A reader asks: Isuzu MU-X, Mitsubishi Montero Sport or Toyota Fortuner?

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by Botchi Santos | Apr 1, 2016

Toyota Fortuner vs. Isuzu MU-X vs. Mitsubishi Montero Sport

Good day, sir. Which one would you recommend: Toyota Fortuner, Isuzu MU-X or Mitsubishi Montero Sport? Which of the three is fuel-efficient, tested, classy and durable--and with available parts? Thank you so much.

Serafin

 

Hi, Serafin. Thank you for your e-mail.

Isuzu recently concluded a test drive of its MU-X and the D-Max, garnering the best-ever fuel economy for a single tank of gas. I forget the exact figure, but it was truly otherworldly! I've yet to try the MU-X off-road, but all Isuzus have always had excellent off-road performance right out of the box. Its diesel engines may be reliable and fuel-efficient as they are, but I find them to be the noisiest of the bunch (perhaps second only to Chevrolet's diesel engines).

Moving on, the all-new Toyota Fortuner and the Mitsubishi Montero Sport are both so vastly different from their respective predecessors. Getting behind the wheel of these vehicles is like driving an all-new type of vehicle far removed from their forefathers.

Major improvements for both the Fortuner and the Montero Sport include better NVH (noise vibration and harshness) isolation and refinement, and a much smoother, softer suspension. Both also offer excellent handling, much improved cornering, and stability at high speeds.

The Fortuner and the Montero Sport are also vastly improved off-road, although it is the Montero Sport that has greatly elevated its off-road performance from its predecessor. Both SUVs now come with a wide array of safety gear: ABS, EBD, traction and stability control, and six to seven airbags. The Toyota has the A-TRAC, while the Mitsubishi has off-road terrain management system and forward collision mitigation system.

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I can say that on the highway and paved roads, the Montero Sport--with its smaller, lighter and more fuel-efficient, MIVEC-equipped 4N15 engine--will be the better choice. It's quieter and more refined than the 1GD-FTV powering the new Fortuner. The Montero Sport also has an eight-speed automatic transmission, which means you'll get maximum speeds at low revs without sacrificing in-gear acceleration, such as when overtaking or climbing up steep ascents on a full load.

The Fortuner is equally impressive, but more so for its ride comfort, as its predecessor really rode like a buck in heat! Compared to its predecessor, the all-new Fortuner is also far more responsive engine- and transmission-wise. During aggressive driving, the old one felt somewhat lazy and dull.

However, since I only got to drive both vehicles in separate events and in extreme conditions (purpose-built race track and off-road driving trail), real-world fuel-economy expectations are too hard to come by. We'll all have to wait until I get decent time behind the wheel of either SUV to really see how fuel-efficient these are.

Now, what would I recommend? I'd say go for the Montero Sport if you will be doing a lot of high-speed highway runs and predominantly paved driving. Opt for the Fortuner if you simply want a tried-and-tested product from the world's most reliable brand. It's great on and off the road, without question. I recommend the MU-X if you really want the single most fuel-efficient and purportedly most reliable, long-lasting engine in a simple, no-frills package, and yet is still equally stylish and modern.

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Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor

 

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  • Quiz Results

  • TGP Rating
    --/20
    Engine
    --
    Power
    --
    Torque
    --
    Transmission
    --
    Fuel
    --
    1.8 E CVT
    Starts at P1,110,000
    TGP Rating:
    --/20
    Pros
    Light on amenities, Honda kept styling it long after it was done.
    Cons
    Light on amenities, Honda kept styling it long after it was done.
    Verdict
    Honda’s winningest combination comes when you opt for a six-speed manual transmission available in the Civic hatchback Sport, in which …
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  • TGP Rating:
    /20

    Starts at ₱

    TGP Rating:
    /20
    Starts at ₱