Isuzu MU-7: Grand arrival
We’re on our way from Coimbatore to Ooty, driving the latest entrant in the premium SUV segment, the Isuzu MU-7. Now, Isuzu may not be a known brand in India, and the only time you probably heard of it was when it entered the commercial vehicle business here, in 2006, as a partner in the SML-Isuzu alliance. But now, the Japanese UV major wants to enter the Indian utility market with products that have succeeded in international markets similar to ours. Which brings us to the MU-7, an SUV that shares its platform with a pickup truck, the D-Max – both of them will be sold simultaneously in India.
This new India project isn’t going to be an easy challenge for Isuzu. First off, it’s a late entrant as far as our passenger car market goes. Secondly, the MU-7 will go up against the likes of Toyota’s Fortuner, Ford’s Endeavour and Mahindra’s SsangYong Rexton. As of now, Isuzu Motors India imports the MU-7 via Thailand as a CBU, to be sold in non-metro cities via two dealerships, one in Hyderabad and another in Coimbatore. Isuzu plans to gradually expand its dealer network, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. The SUV you see on these pages conforms to BS III emission norms only, thus limiting its reach. A cleaner BS IV model is in the works, but for now, only the BS III variant and the pickup are available.
Globally, India is known as a small-car hub and every manufacturer operating here is starving to go as compact as possible. But when it comes to SUVs, Indians embrace the ‘bigger is better’ formula and the manufacturers know this.