When we think of SUVs, we picture big, burly machines with go-anywhere capability and commanding road presence. It’s interesting to note that the modern interpretation of the SUV has evolved into a grey area, the lines blurred between crossovers and quasi-SUVs projecting high ground clearance and semi-off-road capability. Truck based platforms and dedicated chassis that underpin SUVs are the real deal, and shouldn’t be confused with other vehicles adopting SUV-like qualities to cater to a wider audience. We can’t blame manufacturers, however, as the global market has made a shift to practical crossovers that can pass off as “rugged” and “capable”.
In this article, we’ll be talking about genuine SUVs that we’ve driven so far, and how they combine practicality, technology, comfort, and are unfazed when the paved roads start to end. These vehicles represent the best features in their respective classes and sizes, giving buyers the guarantee that what they’re driving is a true all-arounder for all-seasons. Whether it’s a body-on-frame chassis or a monocoque construction with legitimate off-road credentials, there’s a true SUV in the Philippines for anyone on this list.
The Suzuki Jimny carries that SUV ruggedness and capability in a rather small package. This mini explorer can definitely traverse city roads or unpredictable trails. The Jimny is always on the go thanks to its standard All-Grip 4WD system. In terms of looks, it’s totally boxy, plus, it does have some quirky design cues, including the generous application of plastic cladding and its rear-mounted spare tire which does heighten its outdoorsy vibes. Inside, the Jimny gets a decent amount of space, apart from that, passengers will surely be delighted by its 9-inch multimedia infotainment system, therefore providing that much-needed in-car entertainment experience.
Sitting in between the EcoSport and Explorer, the Ford Everest is hailed as one of the most well-balanced offerings in its segment, therefore combining important elements as to practicality, performance, and features. Last 2019, the refreshed midsize SUV finally made its way to the Philippine market, and apart from its revised looks, the Everest also carries two new powerplant options, respectively, the 2.0-liter single turbo diesel and a more peppy 2.0L Biturbo diesel. Both engines are then paired with a 10-speed automatic. Notably, it still retains the previous 2.2-liter diesel option on the Trend variant which is then mated to a familiar 6-speed automatic transmission.
Apart from having a flexible cabin that can seat up to seven passengers, the Ford Everest also gets an 8-inch infotainment system that’s standard across its range. The said screen features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with a 10-speaker audio system.
Mitsubishi Montero Sport
If you’re looking for a midsize SUV that offers a more road-focused feel and a little bit of off-road capability, then look no further than the Mitsubishi Montero Sport. On-road handling is good, and the smooth 8-speed automatic increases efficiency on longer drives. Its 3rd-generation model already went under the knife, with it featuring a more prominent and sleeker exterior along with additional features such as the new power tailgate and an 8-inch Smart Display Audio LCD Touchscreen which come standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Ford’s venerable land yacht happens to be the biggest SUV in the local market, and it’s an eight seater that features acres of cargo space and room for your passengers. It’s no slouch, too, as the hefty Ford Expedition’s V6 EcoBoost engine propels it with ease, while still returning good fuel economy numbers for its size. You’ll also find the latest amenities inside, such as blind spot indicators, Ford Sync 3, a wireless charging pad, adjustable pedals, and even climate control for all rows. Oh, and the Expedition also offers a terrain management system, plus 4x4 modes and gearing just like the Everest, so it’ll take you and your extended family, with all your gear, to any destination in mind. Just watch the 2 meter vertical clearance, that can be a bit tricky.
While the all-new Isuzu mu-X debuted in Thailand already, the Philippine market, in the meantime, still gets the pre-updated model. Despite that, the midsize SUV remains a compelling option for those who are looking for a capable, fuel-efficient, and spacious transporter of up to people. Notably, there are two engine options for this vehicle, namely a smaller 1.9-liter turbo diesel and a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel. There's still a 6-speed manual option for the smaller mill, while the larger engine is solely paired with a 6-speed automatic.
Like its pickup sibling, the Navara, the Nissan Terra is mainly known for its ride comfort which is further complemented by the rear multi-link suspension setup. Aesthetic wise, the Terra looks pretty straightforward, and it’s not a bad thing at all, as this design will surely age gracefully in time. Inside, its spacious seven-seat layout is then accompanied by a generous amount of equipment. Engine-wise, all variants of the Terra are run by the already-proven 2.5-liter diesel engine which could either be paired with a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed automatic.