Wondering which brand is dominating the 4×4 market? These rugged body-on-frame vehicles have a huge following, and it’s not surprising why. As a driver, you get a different sense of achievement when you drive a 4×4—it lets you conquer difficult terrain, get through tough tracks, and more. When it comes to sales, leading the convoy is the old favorite—the Toyota Prado, which served as an antidote to the outrageously priced Land Cruiser when it arrived in 1993. But then there’s also the relative newcomer, the Isuzu MU-X, which sports a proven ute and truck heritage in a seven-seat shell and whose value is a key sales pitch. Let’s compare these two vehicles and see which of them is the better choice.
If you’re particular about the design of your ride, then the Toyota Prado might be the better choice for you. The updated version of this 4×4 takes the boxy off-roader and features magnificent LED headlights and DRLS, which look far better than the old dot-matrix numbers in the pre-facelift version. It also looks brawnier than it did, with taillights featuring black surrounds and a rear door that’s tidied up. Well, the Isuzu MU-X is good-looking too, but its finish is something fairly common for a 4×4.
Admit it or not, you can look past the design but not the practicality of your 4×4. And when it comes to this, it’s a close fight between the Toyota Prado and the Isuzu MU-X—both are roomy, have ample compartments, USB ports, and outlets. But which is better than the other? Well, the Isuzu MU-X’s cabin is recognized for being an easy place in which to travel, with a boot space that you can expand to up to 878 liters. It also has 12 cupholders, 18 storage solutions that include door compartments with bottle bulge, coat hooks, a rear cargo organizer box, and more. The front and rear have USB ports and three 12V power outlets all in all. Sounds impressive? Yes, but probably not as impressive as the Toyota Prado, which has all that plus a caddy in its front that’s big enough for a wallet! You will also find cupholders in all the three rows, as well as holsters for bottles in all its four doors. You can store all your drinks in its cooled center console area if you’re going on longer trips! In terms of space, this 4×4 is spacious enough to make everyone comfortable—in fact, even its back row is roomy enough for tall adults.
Now let’s talk about fuel economy. You won’t get a good handle on the real-world fuel consumption of both the Toyota Prado and the Isuzu MU-X unless you drive them yourself, but if the claims of both auto companies are anything to go by, it looks like both are winners in this aspect. Isuzu claims the Isuzu MU-X can get through 7.9L/100km in 4×4 LS-U and LS-T guises, which is exactly the same as the diesel fuel consumption of the manual Toyota Prado. If you’re driving an automatic Prado, expect your vehicle to use 0.1L/100km more, which is equal to 8.0/L/100km. If you venture off-road, your Prado’s fuel use will rise to just about 11.5L/100km—still pretty good for its size.
Engine and Transmission
When it comes to engine and transmission, the Isuzu MU-X comes with a Euro 5 3.0-liter four-cylinder common rail diesel engine that can produce 120kW at 3600rpm and 430Nm at 2000-2200rpm, as well as six-speed Aisin-sourced automatic transmission carry-over from MY17. While it can have more power and torque than the Toyota Prado, the latter runs a permanent four-wheel drive set-up with 4H and 4L models. If that doesn’t sound like an advantage to you, then don’t worry because you have the option of getting an automatic to be able to get a rear diff lock. Perhaps the only downside to that is that if you’re a manual gearbox enthusiast, you might think twice about getting the Toyota Prado. You might also not be too impressed by its relatively low braked towing capacity weight of 2500kg, which sounds a bit too light if you are going on a big off-road caravan.
The Isuzu MU-X is no posh, but you can’t deny that it’s a practical ride whether for daily use or weekend long drives. No wonder, it has a burgeoning legion of fans and is practically almost everywhere—in the city streets, suburbs, in the bush! But then again, even its growing popularity cannot erase the fact that the Toyota Prado is the biggest-selling large SUV on the market because it looks far better and offers more value for its price. If you’re after safety, appearance, and practicality, you will never go wrong with this one.