Isuzu MU

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For the automobile sold in between 2002 and 2013 as the "Isuzu MU-7", and its successor, the "Isuzu MU-X", see Isuzu D-Max.
Isuzu MU
2001-2003 Isuzu Rodeo.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Isuzu Motors
Production 1989–2004
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size SUV
Body style 3-door wagon
5-door wagon
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
Chronology
Successor Opel Antara (Europe)
Isuzu Ascender (North America)
Isuzu MU-7 (Southeast Asia)

The Isuzu MU is a mid-size SUV that was produced by the Japan-based manufacturer Isuzu. The three-door MU was introduced in 1989, followed in 1990 by the five-door version called Isuzu MU Wizard, both of which stopped production in 1998 to be replaced by a second generation. This time, the five-door version dropped the "MU" prefix, to become the Isuzu Wizard. The acronym "MU" is short for "Mysterious Utility". Isuzu manufactured several variations to the MU and its derivates for sale in other countries.

The short-wheelbase (three-door) version was sold as the Isuzu MU and Honda Jazz in Japan, with the names Isuzu Amigo and later Isuzu Rodeo Sport used in the United States. Throughout continental Europe, the three-door was called Opel Frontera Sport, with the Vauxhall Frontera Sport title used in the United Kingdom, and Holden Frontera Sport in Australasia.

The long-wheelbase (five-door) version was available as the Isuzu Wizard in Japan, and in North America as Isuzu Rodeo and the Honda Passport. Opel, Vauxhall, and Holden each also sold rebadged versions of the five-door as the Opel Frontera, Vauxhall Frontera, and Holden Frontera. It was also sold as the Chevrolet Frontera in Egypt, the Isuzu Cameo and Isuzu Vega in Thailand, the Isuzu Frontier in South America, and as Chevrolet Rodeo in Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia.

First generation (1989–1998)[edit]

First generation
1st-Isuzu-Rodeo.jpg
Isuzu Rodeo
Overview
Also called Isuzu MU Wizard
Isuzu Cameo
Isuzu Rodeo
Isuzu Vega
Chevrolet Frontera
Chevrolet Rodeo
Holden Frontera
Honda Jazz
Opel Frontera
Vauxhall Frontera
Production 1989–1998
1993–2002 (Thailand)
1998–???? (Egypt)
Assembly Japan
Egypt: 6th of October City[1]
Thailand: Rayong
United Kingdom: Luton
United States: Lafayette, Indiana
Body and chassis
Related Isuzu Faster (TF)
Powertrain
Engine 2.3 L 4ZD1 I4
2.4 L C24SE I4 (GM, Aus)
2.4 L C24NE I4 (Euro)
2.6 L 4ZE1 I4
3.1 L LG6 V6 (GM)
3.2 L 6VD1/6VD1W V6
2.5 L 4JA1 diesel I4 (Cameo, TH)
2.8 L 4JB1-T turbo diesel I4
3.0 L 4JH1-T turbo diesel I4
3.1 L 4JG2 turbo diesel I4
Transmission 5-speed manual
4-speed automatic:
General Motors 4L30-E
Dimensions
Wheelbase SWB: 91.7 in (2,329 mm)
LWB: 108.7 in (2,761 mm)

The three-door Isuzu MU made its debut in Japan during 1989, with the five-door MU Wizard introduced the following year. Based on the Isuzu Faster (TF) pickup truck of 1988, both the three- and five-door models shared bodywork and most internal components from the front doors forward. Like the Faster pickup, the MU and MU Wizard featured rear- and four-wheel drive layout configurations.

Between 1993 and 1996, Honda retailed three-door versions of the MU under the name Honda Jazz for the Japanese market under a model sharing arrangement that resulted in several Isuzu models being badged Honda and vice versa.

