The Decision

SUV options for a lady

Hi, Botchi.

Good day! I'm trying to decide which SUV to buy. I've only browsed models via the Internet and I haven't checked one up close. It's so hard to decide. Do you think you can help me narrow down my search?

I need something a smooth ride that is comfortable and roomy. It also has to have the power to overtake other cars.

I was trying to compare the Montero here in the United States with the available in the Philippines but my brother said the design sold in Asia is different.

I need lots of help. Thanks a whole bunch!


Hi, Malou.

Glad to hear from you! It's funny but some companies give different names for the same car. A good example is the one you brought up. The Montero in the US is actually called the Pajero here in the Philippines. Our Montero Sport here is actually built on a platform that is specific to ASEAN and other developing countries. Did you know that our local Lancer, also similar to the Lancer in the US, is called the Galant Fortis in Japan?

Anyway, we first have to determine your budget. Let me assume for now that if you're looking at the Montero in the US, your budget for a new sport-ute would be around P3 million. Here are the possible choices:

Mitsubishi Pajero - This is the very best sport-utility vehicle in this segment with decent off-roading capability, a luxuriously smooth ride, a flexible and roomy interior with 7-seater capacity and a unique fold-flat-to-the-floor rear third row bench. I love the power and handling of the Pajero the most and feels very stable even at 190kph on the highway. The gasoline engine delivers almost V8-like torque and response but with better fuel consumption. It is the diesel engine, however, that is the best. I'd buy this baby in a heartbeat if I had the moolah.


Toyota Land Cruiser Prado - I haven't tried the newest one yet but it should be a good SUV with an off-roading ability equal to that of the Pajero's. Smooth and refined on-road manners and frugal Toota powerplants mean you'll be driving on the road more and spending less time at the gas pumps. It looks very modern, too, having taken the new corporate look similar to that of the Camry's. I'm very interested in this one. It seems to be the second best SUV in this segment but a thorough test-drive is much needed for me to make a final verdict. 

Subaru Tribeca - This is a very American-focused SUV. It feels like an American car more than a Japanese one. It's refined and comfortable but it fails to deliver an exciting drive unlike the other Subaru models. The looks are also very polarizing. It's so American, in fact, that it's made in America!

Hyundai Veracruz - This SUV looks good as well. I've been very happy with all the Hyundai models I've tested thoroughly so far. The Hyundai Vera Cruz is supposedly due for a facelift soon but the current one is still a looker.

There you have it. Except for the Subaru and the Honda, all SUVs here have diesel engine options which, in my book, are always good. CRDi engines have more useable torque, are better for everyday driving and more fuel efficient.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Botchi Santos
Consumer editor

Lost in a sea of cars and not quite sure which one to get? Click here to email your car query so Botchi can help you pick the right vehicle!

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