Hottest comparos of 2011 revealed

Which cars invited the most heated arguments?
Dec 31, 2011

With all the queries we get from people who want to buy a brand-new car, our office would be knee-deep in stationeries by mid-year if not for electronic mails and the Internet. If comments came in snail mail as well, we'd be swimming in paper around this time. Not that we're complaining. We love getting letters and feedbacks from readers. And that's why we're doing this comparo list--to round up the most discussed automotive comparisons during the entire year.

We received an assortment of letters with options ranging from the smallest of city cars to the most capable sport-utility vehicle. Judging from the list, however, you'd notice the obvious popularity of the Mitsubishi Montero Sport and the Hyundai Santa Fe. Let's wait for the final sales data from the industry to check which SUV won many hearts this year. In the meantime, here's a countdown to the hottest comparo of 2011. 

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10. Best sedan and truck picks - 37 comments

Amir says: I'm a third-year high school student. I'm a car fanatic and I'm also an avid reader of your magazine (I especially like your articles). I may seem a bit too young to be asking about the best car to buy but I'm the only petrolhead in the family so I was tasked to scout for our next car.

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Botchi says: Aside from the Cruze, I'd recommend the new Mitsubishi Lancer, which is very stylish and youthful-looking, not to mention it is probably the best handling sedan in its class in my opinion. Another option is the Honda Civic, which, despite being somewhat common, is really a good car.

From the readers
dheezhee11 says: Maybe the Altis should also be considered? Kapag iniisip ko kasi ang word na compromise at daddy, pumapasok agad ang Civic at Altis sa utak ko hehe...

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HKB11 says: The Civic is the best for your dad and yourself, and for your lolo just wait for the second quarter this year, the all new izusu D-max with 360 nm of torque.

jclogan10 says: Lancer EX & Strada..Forget the Civic, your dad will be just like everyone else.


9. Honda Civic or Hyundai Tucson? - 38 comments

Connie says: I am a single city girl torn between getting a Hyundai Tucson GL and a Honda Civic. I know they are not comparable as they are of different classifications. But I really like the refinement of the Honda Civic VTEC and I like driving it. However, since I like doing road trips every now and then, an entry-level Tucson would really fit my lifestyle. My budget is between P900,000 and P1.1 million.

Botchi says: The Hyundai Tucson is great but you might also want to take a look at the new Peter Schreyer-designed Kia Sportage. That's my favorite compact SUV at the moment as it is very stylish inside and out. It's very modern and very classy, too.

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From the readers
fortis3 says: the Honda Jazz is a much better alternative than the Tucson. Down the road, the Jazz will be cheaper to maintain than the Tuscon and has better resale value.

gogogo3 says: i'd go for the hyundai tucson since we're experiencing a lot of floods these days. :)

bravo263 says: For your lifestyle, Tucson, but I doubt if it will age well


8. Land Cruiser, Pajero, Patrol, Q7 or RX 350? - 43 comments

Wins says: We're having quite a hard time choosing between the Nissan Patrol Super Safari, the Mitsubishi Pajero, and the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado and LC200. What are the pros and cons of each? The Nissan Patrol is the most affordable among the four choices but we heard that it has some reliability issues specially with the radiator. Is this true?

Botchi says: I am also deeply much in love with the Mitsubishi Pajero. It's decently capable off-road, especially on high-speed dirt roads--much like a rally stage, which is really Mitsubishi's off-road forte. This is also as reliable as death and taxes, much like the Land Cruiser.

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From the readers
997 GT2RS says: Why would you include Q7 and RX 350. they're soft roaders. No low range on this city slickers. I'll have the land cruiser 200 twin turbo, the official Nissan/Mitsubishi tow vehicle...hehhehe

SuperSnake says: Mitsubishi Pajero. It has the heritage the other cars lack.

dtkiko says: TOYOTA = very REPUTABLE company that's why it is the world's No. 1 auto manufacturer, and its Landcruisers are simple the BEST in the world! Even in today's world of much-hyped VGT's, Toyota has been using them since 2001 on its 3-litre 1KD-FTV engines.


7. SUV options: Diesel or gasoline? - 56 comments

Nelson says: I'm planning to buy my first sport-utility vehicle in early 2012. I'm now conducting my own research to help me choose between a gasoline-fed engine or a diesel-powered engine. I drive 40 kilometers every day, mainly on highways. I drive out of town quarterly. I don't hit the accelerator that much and my speed range is normally between 90kph and 120kph.

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Botchi says: Diesel engines are, for the most part, the way of the future. The only downsides to modern CRDi diesel engines are their sensitivity to poor diesel-fuel quality and the rather expensive servicing cost. A bad or dirty batch of diesel fuel can wreak havoc in your vehicle's CRDi system, which is very costly to repair. And since diesel fuels are generally of below-average quality here in the Philippines, the engine needs special lubricants and additives to keep it spinning happily.

