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Top Gear Philippines

Hi, Mr. Botchi Santos! Please rate the following SUVs' performance, equipment, fuel consumption and value for money:

* Kia Mohave EX CRDi

Hyundai Veracruz GLS

Toyota Prado 3.0 (AT)

Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2 Di-D

Thanks,

JB Vargas

 

Hi, JB. It's hard to say which is the best, because in reality, no one car can do everything under the sun, be a miser when it comes to fuel consumption, overcome the toughest off-road trails, and accelerate to 100 clicks in under four seconds.

Moreover, not all car models from the manufacturers have a test unit available for us to evaluate. And even then, the time we spend with the cars is very limited. I'll try to be as honest and objective with the SUVs you listed, but take what I say with a grain of salt and try out these cars for yourself.

Kia Mohave EX CRDi – I have never driven this car, and Kia says this has been sold in somewhat limited numbers. If the Sorento and the Sportage are anything to go by, then the Mohave should be an excellent, highway-biased, pavement-pounding SUV.

Hyundai Veracruz – This is another car I haven't tried out, but I'd recommend against it. This is because it will most likely be discontinued as the all-new Sante Fe comes in both SWB and LWB variants in Europe and the US. The case will most likely be the same here. I rode the Veracruz when it was new, and was impressed with the comfort and design, but I can't really pinpoint any glowing faults nor virtues myself.

Toyota Prado – The new local Prados are amazing, sophisticated machines with incredible off-road ability, thanks to the local variants having the latest in hill terrain management, hill-ascent/hill-descent controls and traction/stability controls. They are even better than some of the early gray-market Prados that came from Dubai.

I was only able to drive a privately owned one for a short stint, but was impressed with its on-road and off-road performance. It could use a little more grunt out on the highway as the engine is essentially the same as a Fortuner 3.0's, but mated with a five-speed automatic and with more torque. The thing is that you need horsepower, especially at the top end to make for higher top speeds. Off-road, though, a few come close to matching the Prado's performance.

Mitsubishi Pajero – The Pajero is my favorite for no real objective reason. I love the way it feels and the way it drives. I love its revvy and responsive engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. On paper, it makes less torque than the Prado (383Nm versus the Prado's 410Nm), but the Pajero feels livelier, more responsive and more fun to fling about on the highway.

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To my knowledge, it doesn't have sophisticated hill terrain management, but serious off-roading is not the Pajero's forte. Rally-style dirt trails are where the big Pajero shines, like your typical farm-to-market provincial roads.

Objectively, the Prado seems to have the edge over the Pajero, having better standard equipment and a more well-rounded performance brief. The Prado excels well in all surfaces, but feels a bit short on grunt and feels a bit cumbersome at high speeds, being less fluid than the Pajero. But personally, I prefer how the big Mitsubishi feels to drive. It would be my choice from your short list.

Hope this helps! Good luck and keep it safe!

Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor

 

Which SUV should JB get?
Hyundai Veracruz
Kia Mohave
Mitsubishi Pajero
Toyota Prado

Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor
Botchi eats, lives and breathes cars (aside from hotdogs). Aside from wanting to drive any car, preferably through some scenic destination, he's always thinking of ways to "improve them" by modifying the (insert any car-related word here).
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