Road tests 15.8.2018 10:00 am

Road tripping in the all-new Isuzu mu-X

It has a touchscreen infotainment system, a good sound system, and it’scapable of doing serious off-roading – perfect for a holiday.

When I was a clueless kid who knew nothing about life, I really loved travelling and would often cry and beg my parents to take me with them.

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So it makes sense that now I am doing a job that involves a lot of travelling and driving interesting and sometimes boring cars.

I often travel with my cute little family. But I have seldomly done road trips with friends, even though I really wanted to.

So, when I received an invitation from our sister motoring publication, Khulekani on Wheels, to go on a four-day trip in the newly launched Isuzu mu-X, I jumped at it.

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The destination and activities were kept secret, but I knew we were going to end up in Durban.

I was eager to experience what awaited the group of motoring journalists and social media influencers. Isuzu had lined up four mu-X SUVs for the trip.

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The vehicle has seven seats, with a generous boot measured at 235 litres when the third row of seats is up.

If you have a lot of luggage, as we did, you can fold up the last row of seats to create 878 litres of space.

The ride quality and the 3.0 litre four-cylinder along with the six-speed auto is not the best in its class, but it does have enough grunt to tackle serious off-roading.

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Offered either in 4×4 or 4×2, you get all the bells and whistles such as a touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, three USB ports, three 12V power outlets, Navigation, CD player and a good sound system.

The layout of the cabin is practical and user-friendly, from the entertainment system controls through to seat adjustment, everything is a breeze to locate and operate.

All the things I have mentioned have to be in place to make a road trip fun and interesting. Makes sense, right?

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Back to the trip. We jumped into the cars and the journey began.

So our final destination was Durban via Mpumalanga. Being the only guy with three ladies in the car, I chose not to drive during the first leg of the trip.

We made our first stop for an overnight stay at Emahlathini Guest and Monkey Farm, situated 18km out of Piet Retief towards the Swaziland border.

Halfway between Johannesburg and the coastal areas of Kosi Bay, St Lucia or Ponta do Oura in Mozambique, it’s the perfect place to stay if you enjoy outdoor fun.

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The next morning, driving over a gravel route, the mu-X proved itself in the most impressive way.

Although the ride can be jittery over some serious road imperfections, it is a comfortable SUV. We stopped for lunch at Jozini Tiger Lodge on the banks of Lake Jozini with views of the Lebombo Mountains.

Making our way to Durban after lunch, dark clouds started gathering and before we knew it, it was dark.

No problem. The mu-X’s Bi-LED projector headlights and LED daytime lights provided optimum lighting.

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We stayed overnight at The Bridge Apartments in St Lucia where we had free, unlimited wifi.

That was deeply appreciated. Day three of the trip was one of our busiest, and looking back, I would say that it was my best day.

After breakfast, we piled into the car and drove to the Luthuli Museum in KwaDukuza. We were welcomed by friendly staff who took us through Chief Albert Luthuli’s life and achievements.

We also had the opportunity to see his wax statue inside the house. Saying our goodbyes, we headed for Clubventure, located 15km inland from Ballito, which offers adventure activities.

These include a 1.5km zipline tour, scuba diving, team building exercises, school excursions and children’s parties.

Although it was the first time I had done ziplining, it was really fun although some of my female trip mates found it scary.

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Our final overnight stay was at the beautiful four star Meander Manor guest lodge. Again with high-speed, free, unlimited wi-fi and a view of the beach.

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That morning was spent taking pictures and videos so I didn’t have to go to the beach. Since we were flying back, time was not on our side.

We checked out at 10am and headed to King Shaka International airport.

The entire trip was great fun, from the very first minute to the last.

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