The third-generation Isuzu MU-X has officially made its debut in Thailand, where it will be offered in six variants, with prices ranging from 1.109 million baht (RM147,884) up to 1.579 million baht (RM210,559).

Based on the latest D-Max, the MU-X shares the same ladder frame chassis with its pick-up sibling, but with a body that accommodates its three rows of seats. Compared to its predecessor, the new MU-X measures 4,850 mm long (+25 mm), 1,870 mm wide (+10 mm), 1,875 mm tall (+35 mm) and now has a wheelbase spanning 2,855 mm (+10 mm).

The larger body is also styled to be visibly different from the D-Max, with a slightly “softer” appearance. Up front, the headlamps are slimmer and feature a unique LED DRL signature when compared to the pick-up. Meanwhile, the MU-X’s grille is less aggressive in look and sports smaller “fanged” slats, along with a surround that visibly separates it from the lower intake – a pair of fog lamps occupy the lower apron.

Down the sides, the MU-X features a distinct character line that runs through the front door handles before gently rising over the rear ones. The creased section near the base of the doors is also noticeably different from what you’ll see on the D-Max.

Elsewhere, the glasshouse has also been completely redesigned from the second-gen model, and no longer features oversized C-pillars to break the continuous window line. This change sees the D-pillars carrying the main body colour rather than being part of the previous model’s wraparound rear window, complemented by a rising beltline and pronounced haunches.

At the rear, you’ll still find two-piece taillights – albeit sleeker in shape – and a number plate recess that has been pushed downwards to the base of the tailgate to make room for the large Isuzu script. The rear lower apron mimics what is seen on the front, with well-defined sections for the reflectors and fog lamps.

The MU-X’s cabin may look very similar to the D-Max, there are some cues that are specific to the seven-seater. For instance, the four-wheel drive mode selector dial on the centre stack has been relocated to the centre console, which itself, is entirely new to allow for an electronic parking brake (with auto brake hold) – the D-Max uses a handbrake instead.

The buttons beside the gear lever is also of a different design, and there are knee pads to give the SUV a more upmarket feel, along with fancier trim and upholstery. Additionally, the MU-X gains ceiling-mounted air vents for the second and third row, with the vents located at the back of the centre console – seen in the D-Max – being omitted. As before, the second-row seat bench follows a 60:40 split, while the third row is a 50:50 split.

In terms of equipment, the MU-X is available with wheel sizes ranging from 17 to 20 inches, LED projector headlamps, an electric powered tailgate, a seven- or nine-inch touchscreen head unit, a 4.2-inch TFT multi-info instrument cluster display, eight-way powered driver’s seat, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control with PM2.5 filter and ambient lighting.

The SUV also gets a rather comprehensive list of safety features, including six airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, EBD, brake assist, hill start assist, hill descent control and traction control. Driver assist systems available with higher-spec variants are a blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, a speed limiter, automatic high beam, multi-collision brake, parking assist and a pedal misapplication system.

As mentioned at the start, the MU-X is offered with a choice of two turbodiesel engines, with the first being a RZ4E-TC 1.9 litre four-cylinder unit making 150 PS at 3,600 rpm and 350 Nm of torque from 1,800 to 2,600 rpm. The other option is a larger 4JJ3-TCX 3.0 litre four-pot that develops 190 PS at 3,600 rpm and 450 Nm from 1,600 to 2,600 rpm.

The smaller-capacity mill is used for four variants, namely the 1.9 Active, 1.9 Luxury, 1.9 Elegant and 1.9 Ultimate, while the 4JJ3-TCX is exclusive to the 3.0 Ultimate and 3.0 Ultimate 4WD. Almost every variant gets a six-speed automatic and two-wheel drive by default, although the 1.9 Luxury can be had with a six-speed manual, and the 3.0 Ultimate 4WD is the only one in the line-up with four-wheel drive.