Alterra, Montero Sport or Fortuner?

Help our letter sender decide
by Botchi Santos | May 13, 2011
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Hi, Botchi!

My name is David and I'm from Laguna. 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?

My daily travel is from Calamba in Laguna to Alabang in Muntinlupa. Once a week, I travel to Makati.

I've heard of the new Mitsubishi Montero Sport with VGT and how it is compared to the new Toyota Fortuner and Isuzu Alterra. I just want a 4x2 SUV.

I hope to receive a suggestion from you soon. That would really help me choose an SUV.

Regards,
David

Hi, David!

It's always a pleasure for us to hear from you guys out there. Thanks for taking the time to send us your query.

Here's my take on the SUVs you mentioned:

Isuzu Alterra. This is the oldest of the bunch. It's got roomy middle-row seats, and it's a solid and dependable choice. It is, however, underpowered in today's SUV segment. While the Alterra is generally well-built as a whole--with decent standard equipment--it also feels the most cheesy, aftermarket-ish. It doesn't have the OEM look of the Toyota Fortuner and the Mitsubishi Montero Sport.

Toyota Fortuner. This is a great vehicle but the 4x2 is only available in 2.7 VVT-i gasoline or 2.5 D4-D diesel engine. Both are grossly underpowered, which is the last thing you want in a big heavy SUV like the Fortuner. Now, you can't go wrong with the 3.0 D4-D V variant, but it just might push you out of your budget. Still, even in top-variant trim level, there's nothing really new about the Fortuner so it's showing its age while its still a very formidable and tough SUV. The ride is admittedly firm but you'll get used to it anyway. It also makes for excellent high-speed maneuvering such as driving fast and hard on a long-winding mountain road. I love it in 3.0 D4-D V trim!

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Mitsubishi Montero Sport. Now this 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!

Hope this helps makes things a little easier for you. Keep us posted when you've decided on which SUV to get. Take care and God bless!

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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