There are no mechanical updates, with the 3-litre, four-cylinder diesel still making less power and torque than the Endeavour 3.2 and the Fortuner, but doing so in a relaxed and stress-free manner. The turbo diesel in fact makes 173bhp and 380Nm, with power going to the wheels via a 5-speed automatic. It’s a big displacement old school motor that takes its own sweet time to pull the hefty MU-X. That being said, it is not harsh at all. It’s only when you push it to go faster that it gets really vocal and a bit gruff. Naturally, this engine pulls strongly in the midrange – the torque comes in at 1,800rpm and from there on the pull is progressive through the rev range, right up to the redline.
The MU-X, however, never feels immediate which is partly down to the lazy 5-speed auto. While the actual shifts are fairly quick, this gearbox doesn’t react fast enough to throttle inputs, resulting in delayed kick-downs. Also, what’s odd is how quickly it lets the engine coast the moment you get off the throttle. Although there is a manual mode which offers engine braking but even that is not all that effective. Nonetheless, the MU-X performed well in our performance tests, completing the 0-100kmph sprint in 12.15 seconds. As for in-gear acceleration, it took 7.51 seconds and 9.35 seconds to complete the 20-80kmph and 40-100kmph runs.
As for the ride and handling, the MU-X simply devours bad roads. Thanks to the tough ladder frame, fat tyres and oodles of suspension travel, it absorbs potholes and road imperfections with absolute ease. Sure, it jiggles about over sharp bumps and uneven surfaces but that’s a small price to pay for that go-anywhere, indestructible feel when you are behind the wheel. Given its relative proportions, 2.1-tonne mass and soft suspension, the MU-X does not like to be hustled around. It rolls through the corners unashamedly and will not respond well to sudden direction changes. Worse still, the steering is heavy and inconsistent in feel and requires four-turns to go from lock to lock, making the MU-X quite cumbersome within city limits.