I intend to buy an diesel-powered sport-utility vehicle with automatic transmission this year. My budget is at P1.5 million or lower. I'll be using it mainly for city driving so a 4x2 should be okay.
I'm thinking of getting a Mitsubishi Montero Sport because I don't really like the Toyota Fortuner 's exterior design. Too bad Honda does not have a diesel variant for the CR-V. I'm not yet convinced about Mazdas.
Korean SUVs look better but I'm not sure about their long-term performance and durability, most especially their resale value.
Do you have other suggestions?
I currently have a 2003 Toyota Vios with a mileage of less than 50,000km since I'm based in Europe and my mom is the one driving it.
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Anyway, the Mitsubishi Montero Sport is okay, but the more I use it (through test drives and the like) the more I feel that the Toyota Fortuner has far better refinements than the Montero Sport.
The Montero Sport have three things going for it though:
1.) Engine - the 4M41 3.2 CRDi engine of the Montero Sport feels more muscular and flexible, and it delivers power over a broader range throughout the RPM band. This is handy when overtaking, hauling or carrying cargo out on the highway and you need the power to overtake fast.
2.) Transmission - Mitsubishi transmissions in general are highly adaptive and responsive, it more than makes up for a poor performing engine. In the Montero Sport's case however, it just makes it all the more enjoyable. Shift on the fly 4WD available as well.
3.) Tight turning radius - the Montero Sport and its pick-up kin, the Strada have the tightest turning radius in their respective classes. It's handy when making a tight u-turn in narrow roads.
The Toyota Fortuner feels classier, more refined and, in my opinion--despite the firm and bouncy suspension--offers far better body control, perfect for the twisties. The interior is better put together and the leather feels higher in quality. The ergonomics and seating position of the Fortuner feel like a classy SUV, whereas the Montero Sport feels, well, far more spartan and sportier.
Looking at typical drivers, the Fortuner seems to appeal more to older people, whereas the Montero Sport has a lot of yuppies and kids driving them.
If you're going Korean, check out the facelifted 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. That's a damn good SUV as well, and don't worry too much about resale value. It's hard to say how much it goes for because nobody sells theirs. That should give you an indication of how satisfied people are with their Hyundai Santa Fes.
I'd also say look at the Kia Sorento but I don't like its styling. It is a good and highly competent SUV for sure but there's only a handful I see on the road.
Suffice to say, your best bet is to test-drive all of the SUVs mentioned here.
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