Going upmarket

The second-generation all-new Isuzu mu-X is now officially here and with all the good things you expect from a full revamp, one of the outstanding things about the Isuzu midsize SUV is its pricing.

If you aren’t aware, the top-spec mu-X LS-E 4×4 AT is now the most expensive midsize SUV in the market.

Why is that a big deal? If you can recall, the outgoing mu-X was the most affordable model in its class on both ends of the price spectrum. In fact, the entry-level RZ4E LS only sold for around P1.3 million, making it a wildcard whenever there’s a list of affordable seven-seaters in the market. I remember Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) offering this variant before as a replacement for the venerable Crosswind, which left the lineup due to emission regulations.

Moreover, the previous top-spec mu-X LS-A 4×4 AT only sold for around P2.15 million before – also among the most affordable fully-loaded midsize SUV.

But now, times have changed. The entry-level 2022 mu-X RZ4E LS AT, which sells for P1,590,000, is no longer the most affordable in the market. That designation goes to the Montero Sport, retailing for P1,565,000. The top-spec mu-X LS-E 4×4 AT sells for a whopping P2,450,000.

Of note, this amount is even more expensive than the range-topping Fortuner LTD in non-Pearl White paint color. Going for the special paint hue only matches Isuzu’s offering.

So, what gives? When asked about the newfound pricing during the press conference amid the new mu-X’s launch, IPC said that they are going for the upmarket segment with the new mu-X.

In other words, forget your notion about the mu-X being a cheap and affordable option if you’re looking to buy a family SUV. Isuzu wants to allure buyers who are looking for luxury and refinement in their cars.

And Isuzu isn’t too far from this goal, mind you. The new mu-X – at least in the top-spec flavor that I was able to sample before the launch – has so much to offer. Loads of tech and above par material quality – I’ve been inside several cars already that I know when something’s of great quality at one glance and in that regard, the mu-X excels.

Thinking about it, it’s about time for Isuzu to position itself this way. Three years ago if you ask me which models in this lucrative midsize SUV segment have the nicest overall quality, I’d probably tell you to check out the Mitsubishi Montero Sport GT or the Ford Everest Titanium – both have matching price tags that sounded ridiculous “back in the day.”

But as I’ve mentioned, the tables have turned. Both the top-dog Montero Sport and Ford Everest stand as the most affordable in the high-roller range. The newly-introduced Toyota Fortuner LTD and the Nissan Terra VL both offer premium, near-luxurious packages, and now, the mu-X wants to join the upmarket segment. Truth be told, Isuzu has already succeeded in doing so based on my quick-witted judgment.

The question now is: is the Philippine market ready to accept an expensive mu-X? Only time and irrevocable sales numbers will tell.

Most Popular


More Articles Like This