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 takes the crown as the smallest, most capable SUV in the country. While we patiently wait for the 2019 iteration to hit showroom floors, rest assured that the current Jimny is still a force to be reckoned with when it comes to satisfying your adventure lifestyle. Perfect for off-roading and getting to far flung destinations off paved roads, the Jimny features part-time four-wheel-drive, a transfer case with low and high gearing, and a system that detects slipping wheels and acts as a limited slip differential. It’s a no-nonsense SUV that gets the job done with minimal fuss, and without drama; a true SUV that gets the basics just right.
Of all the midsize SUVs in the market, the Ford Everest is at the top of our list because it ticks all the boxes for a modern family that desires for a vehicle that can keep up with them on weekends, yet still slug it out during the workday hustle. The Everest has a comprehensive number of safety features, such as multiple airbags, adaptive cruise control, blind spot indicators, and rear cross traffic alert, plus modern amenities such as automatic climate control and the latest iteration of the Ford Sync 3 that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. To tackle any terrain, the Everest comes equipped with low and high gearing, hill descent control, multiple terrain modes, and multiple 4x4 options, making the Everest one of the most capable and equipped midsize SUVs we’ve tried so far.
If you’re looking for a more refined midsize SUV that offers a more road focused feel and a little bit of off-road capability, the Mitsubishi Montero is our pick. On road handling is good, and the smooth eight-speed automatic increases efficiency on longer drives. Body roll is also minimal when compared to its rivals, and steering feel is solid and tighter at any speed. The flatter cargo area when the seats are folded is also a big plus. The Montero also comes with adaptive cruise and blind spot indicators, plus additional safety features to prevent accidental gas pedal pressing. You can also toggle from high and low gearing, 4x4 modes, plus a terrain management system, and hill descent control, making it a solid performer.
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.
Toyota Land Cruiser
The longest running nameplate in Toyota’s family of products, the Toyota Land Cruiser has off-road heritage that dates back to the 1950s. Today, it has evolved into a full-sized SUV known for its well-appointed interiors and passenger comfort across all types of terrain. Recognized the world over as one of the most reliable and dependable vehicles of all time, the Land Cruiser is equipped with the very best Toyota technology to tackle any road condition, such as Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (A-TRC), Hill-Climb Assist, Multi-Terrain Select, and CRAWL Control.
Land Rover Range Rover
No proper SUV list would be complete without a special entry from the United Kingdom. Widely regarded as the manufacturer that creates the most capable, stylish, and luxurious SUVs on the planet, Land Rover has been honing their craft since 1948. The Land Rover Range Rover is the flagship SUV of the brand, offering the very best technology to ease traversal of any kind of terrain, and still be fit enough for a queen on the road. Options are also very comprehensive, opening up choices for more sporty or utilitarian touches. Standard on any Land Rover is a terrain management system, driving modes, torque vectoring, and multiple wading depths, plus a plethora of other options to ease your every driving experience. If you want one of the most refined SUVs on the planet, look no further than a Land Rover.