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Top Gear Philippines

Hi, sir Botchi. We're a family of six. However, my older brother is an OFW so he's not here often, and the sixth member is a one-year-old angel. It's going to be our first purchase of a brand-new car. We used to have an owner-type jeep during the heyday of jeeps, but it has been retired for more than five years already.

We just recently transferred to Las Piñas, and a vehicle is somehow a need since most of us work or study in Manila. The vehicle will be for city driving and occasional long drives to near provinces.

We're looking at these three vehicles: Mitsubishi Fuzion, Toyota Innova and Isuzu Crosswind. The size of these vehicles will fit us, plus few other relatives who might need some ride at times. More than the size, we're looking for a fuel-efficient vehicle. I heard the Crosswind Sportivo does 30km/L. I don't know about the others. The Fuzion, having no diesel variant, is at the bottom of our list. I'm also not sure whether to get a diesel or a gasoline vehicle. Is it right that a diesel engine is more advantageous because it can run more kilometers than gasoline engines? But is a diesel engine also a disadvantage because its spare parts are more expensive? Which is more important? Where does the Innova stand? I hope you can clear this for me.

I also have this one concern: I've gathered from comments posted on this website that the Innova is not a better choice for city driving because public-vehicle drivers respect you less. I will be a first-time driver upon purchase, so I'm worried about this, too.

When it comes to price, the Crosswind Sportivo AT almost has the same price as the 2012 Innova 2.5V AT Diesel at P1.2 million. The Fuzion GLS Sport AT is not far at P1.15 million. I'm hoping for your kind comments and further suggestions. Thank you very much! More power to you, your column and Top Gear Philippines!

Cheers,
Ejae Magno

 

Thanks for the e-mail, Ejae. Here's my experience behind the wheel of the MPVs/AUVs you listed down:

* Mitsubishi Fuzion - This one is big, roomy and very refined, and surprisingly has excellent body control. It has comfortable seats, too. The 4G64 engine is very torquey, if lacking a bit of oomph at the top end of the rev range. Though in hindsight, I guess thrashing an MPV isn't exactly a common interest for MPV buyers now, is it? The Fuzion is slightly but noticeably bigger all around than the Innova, but its key fault (for me) is the lack of a diesel engine. Otherwise, the Fuzion is highly underrated, but very capable.

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* Toyota Innova - It is the absolute king of the segment, and its diesel variants are the best, manual or automatic. It has excellent driving dynamics (for an MPV), it is very solid, and it is decently roomy inside even for big guys like me. Stay away from the gasoline model; it's underpowered and quite thirsty. Just make sure you fill up at clean gas stations because the Innova's (like all other Toyotas) CRDi systems are very sensitive to poor diesel fuel quality. Premium diesel fuel like Shell's V-Power Diesel and Petron's Turbo Diesel will do wonders for your engine's fuel efficiency, cleanliness, longevity, power and responsiveness. Is it better than the Fuzion? By virtue of its diesel engine, yes, especially when you consider long-term fuel costs. The Innova is hard to beat. I just wish they'd release the revised 2.5 D-4D with VGT and intercooler on the Innova soon. That would be perfect!

* Isuzu Crosswind Sportivo - The Sportivo is reliable and fuel-efficient, but tight, cramped and with a bad seating position for anyone over 5'8". I can respect why people like the Sportivo--it's simple and reliable, and nothing ever breaks. But you can get so much more for your money looking at other vehicles.

Of the three, my preference lies with the Innova because it's so easy to own a Toyota nowadays (especially with Toyota Financial Services' Lease-To-Own Program, which enables you to pay for a vehicle for over seven years), the excellent diesel engine, solid build quality, and reliability. If the Fuzion had diesel power (the 4D56 with its CRDi and VGT power enhancers sounds tantalizingly good), it would have been a different story.

I hope this helps!  Good luck and God bless!

Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor

Do you want Botchi to help you pick the right car? Send your inquiry to topgear@summitmedia.com.ph.

Which vehicle should Ejae's family get?
Isuzu Crosswind Sportivo
Toyota Innova
Mitsubishi Fuzion

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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