Market[edit]

North America

Sales of the three-door began in the United States during the second quarter of 1989 under the Isuzu Amigo name. A 2.3-liter 4ZD1 inline-four engine, producing 102 hp (76 kW) came standard with the RWD while the 4WD was offered with the 2.6-liter 4ZE1 engine. The transmission was initially manual only. There were very limited options for the early Amigo including air conditioning, seating for two or four, and two trim levels to choose from, S or XS. Some of the model year changes throughout production included: small cosmetic alterations for 1991, the standardization of the 2.6-liter engine for 1992, and the added availability of a four-speed automatic transmission on the RWD version for 1992 and 1993. No major changes were made for 1993, but for 1994, a high mount rear stop light was added, power steering and mirrors were made standard. The Amigo was dropped by Isuzu in the US market in 1994. A limited number of XS-F editions (with the "F" standing for "Frontera") were produced which had additional options such as power windows and locking, four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS) (inactive in low-range 4WD mode, only active on the rear wheels in 4WD high-range). This version of the Amigo had only 49-state emissions (reasons unknown) and there are no official sales numbers, although most dealers agree there were fewer than 75 sold. The only badging that shows this model is a sport blue XS symbol with a sport-font "F" beside it (also sport blue).

1990–1994 Isuzu Amigo XS (US)
1995–1998 Isuzu MU Wizard 3.1 D Turbo Type X (UCS69GW; Japan)

Isuzu introduced the five-door Isuzu Rodeo to the United States in 1990 for the 1991 model year. It was available with either a 2.6-liter inline-four engine rated at 89 kilowatts (119 hp) or a 3.1-liter V6 engine made by General Motors (GM) which had the same power output as the 2.6, but had more torque. An automatic transmission was available for the V6. The Rodeo, like the Amigo was available in both RWD and 4WD, with the latter featuring manually locking hubs on the S version and automatically locking hubs on the XS and top-of-the-line LS. Rear-wheel ABS were standard feature on 4WDs. A RWD manual transmission model with a 21.9 US gal (83 L) tank was rated at 18 mpg-US (13 L/100 km) in city driving by the EPA, and 22 mpg-US (11 L/100 km) on the highway. A 4WD model with the V6 and automatic transmission was rated at 15 mpg-US (16 L/100 km) city and 18 mpg-US (13 L/100 km) highway.

All Rodeos had a rear seat bottom which folded forward and rear seat back which folded down, extending the 35-cubic-foot (990 L) cargo area. The vehicle's lug wrench was stored under the seat bottom, concealed by a carpeted Velcro flap. The jack was located behind a plastic panel in the rear left of the cargo area along with the rear windshield washer fluid reservoir if equipped. The LS was available with privacy glass, velour upholstery, and split-folding rear seats. A secret locking compartment was fitted in the depths of the center console below a removable cassette storage bin. The vehicle weighed 3,490–3,820 pounds (1,580–1,730 kg), depending on engine and options.

For the 1993 model year, Isuzu replaced the GM V6 engine with their own 3.2-liter 24-valve SOHC V6 which was rated at 174 hp (130 kW). Manually locking hubs were eliminated, but the floor-mounted transfer case shifter remained. The 1993 Rodeo featured a recalibrated suspension system, softened spring rates and softened shock valving. The Rodeo now weighed between 3,536–4,120 pounds (1,604–1,869 kg) and the EPA rating was 18 mpg-US (13 L/100 km) city and 21 mpg-US (11 L/100 km) highway. Also for 1993, a Family II 2.4 litre four-cylinder engine from Holden was introduced, and the Rodeo gained a third brake light above the rear window and a more refined center console. The "V6" badge on V6 models was moved behind the front wheels. Midway through 1995, the Rodeo received an updated dashboard and steering wheel, both of which added airbags. The "ISUZU" badge on the front grille also shrunk in size. For 1996 Isuzu increased the power of their 3.2-liter V6 up to 194 hp (145 kW) and 262 N·m (193 lb·ft) of torque, and the top level trim LS received the same 16-inch aluminium wheels as the Trooper, and was available in two-tone exterior colors.

