A Top Gear PH reader asks: What\'s a good SUV for seven people?

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by Botchi Santos | Sep 3, 2012

Hi, Botchi! I keep reading your replies to those who ask for your advice regarding different cars. I really like your comments on certain cars because they are not biased.

I am a 21-year-old guy who loves to drive different cars. I currently drive a 2010 Nissan Navara AT and a 2007 Honda Civic AT. These cars are very fun to drive, but I realize that we need a family car--an SUV that would fit seven people. All of us in the family are quite heavy and very meticulous when it comes to the size and spaciousness of an SUV. We often have long trips and we prefer a diesel-powered SUV since gasoline price is prohibitive. We also want automatic transmission so that my sisters can drive the vehicle.

Vicente Perez Jr.

 

Hi, Vincent. Based on your list of requirements, nothing can match a Mitsubishi Montero Sport for its price and performance. The Montero Sport has seven seats, a powerful engine, rugged and simple construction, and excellent resale value. Servicing is quite expensive (the dealership insists that you use fully synthetic engine oil exclusively for the Montero Sport\'s CRDi and VGT-equipped engine). The headroom is quite short if you are tall people.

But otherwise, on-road performance is excellent. This SUV pulls easily all the way to 190kph, and the brakes are phenomenal. In fact, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines brought in ace rally driver and multiple Paris-Dakar champion Hiroshi Masuoka who helped develop the Montero Sport, to demonstrate its strengths on a mixed off-road/on-road course at Clark International Speedway, and it was the best ever roller-coaster ride I ever experienced. Masuoka-san drifted the Montero Sport on tarmac and dirt with five people on-board, and the Montero Sport never once felt like it would tip over.

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On the racetrack\'s main straight, we hit a terminal velocity of over 160kph with five on-board. When Masuoka-san stomped on the brakes, the big and burly SUV came to a halt instantly. Hard to beat my own confidence in the Montero Sport after having witnessed its abilities firsthand. Plus, there is a variant that fits right in with your budget. My family has owned two so far (an older GLS Sport SE and the new GTV variant), and we love them both.

Don\'t believe rumors about incidents of unintended acceleration. There are too many conflicting statements and no clear-cut evidence of it being a mechanical or electronic failure.

The Toyota Fortuner 4x2 G, meanwhile, is slow. Period.

The Ford Everest? Tight and cramped inside. But a new one should be on the horizon soon as the new Ranger pickup signals a revamp for the entire Ford lineup.

Some wild cards? The Hyundai Santa Fe is really good, and even more refined and comfortable than the Montero Sort because it is a hybrid-crossover platform that is built like a car compared to a traditional SUV. The all-new 2013 model should be out soon, but that might be outside your budget. Still, the older 2012 variant is very good even in today\'s standards.

The Santa Fe\'s relative, the Kia Sorento, is much the same, but offers a more American-inspired flavor over the Santa Fe\'s more European-inspired looks.

Hope this helps you guys. Good luck, keep it safe and God bless!

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Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor

 

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