From the readers
chris_t610 says: The Santa Fe is like a torpedo on 4 wheels! Not to mention good looking too!

eddie_g says: We Own both 2.5 Montero GLS (21,000 kms) and 4x2 Sta Fe. Compared sa sta Fe sobra mahal maintenance ng montero. Nung 20,000kms na yung Montero need na kaagad palitan yung Fuel Filter at Brakes while yung Sta Fe sa 40,000kms PMS pa nagpalit ng Brake Pads and Fuel Filter.

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sef21 says: A Toyota is best when it comes to maintenance cost. Diesel engines has received more advancements than their Gasoline-fed counterparts but both kinds of engines need proper maintenance, especially Diesel engines. So for me, engine durability depends on the one who maintains it. My best choice would be the Tucson 2.0 Re-VGT. If the RAV4 had an advanced Diesel engine, that would've been my real pick.


6. Accord, Camry, Legacy or Sonata? - 57 comments

Jonathan says: I have gone through your posts, and the Legacy trumps the Camry and the Accord. But with the new Sonata, would you still choose the Legacy? My heart says Legacy but my head says Accord for the prestige or Sonata for the value for money. I'm a wee bit concerned on the road noise of the Legacy.

Botchi says: The Camry has a great engine, and an even better six-speed automatic transmission. The only things I dislike are the rather tacky interior and the bouncy ride. It's better suited for old people (holding senior citizen cards) rather than the young, young at heart and those going through their second childhood. Pretty fast as well, but better experienced through the back seat as driving the Camry is a rather bland experience.

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From the readers
jmp.gutierrez says: You could consider waiting for the V6 Teana, or the GDI Sonata (should bump up its numbers, though I'm unsure if they'll release it here)

MerryWarner says: Sonata. All the best things for the least amount of money. The best bang for your buck that's the point of buying a car anyway. Legacy comes a close second if you fancy drifting.

juntamayo says: accord vcm. the most powerful accord ever is the most fuel efficient accord ever


5. Avanza, Aveo or Fiesta? - 59 comments

Jon says: We first thought of getting a seven-seater Toyota Avanza. We found out, however, that it's too big for us since our family is just composed of me, my wife, our 10-year old daughter and our two-year old son. Our next options are the minis--Suzuki Celerio and Chevrolet Spark. But my wife finds the driver's seat too low and she may end up having difficulty driving. We then compared sedans in the market. We came upon these two choices: the Chevrolet Aveo and the Ford Fiesta. Both are roomy enough for two adults and two kids.

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Botchi says: In your case, the Avanza might make better sense as your baby won't be a baby for too long and having extra space is always good for added versatility. An all-new Avanza is scheduled to come out very soon so keep an eye on that, or for good bargains on the older model, which I'm sure Toyota will want to sell-out quickly with the arrival of the new one.

From the readers
HKB says: Jon go for Toyota avanza as this common because of durability and efficiency, this is a good choice because of its performance, don't waste your hard earn money.......

Kyle Lopez-Vito says: I'm totally with Mr. Botchi on this one. The Avanza should be right for a growing family (that is if they want more than their current 2. lol). I haven't been inside a Fiesta yet, so I believe the Accent should be a better choice. It's pretty big, spacious and comfy for its segment. Though as a Hyundai owner myself, it boggles me how my i10 is actually costing more to maintain than my mom's 2008 Altis.

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sef21 says: Get the Avanza. It has a high seating position making it easy for your wife to drive it. The power from the 1.5L engine is just right. The ride quality is comparable to a sedan. As for the looks, it isn't really *gly but it isn't good looking either. But based on your budget, I would say practicality is your primary consideration for getting a vehicle. Practicality is one of the Avanza's strengths.


4. Fortuner or Everest? - 63 comments

Rays says: I'm planning to upgrade to a sport-utility vehicle. I have read some of your columns and found comparisons between the Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Everest. I'm comparing the Everest 4x2 2.5 LTD Ice and the Fortuner 4x2 2.5 Diesel, and I'd like to ask for your opinion as to which one is the best.

Botchi says: Despite the very firm ride, the Toyota Fortuner over the years has in fact had its suspension improved and revised considerably. You still get a very firm suspension, which personally doesn't bother me at all whenever I drive my dad's 2010 model Fortuner. And the harshness I used to mention in earlier comments has in fact gone out of the proverbial window. It feels smooth and the firm suspension helps harness all of the Fortuner's power and get it down to the pavement, propelling the Fortuner forward really fast. On winding roads, you'll love the Fortuner's firm suspension as body roll is kept well in check; you become more confident in attacking corners with gusto, or at least, as confident as can be.

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From the readers
BOOGIECAT says: The new Fortuner is the best pick..Everest and Sta Fe are too old now..

chinitoguy30 says: Why not consider Mitsubishi Montero? It a perferct choice. But I understand why. Montero is everywhere! I know a lot of people who owns it. If you own one you won't recognize your own Montero if you are parked inside a mall dahil sa dami. I agree with some that Fortuner is "matagtag" but a new Fortuner is coming out this 2012. I guess its worth the wait, right?

diesel8 says: Try and check out the latest sportage crdi by kia. I saw them on the road and I tell you it is the way for urban suv. Well round performer and the its design.