Isuzu sold 24,612 Rodeos in 1991 and 45,257 Rodeos in 1992.[2] US models were manufactured at Subaru-Isuzu Automotive, Inc. (now, Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.) in Lafayette, Indiana. The vehicle was still considered an import, as 75 percent of its parts were made overseas.[3]

Europe
1991–1998 Opel Frontera Sport
1995–1998 Holden Frontera (UT) Sport hardtop (Australia)

This series was known in the United Kingdom as the Vauxhall Frontera and in Europe as the Opel Frontera. It was built starting in 1989 at the former Bedford Vehicles factory in Luton, England; it would become known as the IBC factory (Isuzu Bedford Company). In the 1980s the plant had come under joint control between Isuzu and General Motors, with the Frontera being built alongside a number of other commercial vehicle models. The Australian and New Zealand version of the model range was known as the Holden Frontera and these were also produced at the Luton facility.

The early cars (to 1995) had a choice of engines, with the LWB available with either a 2.4-liter petrol (C24NE) engine (developed in the Opel Manta 400) or the 2.3-liter diesel (23DTR) engine originally fitted in the Bedford CF van & Vauxhall Carlton. The Frontera sport (Isuzu Amigo) was available with the 2.0-liter petrol Vauxhall Cavalier engine (C20NE).

In 1995 the model went through a facelift and the Frontera received rear coil springs and a new line up of engines. The SWB gained a new 2.0-liter petrol (X20 series) engine, updated trim, and also the first diesel engine available for the SWB, the 2.8-liter (4JB1-TC). The LWB also had new engines, with the 2.2-liter petrol (X22XE) and the 2.8 diesel 4JB1-TC being made available.

In the 1996–1997 models interior trim, including the dashboard, was changed, and a new 2.5-liter diesel (VM41) engine was fitted. This engine was also used in the Range Rover Classic and Jeep Cherokee in the UK.

Australasia

Holden of Australia and New Zealand introduced the MU under the Holden Frontera badge in October 1995. Designated the UT or M7 series, the Holden was based on the three-door body and manufactured in the United Kingdom.[4] It was offered in one level of trim, the "Sport 4 × 4", with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine outputting 82 kW (110 hp) and 172 N·m (127 lb·ft) and coupled with a five-speed manual transmission in a dual-range setup. It was discontinued in late 1998 replaced with a second generation in February 1999.

Asia

Jiangling (Jiangling Motors Corporation Limited) Landwind in China produces a copy of the Isuzu Rodeo for the Chinese market. It is the first SUV to fail the EuroNCAP crash tests. The Landwind is based on the first generation Rodeo although there was no collaboration between JMC and Isuzu or GM. While the Landwind looks like the Rodeo it is not an Isuzu vehicle.[citation needed]

For the Thai market, the MU Wizard was sold as the Isuzu Cameo (1993–1996) and Isuzu Vega (1999–2004) in Thailand. The Cameo using a 2.5-liter 4JA1 diesel direct injection engine, producing 90 PS (66 kW) at 3,900 rpm and the maximum torque at 17.8 kgm at 1,800 rpm[5] came standard. The transmission was 5-speed manual with rear wheel drive only. The equipment is the same as in the TF and the only body style available is a five door wagon. In 1999, Isuzu Thailand decided to have a major change for Cameo and gave it new name Vega, equipped with four-wheel drive only. Exterior differences from Cameo including the new frontal design, halogen headlights, 15-inch wheels with 265/70R15 tires and the spare wheel on the back door. It was introduced with 2.8-liter engine 4JB1-T and the brand new 3.0-liter 4JH1-T turbo diesel, producing 120 PS (88 kW) at 3,800 rpm and maximum torque at 24.5 kgm at 2,000 rpm,[6] because of the development of the CCI (ISUZU Computer Controlled Injection) and HPI (ISUZU High Pressure Fuel Injection). In addition, it connected with a choice of 5-speed manual and "Technomatics" 4-speed automatic controlled by the TCM system (Transmission Control Module). The driver can manually choose style of driving by "Normal mode" and "Power mode"

