There is no denying the fact that we Indian's love SUV's and yes the bigger they are the better. I too love SUV's as they are best suited for our roads and not to mention the various added practicalities that they offer, though the main reason is the presence that they exude.
Some months back an SUV possessing these qualities caught my eye and ever since then I was nursing a desire to have a go in it. However last week that chance finally came. This is not exactly rocket science that the said SUV that I am talking about is the Isuzu MU-7 pictured here.
This is an SUV following old ethos and will please hardcore SUV fans while also playing the role of a luxury SUV with ease. The MU-7 is important to Isuzu's India plans and also it is be assembled in Hindustan Motors Limited factory at Thiruvallur, near Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
My plan was to land in Chennai and drive the MU-7 to Mahabalipuram while getting to know it along the way. As soon as I laid my eyes on this beast it became pretty clear that very few can touch it for sheer presence. Take my word this is an SUV that you will want to make way for when you see one in your rear view mirror. It is massive and towers above other SUV's. To put it in numbers the MU-7 has a length of 4955mm, breadth of 1800mm and height of 1805mm.
The front is big and mean looking with sharp headlamps while the more elegant rear completes the whole design. The MU-7 wears 16 inch wheels and overall it just looks big and imposing. Every where we went we had got the thumbs up and interest level was just huge with many rival SUV owners checking it out!
You really get to know about a cars interior after you have spent time in one. On my drive there was ample time to poke around the MU-7's cabin and let me tell you that the amount of space is just massive. The front seats are comfy but the rear deal is the humongous rear seat. Three can sit comfortably with enough headroom/legroom and shoulder room.
The design of the interiors is old-school but has a built to last feel. The leather seats with the red stictching looks classy and so does the black faux wood finish on the dash and door handles. At the front you get a touch screen multimedia system which also acts as a rear camera (you need it!). At the second row you get ac vents on the roof and a DVD player. Nice.
While lounging in the rear seats was a tempting option I decided to take the wheel to our drive to Mahabalipuram. The roads have very less traffic and the scenery is just beautiful. The Isuzu MU-7 has a 2999cc turbo-diesel engine making 161 bhp at 3600 rpm and a plentiful 360Nm of torque. Top speed is 175 kmph and 0-100 kmph takes about 10.7 seconds which is decent considering the size.
The performance is very good and it feels sprightly in a way you don't expect a big SUV to be. Instant bursts of acceleration is possible and soon I was doing triple digit speeds. The 5-speed manual gearbox has a long throw but you get used to it.
Reaching Mahabalipuram I had to negotiate tight roads and though the MU-7 has a turning circle of 12.2 meters, the visibility at the front is very good and you can place this SUV with ease. On the way back I stopped for some pictures and also do some token off-roading. The MU-7 is only in 4x2 yet it handled whatever was thrown at it. Special mention must go for the good ride offered here.
As you might guess I like this SUV. The Isuzu MU-7 is an old-school SUV that has charm and it stands out from the crowd of other SUV's. It has presence, good quality interiors and plus Isuzu has a strong repuation for making bullet-proof engines which will give you peace of mind.
Priced at about Rs 22.3 lakh (ex-showroom Chennai) the MU-7 is available in two dealerships (Hyderabad and Coimbatore) but Isuzu plans to have more soon (60 dealers by 2016). Overall the MU-7 has got more than what it takes to upset the apple cart of its rivals.