ASX, Crosswind Sportivo or Ranger Wildtrak?

Help our letter sender decide
by Botchi Santos | Jan 12, 2012

Hi, Botchi!

I hope things are okay on your end.

I'm planning to buy a car while I'm enjoying my vacation in the Philippines. For now, I'm still undecided on which ar to buy. I've narrowed down my options to a few vehicles. Please give me your professional opinion on the following cars:

1. Mitsubishi ASX GLS 4x2 CVT
2. Isuzu Crosswind Sportivo AT
3. Ford Ranger Wildtrak 2.5 AT

The vehicle will be used basically for city driving, malling and for trips to the market. Every once in a while, it will also be used for out-of-town trips. My wife will be the one behind the wheel of the vehicle since she is based in Pampanga. We have three kids and two grandchildren.

I'm working within a budget of P1.3 million.

I also want to get rid of our 1999 Honda Civic LXi because maintaining two cars at the same time would be expensive.

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Hope to hear from you soonest.


Hi, Rick!

Thank you for your email. I hope this gets to you before you buy your next vehicle.

If your wife's the one who will be using the car, I strongly suggest getting something she can easily handle. This is why the Mitsubishi ASX is my top pick among your options.

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The Ford Ranger Wildtrak is rather cumbersome and a bit unwieldly to drive, and the Isuzu Crosswind will be very coarse and unrefined for a lady. Do not get me wrong. Both Ford and Isuzu are sold and reliable. But a female driver would want something more comfortable, more refined and more manageable. The ASX's size and car-based structure make it the best in your list.

The Ford Ranger will be useful only if you have a lot of towing and hauling to be done. It also won't fare as good off-road simply because the variant you're chosing--a two-wheel-drive--won't have the mechanical grip and stability in very rough driving conditions. The Ranger, though, is scheduled to come out with an all-new model sometime next year. That promises to be an even bigger, more comfortable yet more capable truck. If you really have your eyes set on a pickup, wait for the new Ford Ranger that's scheduled to come out early this year.

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Choosing the Isuzu Crosswind won't make a lot of sense unless you need to drive long distances regularly (like close to 1,000 kilometers a week) with a full load of passengers and cargo. It's highly unrefined and the diesel engine, which is pretty strong and reliable, is also an oil-burner that is based on a very old design. A business that needs an affordable people and cargo carrier is the best match for the Crosswind. But not for the missus, her kids and grandkids.

This leads us back to the ASX. It has pretty decent ride-height--enough to tackle most dirt/bad/provincial roads and modest floods. It's the right size for a lady to drive, has more than enough trunk space at the back for all but the most demanding of cargo requirements. It can fit four to five large suitcases and then some. It's very comfortable, too, and the CVT transmission will make for a very fuel-efficient machine especially on long drives. It's my top pick, to reiterate what I've said earlier.

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As for your trusty old Honda Civic, I think it's worth keeping the old girl a bit longer assuming she hasn't been giving you problem after problem after problem. The engine should be still solid, but the ancillaries will probably be knocking on already. Major components such as the aircon compressor, alternator, starter and the entire suspension assembly should be looked after. Check the belts and hoses, and replace the small items such as radiator cap, thermostat and fuel filler cap. I have noticed that a large majority of old-vehicle breakdowns are caused by overheating-related problems. The old vehicles overheat not because there was something inherently wrong with the engine, but because the radiator and the rest of the cooling system is old and needs replacement. There are also cases of leaking radiator cap, leaking radiator coolant hoses, blocked radiator or leaking radiator end caps. I like these kinds of endeavors myself, maintaining and upgrading an old vehicle to bring it back to very good condition. But it might be bothersome and expensive for you. Bottomline, should you keep it, you need to spend on replacing the major components already to prevent problems and breakdowns.

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Hope this helps. Good luck and God bless. Give my regards to your family.

Botchi Santos
Consumer editor

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