The compact crossover is today’s starter family car. As compact SUVs get larger, more luxurious, and better equipped, they now occupy the sort of market that the starter family car used to cater to. Mixing in versatility and comfort in equal measure, these five-seaters aren’t just adept for the daily drive, but even for the occasional excursion out-of-town as well. Since every centavo counts these days, here are 13 compact crossovers whose prices start below P1.5 million.
Chery Tiggo 7 and Tiggo 8 (P1.195 million and P1.28 million)
Two compact crossovers which are a “size-above” in terms of dimensions, the Chery Tiggo 7 and Tiggo 8 are immediately distinguishable with their “Hydrodynamic Body.” Inspired by the shaping characteristics of running water, the Tiggo 7 combines both hard and soft edges to its design. The Tiggo 8, meanwhile, presents a more understated yet still assertive bearing. Their sporty interior trim and spacious cabins are backed up by the performance of torquey 1.5-liter turbocharged engines. Of course, like all other Chery Tiggos, both have a three-year free PMS, five-year bumper-to-bumper warranty and the industry-leading 10-year/one-million-kilometer engine warranty.
Ford Territory (Starts at P1.179 million)
If you can’t beat them, join them. The Ford Territory, which takes over the Ford Escape and joins its smaller Ecosport sibling, is the product of a joint-venture with their Chinese joint-venture partner, JMC. It may be built in China, but its Ford engineered through and through. The American carmaker had inputs on everything; from its design to its engineering, and even its testing. Leveraging economies of scale and lowering production costs enabled Ford to fit the Territory with everything but the kitchen sink. Aside from the usual niceties, it even comes with advanced driver aids including automated parking.
Geely Coolray and Azkarra (Starts at P978,000 and P1.438 million)
Most of the attention in local upstart Geely has been focused on their fast-selling Coolray subcompact SUV, but the Azkarra is actually their newest offering. Designed by ex-Volvo designer Peter Horbury and underpinned by a proprietary platform, the Azkarra shares the same performance-oriented powertrain as the Coolray — a 1.5-liter three-cylinder offering 177 horsepower and 255Nm of torque. For those wishing for a bit more power (and better fuel economy to boot), the Azkarra offers the segment’s first-ever mild-hybrid system. This bumps up the powertrain’s figures to 190 horsepower and 300Nm, while also improving its economy to a diesel-like 17.24 km/L.
GAC GS4 (P 1,188,000)
A fairly young brand with strong global aspirations, the GAC GS4 features what the brand calls, “Flying Dynamics” styling. The clean and boxy lines feature distinctive design cues such as the “floating roof.” Being a compact SUV in size, the cozy cabin features genuine seating for five, all treated to a plethora of standard features including leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, and more. Powering the GS4 is a turbocharged 1.5-liter mill making 151 horsepower and 235Nm of torque.
Hyundai Kona and Tucson (Starts at P1,188,000 and P1.368 million)
The Tucson has become a venerable nameplate for Hyundai in the Philippines. Along with the Starex, it’s made the Korean automaker a household name. While the hip Kona subcompact SUV has become the talk of the town, the Tucson is still the last word when it comes to space and practicality. The fluidic sculpture design is timeless and the interior still is one of the largest among this bunch. What sets the Tucson apart though is its breadth of powertrain choices — gasoline or diesel, manual or automatic — there’s one for every budget and lifestyle.
Mazda CX-3 and CX-30 (Starts at P1.3 million and P1.490 million)
Found at the top-end of this round-up’s price ceiling, the CX-30 is Mazda’s newest SUV offering and takes a much more emotional and human-centric approach than the rest of the choices here. The design brief wasn’t about being the biggest or fastest, but it’s about being the easiest and most confident to use. Still, it has won recognition the world over including being selected as one of the finalists World Car Design of the Year (spoiler alert, the Mazda3 won). And despite the name, it actually slots between the CX-3 and CX-5 in terms of size and positioning.