Second generation (1998–2004)[edit]

Second generation
98-00 Isuzu Rodeo.jpg
Overview
Also called Chevrolet Frontera
Isuzu Wizard
Isuzu Amigo
Isuzu Rodeo
Holden Frontera
Opel Frontera
Vauxhall Frontera
Production 1998–2004
Assembly Japan
United States: Lafayette, Indiana
Tunisia: Kairouan (IMM)
Powertrain
Engine
Transmission
Dimensions
Wheelbase SWB: 2,460 mm (96.9 in)
LWB: 2,700 mm (106.4 in)
1998–2000 Isuzu Amigo (US)
2001–2003 Isuzu Rodeo Sport (US)

In September 1997, the second-generation MU (three-door) and Wizard (five-door; now with "MU" prefix dropped) were was released at the Tokyo Motor Show, with Japanese sales starting May 1998.

Market[edit]

North America

The Amigo made a comeback in the US for 1998 with the second generation model alongside a redesigned Rodeo. Both the Amigo and Rodeo were built in the assembly plant in Lafayette, Indiana. Amigo came standard with a soft top. Exterior differences in the Amigo and Rodeo other than the wheelbase include a rear mounted spare tire, 16-inch wheels, and larger fender flares. Standard features on the Amigo included split folding rear seats, tilt steering, dual 12-volt power ports, power windows, mirrors and door locks, keyless entry and AM/FM CD players. .

For both models, the 2.6 four-cylinder was succeeded by a X22XE 2.2 DOHC 16 valve engine built by Holden in Australia and also shared with the Daewoo Leganza. Also offered was the 205 hp (153 kW) 6VD1 V6 that carried 214 pound-feet (290 N·m) of torque at 3,000-rpm. Fuel consumption is an estimated 22 mpg-US (11 L/100 km) highway. From a technical prospective, the Amigo is built with a rigid frame that has eight crossmembers. Front suspension has independent lower and upper arms, with a solid rear axle. The Amigo came standard with Isuzu’s 10-bolt rear axle and push-button four-wheel drive. The Amigo also has a traditional floor mounted lever for switching from high- to low-range. The Amigo was renamed in 2001 to Rodeo Sport to complement the more successful five-door Rodeo. The Amigo series was produced until 2003, while the Rodeo was dropped in 2004.

For the five-door Rodeo, adjustable shock absorbers were new this year and 16-inch tires replaced all 15-inch versions, as Isuzu redesigned the front and rear fascias of this midsize SUV. Standard on the LSE and optional on LS, the new Intelligent Suspension Control featured a dashboard button to adjust shock damping between sport and normal settings. Honda Passports did not get the adjustable-shock system. A new Ironman package debuted for the LS, marking Isuzu's sponsorship of the Ironman triathlon competition. The package included white or black paint over grey lower body panels, crossbars for the roof rack, and special graphics. Cruise control now was standard on V6 Rodeos, and an automatic transmission became standard on the LSE edition.

2004 Isuzu Rodeo (US)
  • 2001: in celebration of Isuzu's 85th year, an Anniversary Edition was added, along with a revised Ironman Package for 2001. In addition, the Rodeo receives a new grille.
  • 2002: last model year for Rodeo sales in Canada, replaced by the Saturn Vue as a result of Isuzu withdrawing from Canada after the 2002 model year. Isuzu dealerships in Canada also sold Saturns and Saabs.
  • 2003: no significant changes for 2003.
  • 2004: the Rodeo loses its three-door model and four-cylinder engine for 2004, but gains a new optional 3.5-liter 250 horsepower (190 kW) engine. Added midyear was a standard tire-pressure monitor. In addition, the SUV received its final facelift.

