Text: Anton Andres / Photos: Manufacturer Press, Autoindustriya | posted January 20, 2016 15:17
Running the numbers on the kings of the hill
Last week, we did a spec check on the most popular variant of the pickup platform vehicle (PPV), the 4x2 models with automatic transmissions. Of course, we didn't forget those who want (or need) power delivered through all four wheels. This time around, we run the numbers on the top spec PPVs.
Another perk of getting the 4x4 models is the fact that they all come standard with the most powerful engine manufacturers have on offer. These PPVs may be nudging (or go past) the two million Peso mark but these vehicles make ideal tow cars thanks to more grip and a lot of torque for the Peso. You can even bring them on trails if you're in the mood for some bushwhacking.
With all cars retaining their dimensions from their 4x2 counterparts, the Trailblazer remains the biggest car in the class, being the widest and second longest (by a few milometers) PPV around. On the other end of the spectrum, the recently launched Toyota Fortuner is the smallest car in its class by a relatively significant margin.
The engines, on the other hand, are a different story from the dimensions. From 2.8 to 3.2 liters, most of these cars are creeping up on the 200 PS mark and offer well over 400 Nm of torque, giving you more confidence in overtaking even when the loads get heavy and roads get hilly. With a class-leading 200 PS and stump-pulling 500 Nm of torque, the Chevrolet Trailblazer is the most powerful car on paper with its 2.8 liter Duramax from VM Motori. The Ford Everest also puts out 200 PS from its 3.2 liter Duratorq but is slightly down on torque compared to the Trailblazer.
2.4 liters may not sound like a lot when it comes to the top spec PPVs but the MIVEC diesel found in the Montero Sport packs a punch from its small displacement engine. With 181 PS and 430 Nm of torque, one can mistake the power output to come from a 3.0 liter diesel. Toyota also took the downsizing route with the new GD diesel engine in the Fortuner. Now at 2.8 liters, it's more powerful than its predecessor but down by 4 horsepower from its rival from Mitsubishi with 177 PS. It does trump the Montero Sport when it comes to torque with 450 Nm. Lastly, despite having the second largest engine in the group, the Isuzu mu-X puts out the least amount of power in this spec check with 163 PS and 380 Nm of torque.
Most transmissions on offer are six speed automatics save for the five speed unit found in the mu-X. The Mitsubishi deserves a special mention though, being the only PPV with a European car-like eight speed automatic.
As mentioned last time, water wading depth is the deepest water level that a vehicle can take on. All these cars retain their water wading capacities from their 4x2 models. That said, both the Ford and the Chevrolet are tied for the lead at 800 mm. The Toyota Fortuner and the Mitsubishi Montero Sport are tied in second.
A word of caution: Do take note that these figures are measured in still water in laboratory conditions. Wading depth is not the only thing you need to know when driving through floods. Read our article on driving through floods for more information.
The commodious interiors PPVs offer give them the ability to seat seven. Getting in and stowing the third row seats easily would be of great convenience, especially if you utilize these seats on a regular basis. With that, the Ford Everest has the most convenient system with the seats folding flat at the push of a button. The Chevrolet Trailblazer also has an easy one-step system for the third row. Simply pull a tab to either put up or fold the seats. While the Montero Sport also has a fold-flat third row, it required moving up the seat cushions before you can fold down the back rest. Those of the mu-X are elevated above the cargo floor although an optional cargo box will help make it's cargo area flat for maximizing the load space. As for the Fortuner, its seats split in the middle, fold toward the side and are secured with a hook onto the D-pillar.
At this price point, one can expect these cars to be fully loaded and these top-spec PPVs deliver on that front. At PhP 1,708,000, the Isuzu mu-X LS-A 4x4 is the lowest priced car in this group and for that, you get generous equipment levels. These include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Navigation, Reverse Camera (standard across the range), a Ceiling Mounted 10” Monitor and more. The second least expensive car in the group also packs the most powerful engine. The Chevrolet Trailblazer 4x4 LTZ adds more standard equipment over its Isuzu platform mate. In addition, it also gets cruise control and is the only one in the segment to be equipped with a dashcam as standard.
Quite a number of people were surprised when the Montero Sport GT hit nearly two million Pesos. However, it could be said that you're paying for one of the most advanced drivetrains available in the country, along with safety features that can go toe to toe with the Ford Everest. As mentioned above, the Mitsubishi is the only PPV to have a turbodiesel with variable valve timing, along with a segment first (and class leading) eight speed automatic. Speaking of the The Ford Everest, the Titanium Premium Package also barely squeezes under the 2 million Peso mark at PhP 1,999,000. The Ford makes up for this by adding a host of safety features uncommon in its class. These include a stability control system with Roll Stability Control, Blind Spot Information System and Active Park Assist to name a few.
Last but not the least, the 2016 Toyota Fortuner is the most expensive PPV in this spec check, going past the two million Peso mark for the 2.8 4x4 V. Being the last to arrive, it adapted most of the features found in its competitors. It does bring something new to the table, being the first PPV to offer full LED headlights.