Port Elizabeth - Although it has been widely expected that Isuzu would bring its MU-X to South Africa at some stage, the Japanese utility vehicle specialist has now officially confirmed that this SUV will hit our shores later in 2018.

Bolstering Isuzu’s presence as an independent entity in South Africa following GMSA’s departure, the MU-X will go up against the Toyota Fortuner, Ford Everest and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, and if you think it looks a little familiar you’re right on the money as the MU-X does share its platform, cabin and body structure with the Chevrolet Trailblazer (and Isuzu’s own KB bakkie for that matter).

At this stage there is no mention of whether it’ll be built locally alongside the KB in the Struandale factory that Isuzu bought from GM.

The local line-up, specs and pricing are also under wraps for now, although Isuzu SA has said that the familiar 3-litre turbodiesel engine will be offered. This motor, also offered in the KB, produces 130kW and 380Nm and can be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.

Overseas markets such as Thailand also get the option of a 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine, rated at 110kW and 350Nm, and though there’s no word on whether it will ever be offered locally, it would surely make sense as a more budget-friendly alternative to the 3-litre.

The new Isuzu’s cabin will look familiar to current KB owners, although a larger ‘floating’ touchscreen infotainment system has been installed and like its Trailblazer cabin (which is also largely shared with the MU-X), there is seating for seven occupants.

IOL Motoring