument cluster complements the piano-black accents on the MU-X's fascia...

In terms of the flagship MU-X's infotainment specification, we don’t believe the Onyx’s built-in touchscreen will be available in South Africa, but perhaps the current model’s optional 9-inch system with 8 speakers, which includes navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and works in conjunction with a reverse-view camera, could become a standard feature.

If Isuzu Motors SA confirms an update (or special editions) of the MU-X – its unlikely that the name "Onyx" would be suitable for the market, but still – we'll be sure to let you know.

New Isuzu mu-X Specs & Prices in South Africa

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