Honda HR-V (Starts at P 1.295 million)
One of the pioneers of this segment, the HR-V is now one of its more respected veterans. A refresh in 2018 added sought-after features including LED lighting, but more importantly, it introduced a sportier-looking RS variant. The coupe-like styling (hidden rear door handles, high interior center tunnel) of the HR-V makes it different from this sea of crossovers, while its magic ULT seats (borrowed from the Jazz) means it has one of the biggest cargo capacities in its class. The HR-V is powered by a 1.8-liter normally aspirated engine mated to an Earth Dreams CVT with an ECON mode and eco coaching light.
JAC S4 (Starts at P878,000)
The JAC S4 enters a tightly contested arena filled with choices from American, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean brands. As not to put all their eggs in one basket so to speak, JAC offers three variants of its S4 compact crossover. Penned by JAC’s global design team in both Tokyo and Turin, the S4 is also powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine. Similar to Ford’s move, the S4 is filled to the brim with features including its own set of advanced driver aids, but at P1.098 million is priced considerably less.
Kia Seltos (Starts at P1.098 million)
Named after “Celtos,” the son of Hercules in Greek mythology, the Seltos is a shot in the arm that Kia Philippines’s newly appointed distributor needed. In terms of design, it’s eye-catching taking on a decidedly larger-than-life approach with its “tiger face” front-end and boxy profile. Yet, despite its compact crossover classification, it’s roomy for five adults with generous cargo space to boot. A 2.0-liter engine with 149 horsepower and 179Nm of torque offers pep, while an Intelligent Variable Transmission adds a more dynamic twist to the usual dullard CVT gearbox. Kia is also launching the Stonic (around the time you’re reading this). It’s the platform twin of the Hyundai Kona. Expect a detailed feature about it next week.
SsangYong Korando (Starts at P1.290 million)
With a name that’s short for “Korea Can Do,” the Korando is the third one in this list from South Korea. While SsangYong doesn’t have the same recall as Hyundai or Kia, the Korando comes across as a strong contender in its own right. It’s the first SsangYong to use structural adhesives to improve its rigidity and NVH, and true enough, it can even beat its Korean stablemates. The sporty, angular appearance is backed up too by its rich-feeling interior. The Korando line-up starts with a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine as well, but in this case, it makes 163 horsepower and a stout 280Nm of torque. If those aren’t enough, there’s even a diesel version too with 136 horsepower and, get this, 324Nm of torque on tap.
Suzuki Vitara (Starts at P1.038 million)
When one thinks of a Suzuki SUV, the most immediate mental image that comes to mind is the Jimny. Often overshadowed by its cutesy ladder-on-frame brother, the Vitara is actually the more family-oriented one, second only to the seven-seater XL7. This year, it’s been updated with a stronger, more aggressive appearance backed up by better interior materials. The 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine’s 115 horsepower may not be making headlines in this group, but its proven to be very fuel efficient especially when paired with the six-speed automatic.
MG ZS and RX5 (Starts at P818,000 and P1.058 million)
The bestselling MG ZS needs no introduction — but its big brother might. Embodying power, functionality, and class, the RX5 is the ZS’s larger, more spacious, and more powerful big brother. The understated yet refined exterior remains very true to its British heritage while its comfortable and spacious cabin allow its owners to navigate through life’s many challenges. MG’s modern approach to design and engineering is backed up by a strong 1.5-liter motor making 162 horsepower and 250Nm of torque — easily one of the strongest in this segment. Inside, it offers ample room as well as features such as a panoramic sunroof and smartphone connectivity.
Toyota Corolla Cross (Starts at P1.295 million)
The Corolla Cross is living proof of the shift of preference towards crossovers. Toyota actually calls it the “Corolla of this generation.” The Corolla Cross expresses a strong sense of sportiness, agility, and robustness — characteristics that can also define Toyota’s bestselling compact sedan, but in a sought-after SUV body style. The Corolla Cross emphasizes interior spaciousness along with easy ingress/egress. The TNGA GA-C platform and 1.8-liter engine are already ingredients for a spirited, yet smooth ride, but for those who want to go the extra mile, it’s the only one in this list to offer a full-hybrid (not just a mild hybrid) version as well.