The Philippine roads have more potholes than plot holes in a badly written movie. Traversing these thoroughfares with a low car may evoke a feeling of anxiety. Why drive a sedan when you can drive a car that can just roll over road imperfections without trouble?
This is where the midsize SUV segment shines. On top of being a head taller than most cars in the Philippines, it also helps that you won’t be thinning out your wallet for fuel money because these cars run on diesel.
With the formula clear and out in the open, manufacturers find it easy to push out their own models for the buying public. Looking at all the options available may make your head spin, because almost every car in the list has these basic features: a diesel engine, seven seats, high ground clearance, and a ladder frame chassis that defines it as an SUV.
Note that this list is in alphabetical order.
This is Chevrolet’s entry into the midsize SUV segment, the Trailblazer. Still the king of torque in its class, it features a hefty 500 Nm coming from a 2.8L diesel engine. It stands as an underrated choice in the market with enough space to haul an entire family and tend to the rigors of hauling heavy items with ease.
Another American entry, the Ford Everest delivers a premium interior with light steering for a midsize SUV. Featuring muscular lines and bold styling, consumers are spoiled in terms of features in the top of the line trim while maintaining its Ford ruggedness.
A cost-effective choice, the Toplander features a diesel engine under the Cummins name. Renowned for specializing in diesel mills, Cummins is a company that many car brands have flocked to in order to develop a diesel engine for use in their cars. It’s an entry from one of the commercial vehicle brands in the Philippines, Foton. The consumer variant has features that lets this SUV compete in the hot segment.
Affordability and reliability are on the top priorities for the mu-X. Utilitarian in nature, and designed to be frugal, almost every aspect is geared towards its function as a sport utility vehicle. The model comes in either a fuel-efficient 1.9L, middle 2.5L, or large 3.0L diesel engine. The smaller of the two engines still deliver the power needed for the streets of Metro Manila, but with better fuel economy, all while still retaining the space and seating that the segment is known for.
Mitsubishi Montero Sport
A strong contender, not only in its segment, but in the Philippine market; the nameplate was one of the original few that started the midsize SUV trend. While prior models featured a rounded design, this SUV prominently features Mitsubishi’s dynamic shield design. While some aspects of the design tend to be an acquired taste, it doesn’t change the fact that the Montero Sport is a valued companion to many drivers for its clean-cut interior and driving dynamics. With a midcycle update, it'll make more heads turn as it rolls down the road.
A relative newcomer from an established brand in the Philippines, the Nissan Terra made a name for itself even if it was late to the midsize SUV party. Lauded for its handsome looks, stellar ride, and advanced tech features, the Terra stands as one of the better offerings in this segment, save for the interior, everything else ticks all the right boxes: diesel engine, seven seats, and comfort that other SUVs would be wary of.
A new vehicle in the market from a brand that is looking to make a return, the SsangYong Rexton offers a plush ride with all the amenities that can compete with or are better than other offerings in the market. Updated styling and an interior that deserves attention, it could be that this is the SUV that puts the South Korean brand back on the map and into the consciousness of Filipinos. A lush interior, a multi-link rear suspension, and a multitude of features make this car worth a thought.
The king of sales in the midsize SUV segment, the Toyota Fortuner proves that a brand and an iconic nameplate can make a huge difference with regard to consumer trust. The Fortuner is one of the first nameplates to become a household name. For a year, it was the best-selling car in the Philippines, eclipsing its subcompact brother, the Toyota Vios, in terms of sales. It is a force to be reckoned with, and a definite leader in its segment for the foreseeable future.