By Ulysses Ang
SPORT utility vehicles or SUVs have gone a long way. From vehicles known for their utility and practicality, they’ve become symbols of success. True enough, pickup-based SUVs, like the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Ford Everest, Nissan Terra, and Chevrolet Trailblazer, have become the top choice of vehicle, displacing midsize executive sedans in the process.
But what if you want to stand out from the sea of Fortuners and Monteros? What if you’re ready to plunk down several thousand grand more in your down payments and monthly amortizations? What else is out there?
In the Philippines, there are 20 or so SUVs in the 2-million- to 4-million-peso price range — and all of them have something unique to offer. Here is part two of the list in alphabetical order:
Premium design, elegance, and a fun-to-drive attitude come together in a three-row, 7-seat SUV. Boasting a sensual design, the signature curves and energy of Mazda’s KODO design language are ever present, imbuing this SUV with a quiet air of sophistication.
Furthermore, it uses the groundbreaking 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine with Dynamic Pressure Turbo technology reducing turbo lag and improving overall performance.
The front-wheel drive Touring variant already comes well loaded, but the new all-wheel drive Signature ups the luxury even more. Not only does it get features like a 12-speaker Bose sound system, power front seats and tailgate, it also gets a Nappa leather interior and a 360-degree camera as standard equipment.
Characterized by its sporty design and light-footed handling, the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class has been well-received. For 2019, it gets a stronger SUV look with the new headlights, reshaped bumpers, and varied alloy wheel designs.
Inside, the GLA-Class offers enhanced levels of craftsmanship thanks to new materials. Changes include new silver chrome trim on the storage compartment in the center console as well as on the climate nozzle rings. There are two variants of the GLA-Class.
The GLA 180 Urban has a turbocharged 1.6-liter mill with 122 horsepower and 200 Nm of torque. Meanwhile, for those who want the security of Mercedes-Benz’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive, the GLA 200 is available with the 1.6-liter turbocharged motor massaged to produce 156 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque.
Boasting of a feline-inspired exterior, the Peugeot 3008 displays its strength and character with its wide checked grille, long hood, large wheels, and high ground clearance. It may be bigger than its predecessor, but it’s still lighter thanks to its new lightweight platform and downsized turbocharged gasoline engine.
Inside, the 3008 features Peugeot’s next-generation iCockpit. It’s the French car maker’s way of giving a modern, ergonomic, and interactive environment for driver and passengers alike. The most notable feature of the 3008 is its 12.3-inch all-digital instrument panel. It also comes with advanced connectivity with its Mirror Screen functionality. Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink, and Android Auto are all accessible through the 8-inch capacitive touchscreen.
Out in the market since 2015, the Subaru Outback is made safer with the inclusion of the EyeSight driver assistive system. It integrates five functions: Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Sway & Departure Warning, Lead Vehicle Start Alert, Pre-Collision Braking System, and Pre-Collision Throttle Management making this one of the safest SUVs ever.
Marking the changes is a bolder redesign with the C-shaped headlights, wider lower grille openings and bumpers. Enhancements have also been made to the chassis including the fitment of STABLEX-Ride System dampers.
Inside, the 2018 Outback receives enhancements with new premium materials and a redesigned center console. The Outback’s 3.6-liter flat-6 produces 260 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque — more than enough for that drive to the boardroom meeting.
The biggest and most versatile model in MINI’s history, the Countryman reflects considerable advancements in space, functionality, athleticism, and premium characteristics. It’s got genuine space for five adults and their luggage. The rear seats also have a neat trick, sliding fore and art to free up more room for passengers or cargo.
Outside, the all-new Countryman boasts of a powerful, yet more mature character. In the cabin, the Countryman combines the classic MINI flair with modernity and refinement. Riding on an all-new platform, the MINI Countryman is solely available with one engine: a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine, the power and torque outputs of which vary depending on the model (either 150 horsepower or 190 horsepower).
TOYOTA FJ CRUISER & LAND CRUISER PRADO
It looks nothing like any other Toyota because the FJ Cruiser is a nod to the original FJ40 Land Cruiser — a model sold in the 1980s. As such, it successfully captures nostalgia and bottles it in its round headlights, protruding front fenders, white roof, and chunky C-pillar.
Naysayers will immediately point out that the FJ Cruiser isn’t practical: it’s huge and cramped, but this SUV manages to transcend these adjectives. It’s meant to go over any obstacle with its almost 245-mm ground clearance, 34-degree approach, and 31-degree departure angle. The tractive effort for this canyon crawler is provided by a 4.0-liter V6 with 268 horsepower and 380 Nm of torque.
While sharing the same platform as the FJ Cruiser, the Land Cruiser Prado takes on a very different character. First launched in 2009 and refreshed in 2018, it gains new styling elements which are functional as they are aesthetically pleasing. Inside, the Land Cruiser Prado benefits from a revised dashboard with new designs for the instrument binnacle and center console. The engines remain unchanged and with that, the gasoline variant comes with a 4.0-liter V6 (shared with the FJ Cruiser) with 275 horsepower or a 3.0-liter 4-cylinder diesel with 163 horsepower.
The Pajero nameplate brings with it a rich heritage, from rally championships to being a symbol of luxury and power. As it proves to continuously perfect the right balance between capability and opulence, the latest model benefits from a visually tweaked exterior.
Inside, the Pajero features a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, 4-way power adjustable front passenger seat, and options of black or beige plush genuine leather seats. Together with the new visually relaxing interior color combination of carbon fiber, piano black and silver accents, the Pajero offers an elegant ambiance.
The upgraded 3.2-liter 4-cylinder engine now gets 192 horsepower and 441 Nm of torque along with its proven Super Select 4WD-II system as standard equipment as well as M-ASTC or the Mitsubishi Active Stability and Traction Control system.
NISSAN PATROL ROYALE
Nissan’s flagship SUV is reliable, unbreakable, and reasonably affordable. Synonymous with ruggedness, the Patrol Royale opted to drop the hardcore edginess with softer new surfacing for a sense of modernity and road presence.
Inside, it features generous amounts of leather, polished aluminum, and wood while also delivering more room and comfort than ever before. It gets new black leather seats (tan leather is an option), an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment screen, second-row headrest monitors, and a 13-speaker Bose sound system.
The 5.6-liter V8 gasoline engine makes this the most powerful SUV here with 400 horsepower and 560 Nm of torque. Together with this new power plant is a 7-speed automatic transmission driving all four wheels.
The Volvo XC40, the Swedish company’s smallest SUV yet, aims to make the daily urban commute less stressful and more enjoyable, as drivers in the segment can now rely on the award-winning safety, connectivity and infotainment technologies known from Volvo’s acclaimed new XC60 and XC90 SUVs.
The XC40 rides on Volvo’s new Compact Modular Architecture or CMA while making it available in either gasoline (247 horsepower) or diesel (150 horsepower) flavors.