In 2004, Isuzu dropped the inline-four engine and added the optional 3.5-liter V6 gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine with 250 horsepower (190 kW) and 246 pound-feet (334 N·m) of torque. Isuzu was the first to offer (GDI) in a vehicle priced under US$100,000. The Rodeo weighs in at a little over 3,800 pounds (1,700 kg), with an EPA estimated gas mileage for 2007 of 16 mpg-US (15 L/100 km) city and 22 mpg-US (11 L/100 km) highway for the two wheel drive model, and 15 mpg-US (16 L/100 km) city and 20 mpg-US (12 L/100 km) highway for the four wheel drive model.

In October 2010, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalled 1998–2002 Rodeos, 2002 Isuzu Axioms, and 1998–2002 Honda Passports due to corrosion of the vehicle's frame in the vicinity of the rear suspension.[7] Vehicles without corrosion in the affected area would be treated with an anti-corrosion compound. Vehicles with more severe corrosion would have a reinforcement bracket installed. In some cases, corrosion was so severe that repairs could not be made, resulting in Isuzu and Honda purchasing vehicles from the owners.

Europe
Opel Frontera (Europe)

After General Motors took full control over the IBC Vehicles factory in 1998, the Frontera production line was planned to be transferred to General Motors' Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port. However with the closure of the Vauxhall Luton plant the decision to move was reversed. In 1998 the new model series was introduced with a choice of 2.2- petrol, 2.2-liter diesel (X22DTH) and 3.2-liter V6 petrol engines. Further modifications were carried out on the diesel engine post-2001, with the final version to be fitted in the marque being the 2.2-liter (Y22) version. This model met the Euro 4 Emissions standard.

The Frontera was discontinued from production at IBC Luton in 2004 (the final models in the UK were produced in Olympus trim). In Australia and New Zealand, the Holden Frontera was replaced by a Holden badged version of the Chevrolet Captiva model range.

Australasia

Holden in Australia and New Zealand also retailed the second generation model from February 1999 as the UE or MX series Frontera. This time, both three- and five-door bodies were offered—now produced in the US.[4] The five-door models had the 3.2-liter V6 engine rated at 151 kW (202 hp) and 290 N·m (210 lb·ft) with optional automatic transmission, whilst the three-door Frontera Sport retained a four-cylinder engine and manual transmission only. Although the Frontera Sport came in just one specification, the five-door wagon offered base, S and SE trims. Holden facelifted the model in 2000 with a revised front grille and front bumper, reshaped headlamps and new taillamp lenses. In late 2001, a second upgrade arrived, bringing reductions in engine noise, the fitment of an electronic throttle, a change to the SE model's ABS calibration to bring improvements to dirt road performance, and several interior upgrades. Holden discontinued the Frontera Sport in June 2002. The five-door wagon continued until 2003, with enough production stockpiled to last until mid-2004, but it was ultimately semi-replaced with the Adventra in 2003.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Satyam. "GM Egypt History". GM Egypt. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  2. ^ Mateja, Jim. M-_21_|D-_235_|Y-_1993_|resultStructure-combined&revlogtype=19&makeid=21&modelid=235&year=1993&myid=&revlogtype=19&aff=national 1993 Isuzu Rodeo Review. Cars.com, republished from Chicago Tribune, 31 January 1993.
  3. ^ Truett, Richard. 1993 Isuzu Rodeo Review. Cars.com, republished from Orlando Sentinel, 21 October 1993.
  4. ^ a b Holden Frontera 1998–2005 Retrieved from www.marque.com.au on 23 February 2010
  5. ^ "Cameo profile (Thai language)". cameo-club.com. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  6. ^ "Vega profile (Thai language)". Yan Yon magazine no.415 December 2000. 2000-12-03. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  7. ^ "Recall Alert: 1998–2002 Isuzu Rodeo, 2002 Isuzu Axiom, 1998–2002 Honda Passport – KickingTires". Blogs.cars.com. Retrieved 2012-02-04.