A refresher course on midsize SUVs

The prominent midsize SUVs in the country have been in a roulette of updates for a while now. They get refreshed a few months apart with some only getting aesthetic changes, others get a meaty set of features, and some end up as all new models.

Combine these with the onslaught of electrified cars, new car brands, the summer heat, NBA playoffs, and it’s not surprising that you’re probably confused which SUV has the upper hand now according to your preferences. In this piece I’m going to do a rundown for you so that you get reacquainted with these metal beasts.

Toyota Fortuner

The undisputed king of the segment maintains its lead by making sure you can have it in the style you want. Starting with the engine, there’s a 2.4-liter diesel that makes 150ps and 500Nm for the entry variants while the upper trims get a 2.8-liter with 204ps and 500Nm.

Toyota Fortuner

Those looking for a more plain look will be satisfied by the entry variants G, V and Q. If you want a bit more flair and features, there’s the LTD trim. It has split-type LED headlights, two-tone leather interior, kick sensor for the powered tailgate, and Toyota Safety Sense.

Not enough? The GR-S is still waiting for you. It’s not as outlandish as other GR-S models in Toyota’s lineup, but it still has the unmistakable sporty aura that the name suggests. There’s an exclusive front and rear bumper revisions, fog light housing, wheel well moldings, back door accent and two-tone spoiler. It also has an exclusive interior look and feel thanks to the suede on the seats, red stitchings, GR badges, and accents on the door panels.

Mitsubishi Montero Sport

One of the purveyors of black editions has turned to legacy this time around with the Montero Sport Black Series Ralliart. It has decals in the color of the iconic racing team of Mitsubishi, joined by exclusive accents in the front and rear bumpers, and fender wells.

There’s still only one engine for all trims which is the 2.4-liter MIVEC turbo diesel that makes 181ps and 430Nm of torque, paired to either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic with sports mode.

Mitsubishi Montero Sport

Ironically, this is built on the GT 2WD model and not the 4WD. It’s also a purely aesthetic offering as nothing was done to improve the outdated cabin amenities like the laggy touchscreen (though it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) or the dim orange lighting of the interface. Still, it gets away with an electronic parking brake with auto brake hold, digital gauge cluster, and powered tailgate with hands-free operation. If you want all the bells, there’s the GT 4WD that has advanced safety features but there’s no whistle as it’s not available in the Ralliart look.

Isuzu mu-X

First up is the most recently updated offering, the Isuzu mu-X. Isuzu has continued with their unspoken aim for the mu-X to be more upmarket while still being rugged ready anytime. Its top of the line LS-E trim was given aesthetic touch ups on the front grille that now has magnetite finish along with black chrome edges. The magnetite finish was also implemented on the other accents like fog light housing and bumper garnishes. The wheels were also revised and now have straight spokes.

A subtle addition to this SUV was the Step Sensor for its powered tailgate. Unlike others with hands-free operation, the mu-X only requires you to stand near it so that it will open up. This is a vast contrast to others that will make you balance yourself with one foot while the other swings under the rear bumper trying to activate the sensor.

This latest generation of the Isuzu mu-X has focused on providing more creature comforts. It has a 10.1-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Dual-Zone Climate Control, 8-way power driver’s seat, and an electronic parking brake with Auto Brake Hold. Safety was also of utmost importance as the mu-X has advanced safety tech like forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, turn assist, pedal mis-application mitigation, and blind spot monitoring among others.

Ford Everest

The 2023 Everest is the most tech-laden and sci-fi looking Everest to date. It’s become menacingly intimidating with its bigger dimensions, C-shaped headlights, and huge grille with a prominent horizontal bar, giving it a robocop/cyclops look.

The front end of the cabin is also a huge departure from the previous generation of the Everest. Sitting front and center of the dash is the huge portrait touchscreen that houses even the vehicle controls like auto brake hold and some 4×4 features. It’s accompanied by the digital gauge cluster, dual-zone climate control, and wireless charger.

Ford Everest

Most variants of the Everest are powered by the single turbo diesel engine that makes 170ps and 405Nm of torque, paired to a 6-speed automatic. On the upper end, the Titanium+ 4×4 has a twin-turbo diesel engine under the hood that puts out 210ps and 500Nm of torque, paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Other exclusive features for the top-of-the-line trim are power folding third row seats, matrix advanced front lighting system, new electronic shifter (that can shift itself in certain conditions), terrain management system, enhanced active park assist, and a slew of advanced safety features to make daily driving easier and safer.

Nissan Terra

Jumping on the blacked-out look bandwagon, Nissan Philippines recently unveiled the Terra Sport. It replaced the VL as the top of the line trim and it traded away key exterior pieces like the grille, fog light housing, bumper garnishes, and wheels for high gloss black ones. There are also exclusive colors for it – Stealth Pearl Gray and Fiery Red.

Nissan Terra

The Terra Sport maintains its edge in the segment with its uniqueness in the cabin. It has switches behind the shifter to flip down the second row seats for easier third row access, there’s an 11-inch flip down screen for the rear occupants, and an 8-speaker Bose Sound System.

It’s also a very inclusive offering as it has many key features across all variants. This includes the automatic Quad-LED headlights with levelling, power folding side mirrors, zero gravity front seats, floor ambient lighting, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, speed sensing door locks, and 6 airbags. Many of the features in the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite are available in the lower trims, except for the base model.

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