1 Oct 1995
By CHRIS HARRIS
HOLDEN’S wholesale adoption of the Isuzu Rodeo-based MU two-door SUV wagon wasn’t one of its finest moments.
In a nutshell, it drove like what it didn’t look like – an ageing truck.
Subsequently it was tough, rugged and capable off-road, but a completely unrefined on-road device.
Critics howled at the 85kW/172Nm 2.2-litre SOHC 8V four-cylinder engine's inability to stir more than barely adequate acceleration from the heavy Frontera. It was reportedly also prone to overheating, among other questionable durability issues.
The transmission was a five-speed manual affair, hooked up as a dual-range arrangement.
The Frontera's ride and handling attributes were also questioned as unnecessarily firm for the former and sloppy for the latter.
Not surprisingly then buyers stayed away in droves.
And they kept doing so even when the significantly improved MX model in four-door as well as two-door wagon guise rolled on in from March 1999.
It's ironic then that the better-equipped Isuzu version has been privately imported in visible numbers since the M7's demise. Why this is so is unclear but, hilariously, they're known in Japan as the MU for Mysterious Utility...
The Road to Recovery podcast series