cars for flood-prone areas

“Good morning mam/sir. Can you help me find the best car for flood-prone areas? I’m thinking of Montero, Everest, or CR-V. Or maybe you have any suggestions? Thank you. God Bless.”

We received a question from one of our readers asking us to help them find the best vehicles for flood-prone areas. A great question but a tricky one to answer as floods can be unpredictable, one minute it can be only a few centimeters high while in the next moment, it’s already several inches tall.

While there aren’t any amphibious vehicles that are widely available and affordable in the Philippines yet, the question that they sent is still a valid one since the country has yet to completely solve the problem of flooding. Some parts of Metro Manila, like Malabon or Navotas, have streets that are prone to flooding all throughout the year. Some roads in other cities are even flooded without rain.

Now, when the rainy season unleashes its wrath, this isn’t good news for the residents of flood-prone areas. Some areas in and outside Metro Manila are historically susceptible to floods. May it be because of problems with drainage systems, people’s careless trash disposal that primarily causes the former, or something else, is for a different discussion all in all.

Flood in manila

Before we answer the reader’s question, we have to remind you that we don’t recommend driving through floods unless your vehicle has been heavily modified to do so. Cars are land vehicles, which means they are meant to be dry. They are made of metal components that could rust through constant exposure to moisture, not to mention the engine and electrical system which are both not for submarine exploration.

If you can, avoid flooded areas at all costs. You can stop your car, turn around then find another route. The additional minutes or hours of extra travel time are still better than having to spend thousands of pesos on flood-related repairs and damages. 

If you have to and you have no other choice, just remember to go through a flood with care. Don’t go through more than six inches of the standing flood or more than four inches of moving water. To give you an idea, six inches of a flood is about shin-deep, which would reach at least the underside of a typical sedan. Also, don’t go into the flood at speed as it can cause bow waves and splashes that could affect pedestrians, cyclists, riders, and other smaller cars, with that in mind, it is important to be considerate of others.

Isuzu mu-X

Going back to the question, what are the best cars for flood-prone areas? If it isn’t obvious, vehicles with high ground clearance are the safest ones that can go through water. The reader gave the Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Ford Everest, and Honda CR-V as choices, and she’s on the right track. These vehicles have a considerable amount of space from the ground, with the CR-V having the least figure at 208 mm (8.2 inches). With that, six-inch-deep floods will only barely touch the underside of the vehicle. However, we have to remind you that some cars will have different ground clearance specs. For example, the CR-V VX Turbo has 208 mm of ground clearance while the RS e:HEV and V variants have 198 mm. Keep this in mind when shopping for a car.

Among the three choices, we would recommend going for the Ford Everest as it has the most ground clearance at 227 mm or 8.9 inches. The SUV also has the highest wading capacity at 800 mm or more than 2.5 feet. This makes sure that none of its electrical systems get damaged if it needs to ford a flood (pun intended). However, if the flood is deeper than its wading capacity we highly recommend against driving through it.

Mitsubishi Triton Athlete

Other vehicles you could consider are the entries in the midsize SUV segment like the Isuzu mu-X, Toyota Fortuner and Nissan Terra, as well as their pickup truck counterparts such as the Mitsubishi Triton, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Toyota Hilux, and Nissan Navara.

Crossovers can also be viable as well but they need to have a considerable amount of ground clearance to successfully and safely make it through a flood. Options such as the previously mentioned Honda CR-V could also be part of your choices. Mazda’s CX-5 and CX-9, Toyota’s RAV4, and Corolla Cross as well as Suzuki’s XL7 all have a substantial amount of ground clearances, so these are safe choices to go with as well.

While these vehicles would allow you to safely tackle flooded roads, We would like to add that investing in a flood-free parking spot for your car is just as equally important. Make sure to keep this in mind before you proceed with making the huge purchase. Oh, and before we forget, once you’ve passed the flood and reached home, make sure to give your car a thorough underwash and a quick visual inspection to make sure no gunk is stuck underneath.

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