Palawan revisited: We drive the Isuzu mu-X to an exciting subterranean experience

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Palawan20141125While maintaining its laudable efforts in helping promote local tourism, and at the same time demonstrate the capabilities of their vehicles, Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) once again brought a group of motoring journalists to Palawan to test their all-new mu-X sport utility vehicle (SUV).

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The trip started early Sunday morning with a group of 20 motoring journalists catching a flight to Puerto Princesa from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. This is the third time Isuzu has brought the media to Palawan for a ride and drive event, with the Crosswind models used during the first two times. But with the marque having new executives in the person of Nobuo Izumina, president and Takashi Tomita, EVP, IPC decided to revisit Palawan and take the mu-X for an exciting experience going around its spectacular landscape including the world-renowned subterranean river.

“Isuzu is not a stranger to the numerous wonderful destinations that the Philippines offer,” said IPC President Nobuo Izumina. “With our All-New Isuzu mu-X, we are confident that touring these many attractions become even more pleasurable. This premium SUV not only benefits from core Isuzu values of durability, reliability and fuel efficiency, but also raises luxury and convenience to a whole new level.”

Just like Palawan, the mu-X is packed with lots of surprises. Among other premium features, it flaunts projector-type multi-reflector headlamps, a center roof antenna, roof rails that can support 60 kilograms of cargo, fog lamps, chrome radiator grille, and power-folding side-view mirrors with integrated turn signal lamps. This SUV’s spacious interior can accommodate seven passengers in car-like riding comfort, thanks to a specially developed suspension system made up of independent double wishbone with coil springs and stabilizer in front, and a five-link with coil springs and stabilizer bar combination in the rear.

Aboard five units of the all-new Isuzu mu-X, participants took off from the Puerto Princesa drove their way to the Sheridan Organic Farm in Sabang, passing through winding and rolling hills that afforded expansive views of the Sulu Sea. After feasting on the lunch prepared at the organic farm, the group proceeded to ritzy beach-front Sheridan Hotel to check-in, and then prepare for the quick boat ride going to the subterranean river.

Apart from experiencing the natural beauty of the place, the participants were also able to appreciate the premium and practical features of the All-New Isuzu mu-X’s spacious interior. Highlights here are leather seats, steering wheel and door trim, and a seven-inch touchscreen display for the six-speaker multimedia system that has aux-in, USB, iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as built-in navigation. The All-New mu-X LS-A goes further with audio controls on the steering wheel and a 10-inch roof-mounted DVD monitor with remote control. Other features include auto climate control with rear coolers, speed sensing door locks, three 12-volt accessory sockets, a total of 19 storage compartments and 12 cupholders, electroluminescent instrument meters that have automatic bright adjust integrated with the useful Multi-Information Display (MID) panel, six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and passive keyless entry with push-button start/stop ignition.

Rear seat passengers during the hours-long Palawan trip were also able to enjoy the All-New Isuzu mu-X’s class-leading legroom and the convenient access to the third-row seats via the second-row seats’ forward-tumble, 60/40-split function.

The same luxurious and comfortable features of the vehicles again pampered the participants during the second day of their Palawan trip. But enhancing the experience was the All-New Isuzu mu-X’s performance capabilities, which start with a power plant never before used in any IPC product. Called 4JK1-TC, this 2.5-liter, four-cylinder diesel engine is fitted with Common Rail Direct Injection and an intercooled Variable Geometry System (VGS) turbocharger. It is rated to comply with Euro-2 emission standards, and produces 136 Ps at 3,400 rpm and a high 320 Nm of torque from 1,800 to 2,800 rpm.

The following day, the group continued on with its drive from Sheridan Hotel to Honda Bay port and the various attractions of Puerto Princesa City. The mu-X’s engine provided plenty of power, translating to less gear changes, effortless hill climbing and easier driving over some rougher terrain.

The variant we drove had a 5-speed manual transmission, although a 5-speed automatic with sequential shift function is also available. The mu-X LS-A variant is equipped with a four-wheel-drive system that has the 4WD Terrain Command Select Dial, which allows the driver to simply twist a knob to shift from 2H mode to 4H mode even at speeds as high as 100kph.

IPC offers the all-new Isuzu mu-X in three exciting variants. At the top of the range is the mu-X LS-A. Coming with either a four-wheel-drive or a two-wheel-drive system paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission, the mu-X LS-A is perfect for people who seek new levels of comfort and convenience.

Following next is the mu-X LS-M, which is fitted with a two-wheel-drive system and a 5-speed manual transmission, and is ideal for customers who have already been accustomed to the usual SUV features. Bringing up the entry-level end is the mu-X LS. Also equipped with a two-wheel-drive system and a 5-speed manual transmission.

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