A Top Gear PH reader asks: Crosswind, Fuzion or Innova?

Help your fellow reader by taking the poll
by Botchi Santos | Jan 31, 2013

Hi, Botchi. I knew that I found the right help column when I read your expert\'s opinions on cars. I have a 2007 Toyota Avanza 1.5G AT, which I\'m planning to sell to get a bigger SUV. Most of the time, my wife and children use it as a service vehicle to and from work and school. I use it occasionally whenever I come home for vacation.

In my four years of experience with the Avanza, I haven\'t had any major complaints except for the lack of space. I guess I did not anticipate the necessity for luggage and extra room for small children especially during out-of-town trips. Now, we are planning to get a bigger MPV and would appreciate your advice on this. I am presently looking at the Isuzu Crosswind Sportivo AT, the Toyota Innova and the Mitsubishi Fuzion. Car usage is almost daily city driving and occasional out-of-town drives.

Can you also advise me on how much I should sell my Avanza for? It has a 48,000km mileage. An estimate would be helpful.

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Thanks in advance for your time, and I hope to hear from you. 

Kind regards,
Erwin Buenconsejo


Hi, Erwin. Thank you for your e-mail. I assume you\'re an OFW working abroad to support both your family and our country. Congratulations for being a modern-day hero and good luck!

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The Toyota Avanza indeed is a well-performing but highly underrated vehicle. People buy it simply because it is great value for money, but they fail to see its hidden charms of practicality and surprisingly painless driving dynamics, especially when you\'re slugging it out in everyday traffic. It\'s a tough car to replace. I think fair market value for that car would be around P380,000 to P420,000 considering its age and mileage.

With that in mind, I think the Toyota Innova V is a natural progression from the Avanza. The 2.5 D-4D diesel engine is a fantastic performer in the Innova, more so than in the Hilux and the Fortuner because of the Innova\'s lighter chassis and body. In V trim, it has captains\' seats in the middle row, making moving around inside the vehicle easier for your wife and kids, plus it offers the versatility of more cargo space and folding seats should you require even more cargo space. I am very happy with the Innova, and I wager you will, too.

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The Mitsubishi Fuzion should have been the real king of this segment if Mitsubishi had stuck in the venerable 4D56 diesel engine. Unfortunately, the Fuzion comes with a gasoline-fed 4G64 2.4-liter engine, which, although efficient and powerful enough as diesel engines, is still no match for the efficient turbocharged power of the Innova\'s 1KD-FTV diesel engine. And since the Toyota is diesel-powered, running costs are significantly cheaper because of the lower price per liter of diesel versus gasoline.

The Isuzu Crosswind is, well, pretty old. You can see and feel its age when you look at the dashboard design, the seat size (it comfortably seats only short people; get over 5\'6\'\' and your legs start feeling weary even after just an hour or two behind the wheel), and the interior space, which is on the small size. The diesel engine, despite still being port-fed and indirectly injected, is still an impressively solid (if a tad slow) performer, so it will offer you years and years of reliable performance. But it\'s the old dog in this group.

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My choice would be the Toyota Innova since it is the best-equipped with its diesel engine, the roomiest and probably cheapest to buy when you factor in Toyota\'s lease-to-own program via Toyota Financial Services. You can give a down payment of as low as 10 percent and make monthly lease-to-own payments for a period as long as seven years (pending approval), and your interest rates will be noticeably cheaper compared with traditional amortization plans.

I hope this helps, Erwin. Good luck again! May God bless you and your family.

Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor

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



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