As sporty as Isuzu has made these to suit the market’s expectations, and even shape those, the venerable D-Max and the newer Mu-X were both grown from utilitarian roots. Sporty, sure, but underneath that are these pure-bred, go-anywhere utilities that are best measured from the driver’s seat. Get behind the wheel of Isuzu’s popular pick-up or SUV and you’ll get this solid yet exacting feel, that heft of something that’s been value engineered into being serious equipment. Hence, Isuzu’s campaign to bring the D-Max, the Mu-X, and this knocked-down and reassembled obstacle course they’ve dubbed the “4×4 Playground” to numerous locations in the archipelago. Especially with the 30-foot Thrill Hill, the pinnacle of the playground in more ways than one, you could say that Isuzu has been bringing the mountain to Mohammed all this time.

Press Statement by Isuzu Philippines Corporation, “Isuzu Philippines takes action-packed 4×4 playground to Cagayan de Oro,” 2017:

FOLLOWING a highly successful and much sought-after series of events, the Isuzu 4×4 Action Playground on March 17, 2017 mounted its last and most exciting round at the Limketkai Mall parking lot in Cagayan de Oro.

Organized by Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) in order to demonstrate the four-wheel driving capabilities of the Isuzu mu-X 4×4 LS-A A/T and Isuzu D-MAX 4×4 LS A/T 3.0-liter variants, the event allowed both off-road driving enthusiasts and mall goers a chance to check out in a fun and thrilling manner how Isuzu vehicles cope at traversing extreme obstacles. Serving as guests’ test-drive vehicles during the weekend event were five units of Isuzu mu-X 4×4 and two units of Isuzu D-MAX 4×4, which took to the specially prepared course that was meant to simulate the type of rugged terrain the vehicles are capable of tackling.

Assembled on this unique track were obstacles designed to test the limits of the vehicles, which included the slipper slope, articulation ramp and the 40-degree transverse-angle ramp. Of course, the 30-foot Thrill Hill, which has proven to be the most popular obstacle in every staging of the Isuzu 4×4 Action Playground, again served as the centerpiece of the track.

“While both the Isuzu mu-X and Isuzu D-MAX have sophisticated styling and premium interior features, the fact remains that, especially in their 4×4 specifications, these two models are highly capable off-road machines that are designed to traverse extremely rugged terrain. This is the reason behind the Isuzu 4×4 Action Playground series — we want to communicate to consumers the capabilities of Isuzu models by letting them witness and experience these first-hand in a controlled environment,” said IPC President Hajime Koso during the event’s opening.

“But this year, we plan to further develop this event so the information may reach consumers more efficiently and enjoyably,” Koso added.

During the event, the mu-X 4×4 LS-A impressed guests with its combination of upscale features and off-road driving capabilities. The model is equipped with Isuzu’s 4JJ1-TC (HI) 3.0-liter diesel engine that has common rail direct injection, an intercooler and a Variable Geometry System (VGS) turbocharger, allowing it to produce 163Ps at 3,200rpm and 380Nm of torque at 1,800rpm to 2,200rpm. An available five-speed automatic transmission that boasts of a sequential shift function can be matched to this engine.

For its part, the D-MAX 4×4 LS A/T proved to event participants its rugged looks by ably tackling every obstacle on the track. Powered by the same robust and fuel-efficient engine and five-speed transmission that’s found in the mu-X 4×4 LS-A A/T, the pickup also shares the SUV’s 4WD Terrain Command Select Dial. This proprietary system by Isuzu allows drivers to switch from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive Low mode by simply turning a knob on the vehicle’s console. Drivers may also switch from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive High mode even while the vehicle is traveling at speeds of up to 100kph. Both vehicles also have ideal approach and departure angles, boosting their performance in all types of terrain.

“We at Isuzu Philippines would like to thank everybody who participated in the series of Isuzu 4×4 Action Playground events. Rest assured the next evolution of this experiential information drive will be more thrilling and relevant to consumers,” Koso said.