Adventure drive in Isuzu's mu-X SUV

By Ntsako Mthethwa Time of article published Jun 6, 2019

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Cape Town - A road trip is a perfect break away from the everyday routine and we can all change that by heading out on an adventure of our own. Pack a bag, leave your troubles at home, keep your eyes on the road and enjoy good company.

Just recently, I embarked on a weekend getaway trip to the Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces. Organised by Khulekani on Wheels, we were a team of journalists, car enthusiasts, social media influencers and TV personalities.

The destinations were kept a secret, which made the entire trip rousing and remarkable.

Road trips and great cars go hand in hand hence Isuzu Motors SA had its new mu-X SUVs in 4x4 and 4x2 guise lined up for the journey.

First, a little info about the mu-X. This is Isuzu’s contender in the bakkie-based SUV stable where the Fortuner and Everest compete, and the Isuzu has gotten almost everything right with this package. It comes in two variants, 4x2 and 4x4 and both employ a 3.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 130kW of power and 380Nm of torque. Both make use of a six-speed automatic gearbox.

The mu-X seats seven, although the two back seats are best left for children because of their tight leg and head room.

Space is not an issue in the rest of the vehicle however, and the mu-X was able to accommodate four of us road trippers with ease. The boot, measured at 878 litres, also managed to gulp our luggage and other items such as cooler boxes and banners.

Arriving at the journey’s starting point in Cape Town, my group was assigned a 4x2 variant, which we at first had doubts about since we were told that there was a little bit of off road driving planned.

After the normal driver briefing, we made our way to Langebaan for lunch. The town is located in 120km north of Cape Town and has an interesting history. The lunch did not take too long and we made our way to Club Mykonos Resort for our overnight stay.

The resort makes a perfect holiday destination and features three tasteful accommodation offerings from the three star Athenian Cascades and Terraces units to the elegant comfort of the four star preferred units.

The following day brought a lengthy route to the Northern Cape, but the mu-X handled every task at hand with much ease.

On the road, the mu-X showed the necessary get up and go in all six gears although the engine felt a bit underpowered during hard acceleration so a little bit of patience is needed when overtaking. There is a bit of body roll when you throw the big SUV around corners – something that was frightening and uncomfortable when driving through the twisty roads.  

On the open road, the mu-X cruises nicely although some wind noise is evident at cruising speeds. It is not the most comfortable SUV on the market, and it can get jittery even over the smallest bumps, yet there were no harsh or violent jabs from the suspension.

The drive was enjoyable, thanks to the mu-X’s sound system, three USB charging ports for our phones and ample of storage pockets inside for water bottles. Our vehicle came fitted with the 6.5-ich touchscreen with frontloading DVD Player, MP3, Bluetooth, satellite navigation and rear-view camera.

It carried its functions very well, but the lack of Apple CarPlay compatibility disappointed us.

The drive to Sutherland lasted for close to two hours. Sutherland is a town in the Northern Cape Province and it lies in the western Roggeveld Mountains in the Karoo. Our overnight stay was at the beautiful Rogge Cloof.

The place makes a good stop for wine tasting, fat bike cycling, facilitated stargazing, history drive and walk, cheetah tracking,  game drive and fossil field outing and Salpeterkop volcano hike.

Our units were situated 11km from the main gate and roads on the reserve are gravel, where the mu-X felt quite at home. That said, the tail can get unstuck quite easily, given that it’s a rear-driven vehicle with a high centre of gravity.

However, thanks to its excellent ground clearance of 230mm, we were able to navigate through rocky obstacles. Yet you will be disappointed if you ever attempt to take it through the severest off-road terrains – you can leave that to the 4x4 mu-X.

Supper was prepared at the main gate and that meant driving in the dark for 11km, but thankfully the Isuzu’s Bi-LED headlights provided the finest lighting.

The next day’s cold morning was spent doing a game drive and before we knew it, it was time to head back to the Western Cape.

Arriving at the Le Pommier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch for lunch (and an overnight stay), we were treated to some wonderful wine tasting sessions before being chauffeured to our rooms.

Le Pommier is an intimate country lodge situated in the Cape Winelands. There are 12 suites, and 2 self-catering units in typical luxury country house style and comfort.

We checked out at around 9am after breakfast and made our way to the airport. The trip was rewarding from start to finish, and for the most part the mu-X proved itself as a capable SUV that’s happy both on and off the beaten track.

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