3. Forester or Montero Sport? - 79 comments

Hera says: I am in the market for a sport-utility vehicle. I've narrowed down my choices to the Subaru Forester 2.0 X and Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS-V. I'm in my 40s and I would like a dependable, easy-to-maintain vehicle with a good resale value.  I would appreciate your inputs. If I were to increase my budget and choose between a Montero Sport 2.5 GTV and Forester 2.5 XT, what should I get?

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Botchi says: Personally, I love both the Mitsubishi Montero Sport GTV and the Subaru Forester FX-T. Both are very fast, enjoyable to drive and they offer amazing high-speed stability. But it really depends on where you plan to use the cars.

From the readers
engr_kristian says: female, in the 40s, vehicle requirements are: dependable, easy to maintain, & good resale. all these points only to the Montero but i agree with someone here, get the GTV variant.

GBfive says: the Montero will add 10yrs. to your age. the Forester will make you 20yrs. younger.

jabroni says: kung you love speed go for forester 2.5XT pero kung practical ka lang go with a CRV, new Sportage or CX7. I won't recommend the Montero since I think it's to high and large for a lady(parang hindi bagay)...


2. Alterra, Montero Sport or Fortuner? - 149 comments

David says: I am planning to buy a sport-utility vehicle (SUV) and I'm choosing between a Mitsubishi Montero Sport, an Isuzu Alterra and Toyota Fortuner. Can you please tell me which is better in terms of fuel economy, reliabilty and after-sales service?

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Botchi says: The Montero Sport is currently my favorite SUV. The handling and comfort compromise is pretty good. It's not as harsh as it was in the past, and it has a new 2.5 CRDi engine equipped with a VGT turbine and five-speed automatic transmission with the industry-only paddle-shifters available in its class. It's not a very good hard-core off-road performer but it's more than enough for most light off-roading: provincial dirt, farm-to-market roads and anything that will not involve winching. Get the GT-V variant, the top-model Montero Sport that has a small difference over the 4X2 you were originally looking at. It's well worth the upgrade!

From the readers
macpro says: A good SUV should have the right balance and compromise in terms of ride, power, handling, features, styling and off-road capability. For me, the montero sport is the most "balanced" among the three vehicles mentioned here. Power is really sufficient and the ride is almost as good as crossovers plus the good off-road capability.

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Rem says: Montero Sport and Isuzu Alterra for me. In the engine department, you can never go wrong with Isuzu's engines. Pero sana yung 4JJ1-TCX na lang ang nilabas dito, at sana din pareho ang D-Max and Alterra sa Thai domestic model. :D

Kyoichi Sudo says: david, you can't go wrong w/ the Montero Sport 2.5L GLS-V 4X2. But if you want a bit stylish one, The Montero Sport GTV suits the best, even in entertainment and power (176hp, 350N-m), w/ a price of P1,688,000 (GLS SE P1,720,000). GLS-V costs P1,408,000 compared to Fortuner's P1,479,000 w/ 102hp and 241 N-m of torque (2.5G AT) and P1,741,000 w/ 163hp and 343N-m (3.0V).


1. Hyundai Santa Fe vs Mitsubishi Montero Sport - 153 comments

Kenneth says: My tita and my tito are planning to buy a sport-utility vehicle but they can't decide whether they should get the 2.2-liter two-wheel drive Hyundai Santa Fe eVGT or the 2.5-liter Mitsubishi Montero Sport. These are two great SUVs but they just can't decide. They asked me what I'll choose but I can't decide either. They are both good-looking SUVs. Hope you can shed some light here. We’d also appreciate if you could suggest other SUVs.

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Botchi says: As of now, the Santa Fe is king of the highway-speed-demon SUV class as its powerful CRDi engine mated with the R-eVGT turbine and 6-speed automatic has no equal on the road despite having a displacement of only 2.2 liters. Its rivals all displace 3.0 liters or more yet they offer less peak torque and horsepower figures.

From the readers
ChairmanPineapple says: if you are going to use your car for pang harabas or for everyday workload then i guess the montero suits it but if you are going to drive it for leisure and luxury then Sante Fe fits, mas nakakapanghinayang kasi na mabugbog ang sante fe comparing to montero hehe

macmaba says: SF if purely urban and rural with good condition roads. MS if you have that spirit of adventure from time-to-time. Personally since I'm an outdoor buff I'll take the MS. Really highly depends on your lifestyle ;)

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Jerricson says: Though my family owns a new Ford Everest, I would go for MONTERO SPORT. Santa Fe is no match to the performance of MS. Nakapag test drive na kami ng top of the line ng dalawang units and, really, ang laki ng difference. Pang city driving lang ang sante fe. but for all types of terrains, (dahil sa ang pilipinas ay may hindi kagandahang kakalsadahan) Montero would belittle Santa Fe. And to add, Montero has a harder kick kaysa sa Santa Fe.

We hope to continue helping you in your car-buying decision in 2012. Just drop us a note here. Cheers!

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