Top vehicles to tackle Manila’s floods

The rainy season is here again and with the constant thunderstorms come the threat of flash floods. With an average monthly rainfall reaching around 480 mm this month, if there’s one thing you should remember is that cars aren’t made to swim. They are not aquatic creatures unless you possibly want fifteen minutes of internet fame.

Having said that, there are some vehicles which seem like they’re better suited to crossing floods more than others. Mainly composed of pickup trucks and SUVs, these vehicles not only offer generous ground clearance, but some also have clever engineering tricks to make them more flood-proof.

Mixing it up with different sizes, body styles, and even budgets, here are my picks for the most capable vehicles to tackle Manila’s notorious floods.

Chevrolet Tahoe (Water-wading depth: 500 mm)

Substantially refreshed inside and out, the Tahoe is the “smaller” of Chevrolet’s heavy-metal SUV siblings from the USA (the other being the Suburban). Arriving with the Z71 styling package, it has a black grille with active shutters, an integrated skid plate, and 20-inch machined alloy wheels with all-season tires. Plus, it’s got grunt thanks to a 5.3-liter V8 making 355 hp and an earth-moving (or flood-resisting) 518Nm of torque.

Ford Ranger / Everest (800 mm)

Single-handedly responsible for putting “water-wading depth” into the vocabulary of Filipino car enthusiasts, the next-generation Ranger and Everest continues that tradition with the same 800-mm figure as the outgoing model. Keeping its class-leading figure as well as its capable, but efficient 2.0-liter diesel in single and bi-turbo flavors, Ford decided to concentrate on upping the tech this time around. It can even park itself.

Isuzu D-Max / Mazda BT-50 (800 mm)

Range Rover

Responding in style to other pickup trucks and SUVs with astonishing flood-crossing capability, the Isuzu D-Max and its mechanical twin, the Mazda BT-50 now enjoy the very same 800-mm water-wading figure. But more than just its capability of crossing Espana, both these trucks now sport a bigger, stronger platform. They’re both propelled by a 3.0-liter turbodiesel with 190hp and 450Nm of torque.

Jeep Wrangler / Gladiator (762 mm)

Jeep Wrangler

With more than 80 years of history, Jeep has blazed the trail when it comes to go-anywhere, do-anything vehicles. Today, that spirit is alive and well in the Wrangler and Gladiator. Both of these vehicles carry the “Trail Rated” badge meaning they feature additional electrical and body sealing along with a high air intake to help navigate streams and flooded underpasses that stop others cold.

Jeep Gladiator

Mitsubishi Xpander (400 mm)

Bet you didn’t see this one coming. With Filipinos having strong familial ties, compact MPVs like the Xpander are all the rage these days. Yet, beyond its fuel-efficient powertrain, 7-seater capacity, and upgraded aesthetics, it hides an equally capable platform. Already having a ground clearance of 225mm (the best in its segment), the Xpander is also formidable through flash floods. The 400mm water-wading depth may not seem impressive compared to the others in its list, but it beats out not just regular sedans, but some popular SUVs and crossovers, too!

Mitsubishi Xpander

Nissan Terra (800 mm)

Proving that the Terra has what it takes, Nissan turned their mid-sized SUV into a submarine of sorts in a viral campaign. Now, it has proven itself capable of crossing floods up to 800mm deep. If it’s not busy crossing rivers, streams, and Taft Avenue, the Terra has been thoroughly redesigned giving it a more premium look and feel.

Nissan Terra

Range Rover (900 mm)

Who says you’d be afraid to drive through floods with a P 17.990-million SUV? With the all-new Range Rover, you can. Built as the pinnacle of luxury, whether on- or off-road, the latest generation model takes 50 years of learnings and blends it into a delightful cocktail of comfort, composure, and capability. The all-new Range Rover puts modern luxury at the forefront with its advanced connectivity, range of formidable drivetrains (including a plug-in hybrid), and adaptive suspension tech (hence the record-breaking water-fording ability).

Range Rover

Subaru Outback (500 mm)

Yet another unexpected member of this list, the Outback is a rather unique twist to typical executive sedans. It marries a wagon body style to an SUV platform making it one of the first true crossovers. This inimitable design results in all of the pros and none of the cons enabling it to win fans the world over. The latest-generation Outback now rides on the ultra-capable Subaru Global Platform and comes with cutting-edge technology and driver assist. By far, it’s the safest choice in its segment.

Subaru Outback

Toyota Land Cruiser 300 / Lexus LX 600 (700MM)

The “OG” Japanese all-terrain vehicle, the Land Cruiser is another nameplate with a long, storied history (it’s now been going for more than 70 years). The latest version, the Land Cruiser 300, and its upscale Lexus equivalent, the LX 600, may be facing some production delays, but if you manage to get your hands on one, prepare to be amazed. The new platform has managed to shed a ton of weight (up to 200 kgs in some instances), but also improved its comfort and handling. Its impressive 700mm water-wading aside, it also gains new technology including Multi-Terrain Monitor and Multi-Terrain Select—helpful new features that automatically adjusts the driving mode based on prevailing road conditions.

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