Pickup or SUV for a budding entrepreneur?

Help our letter sender decide
by Botchi Santos | Oct 1, 2010

Hi, Botchi!

First of all, I would like to commend you for having such a fun and interesting column. I really enjoy your response to letter senders. I'm not a techie person (when it comes to vehicles) but I really learn a lot of insights from you. Thanks. Good job!

My question is really a newbie question. I will be replacing my company car soon and my choices are the Toyota Hilux 2.5 G and the Hyundai Tucson 2.0. My budget is P1.05 million.

Here are my considerations:

1. I travel a lot around Central and Northern Luzon (but I get free fuel and toll fee);
2. I will get married soon (hopefully) so it has to be a family ride;
3. I have a personal printing business; and
4. I’m looking for a car that looks good and prestigious.

I'm really stuck and I need your expert advice. I appreciate your usual insightful inputs. Please feel free to suggest other vehicles if you think I have better options.

Continue reading below ↓

Kind regards,


Hi, Noel!

Thank you very much for your email. It warms my heart to know people out there do read and enjoy the work that I, along with the rest of the Top Gear team, put into each and every print issue and online updates.

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Aside from the Toyota Hilux 2.5 G and the Hyundai Tucson 2.0, have you considered the Mitsubishi Strada? The GL and GLX 2.5 4x2 both fit your budget (P860,000 and P925,000, respectively) and both can help you in your t-shirt printing business.

The Mitsubishi Strada, in my humble opinion, is the better pickup compared to the Toyota Hilux because it has better interior space (particularly at the back) and it has the tightest turning radius in its class at 5.9 meters. Most of its competitors are in the six-plus meters level. The Strada also comes with a powerful 2.5-liter CRDi diesel engine that gives great power, economy, efficiency and response. You'll be hauling serious behind on the highway with this baby!

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The Hyundai Tucson is a great sport-utility vehicle; no wonder people are flocking in droves to buy one. The waiting queue is as long as the line on a UAAP basketball finals. But most people, including I, cannot bear the very long wait. I’d look elsewhere because of this.

The Toyota Hilux is a good pickup truck. We used to own a 3.0 AT and it ran flawlessly for five years with a mileage of 100,000 with no problem at all. But you can get a better deal elsewhere. This would lead us back to the Mitsubishi Strada.

A new Strada pickup would definitely increase your market value because it represents the new face of the upwardly mobile Filipino professional-slash-entrepreneur who is well-informed and pro-active in knowing and getting what he wants. Or at least that's how I see the trend.

A left-field suggestion would be the Kia Carens or the Nissan Grand Livina. Both are mini multipurpose vehicles that drive like cars. The Carens has a really good CRDi engine. The Grand Livina looks tight but it is actually quite roomy inside. The seats fold flat and allow copious amounts of luggage to be loaded inside.

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What do you think of these options now? Good luck and God bless!

Botchi Santos
Consumer editor

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