An avid enthusiast of car magazines such as yours, I'm very much interested in the opinion you're sharing with your readers either thru print or online.
We're planning to buy a pick up truck soon for business and family use. But with the barrage of brands and juicy specs, it's hard to tell which one offers the best value for money in terms of reliability, economy, durability and maintenance cost. Since I asked around for friendly advice and additional information we decided to choose between Isuzu D-Max and Mitsubishi Strada 4x2. Hauling and constant traveling from Tarlac to Manila are our main purposes of buying.
We already have a 2006 Starex Jumbo CRDi bought locally but due to recent injector problem--considering it's only three and a half years old--we didn't think twice on purchasing a second car in case we encounter the same trouble again with the van. Loss of business hours and effort will go to waste every time a vehicle needs to be repaired or overhauled.
We are not rushing things but your expert opinion on this matter will be a plus factor for us in finally deciding which is which. I'm looking forward to your reply.
Thanks and more power to your profession! Godspeed.
Your diesel engine problems could have been caused by poor diesel fuel quality, so take extra care where you fill up.
Now going to your choices of pick-ups, I'm pretty biased about the Mitsubishi Strada. As I type this reply, I'm currently testing out the face-lifted 2010 Strada GLS Sport 4X4 manual and I love it. The power, the smooth ride and the in-car refinement are absolutely amazing considering it is quite loud outside. Inside, it's quiet, and has a fancy and slightly complicated audio system and multi-information screen. I like it also because of the looks, the ride that is a perfect balance of comfort and body control, the rear window that slides down automatically (only one in its class) and the ground clearance, as all Stradas--4X2 and 4X4 variants--share the same ride height. If you get the 4X2 you'll get the powerful 4D56--the second-most most powerful in its class trailing the Navara's 2.5-liter engine.
I'd also recommend you to look at the Hilux. We have a 3.0 D4-D 4X4 AT at home and it hasn't skipped a beat in five years of motoring, having just gone over 90,000 kilometers and still going strong. The most expensive thing we replaced so far are the tires.
I haven't tested an Isuzu D-Max recently but I've never liked it. It's quite tight, the interior plastics are cheesy and cheap-feeling and the engine is loud even when you're inside. But you can rest assured that the engine will be as tough as nails and won't give you problems.
I have not tested the Nissan Navara either everyone's amazed with the power of its engine, which is really suited for highway driving. Its maximum torque sure goes a long way powering the Navara to crazy speeds. It doesn't make for a good hauler though since the 2.5 CRDi engine is peaky and lacks the broad, muscular mid-range power you need for hauling and off-roading.
My top pick would be the Strada because, spec'd right, it would have the best value for money proposition out there. Hilux would be second but it is pricey.
Hope my comments can help you arrive at your decision JR. Thanks again and keep it safe.
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