Shopping for a new mid-size SUV just became harder. Almost all of them got major updates recently, and they all want a piece of your wallet. If anything, the new decade made the pick-up-based SUV market a lot more exciting. It also makes it a good time for us to take look at the specs of each SUV and see how they all stack up.
New kids on the block
What we'll be looking at are the range-topping, four-wheel-drive versions of these SUVs. The newest contender in this competitive segment is the Isuzu mu-X. Unlike all of its competitors, it's all-new from bumper to bumper, so that should give it the edge over all of them. But the ever-popular Toyota Fortuner recently got a huge boost under the hood, making it the second most powerful option in its class. Not to be outdone, Mitsubishi finally released the four-wheel-drive Montero Sport GT earlier this year.
Those three have stiff competition from the old guard. The Ford Everest Bi-Turbo has been around for a while now, and the Raptor-sourced engine makes it rather enticing. Nissan's Terra is a pretty solid choice in the class despite the age, although a facelifted version is coming soon. And let's not forget the Chevrolet Trailblazer, which, for the longest time, was the class leader in power and torque. Next year we may not see this Trailblazer anymore after General Motors sold their factory in Thailand to Great Wall Motors, and they're practically finishing off the remaining stocks but we figured we'd include it for the sake of this spec check.
Size = Presence?
If it's road presence you're looking for, there is no other SUV to look at in this segment. For years, the Ford Everest is the largest model overall when you factor in all of its dimensions. It may not be the tallest or the widest, but it's close to the segment leaders in those categories. It also helps that it's the longest in its class by a significant margin too.
But where does that put the all-new mu-X and facelifted Fortuner? The mu-X retains its status as the tallest in class and Isuzu added even more for the second-generation model. That's thanks to the new body and more ground clearance. The 2021 mu-X grew several millimeters in terms of length and width too, and it's close to the size of the Nissan Terra now.
As for Toyota, the Fortuner remains in the “smaller” end of the size spectrum. But the smallest in class is still the Montero Sport. With its dimensions, it's the shortest and narrowest among these SUVs.
Does the exterior size determine the cargo capacities of these SUVs? In this case, it does, because the Ford Everest has the most to offer. It's the only one to over more than 1,000 liters worth of space with the second-row up and third-row seats folded down. Why did we mention the seat arrangement? That's because most of us would leave SUVs in that seating configuration. You can think of it as the real-world cargo capacity.
That said the rest of the field offers a good amount of space behind the second-row seats. The Chevrolet Trailblazer offers nearly 900 liters of space, which is still cavernous. Most of these SUVs seem to hover around the 800-liter mark, with the Terra offering about that much space. Although the all-new Isuzu has not released cargo dimensions for the all-new mu-X, we expect it to have about 800 to 900 liters worth of cargo space behind the third-row as well.
But what about the Fortuner and Montero Sport? The Montero Sport is limited by its relatively small dimensions, and it has less than 700 liters of space in five-seat mode. As for the Fortuner, it still sticks the swing-up seats which eat up a lot of space, but at least it has over 700 liters with the third-row stowed.
It's amazing how much performance these SUVs offer these days. Back then, you'd be happy to get 150 to 160 PS from these beasts. Now, 200 PS is like a walk in the park for them. Of the six SUVs in this list, half have 200, or more, horsepower. These are the Chevrolet Trailblazer (200 PS), Toyota Fortuner (204 PS), and Ford Everest (213 PS). What's even more amazing are their torque figures, with these three having 500 Nm each.
That's not to say the others are underpowered, though. Both the Nissan Terra and Isuzu mu-X have the same figures with 190 PS and 450 Nm each. Sure, they don't make the magic figures of the other three, but we're not complaining about those ratings. That said, we're glad Isuzu upgraded the 3.0-mill of the mu-X to more competitive figures. As for the Montero Sport, it has the least power and torque, but 181 PS and 430 Nm are still respectable ratings.
Having a lot of horsepower and torque is impressive, but it would be nice to go far on a tank of fuel. Besides, it's no fun to drive if you have to keep filling up these SUVs every so often. Well, we're glad to report that most of them have 80-liter tanks, which is great for long-distance driving.
The SUVs with sizable fuel tanks are the Ford Everest, Isuzu mu-X, Nissan Terra, and Toyota Fortuner. Assuming you average 10 kilometers per liter, you're looking at a range of 800 kilometers on a single tank of diesel. Of course, highway cruises mean better efficiency, so 1,000 kilometers on any of the four SUVs mentioned is possible. That's for as long as you average about 13-15 kilometers per liter on a long drive.
But what about the Montero Sport and Trailblazer? The Montero Sport has the smallest fuel tank, but it's still a decent size. The same goes for the Trailblazer.
Climb every mountain, ford every stream
Since we're talking about the four-wheel-drive versions, it's a good time to talk about ground clearance and wading depth. Among the six SUVs here, it looks like the Isuzu mu-X is the best candidate to take on the trails. Not only does it have the most ground clearance by a significant margin, but it also has 800 mm worth of wading capacity. Sure, almost all have 800 mm, but the mu-X's extra clearance means you won't snag on as many rocks and branches as much as the others.
That's not to say the rest are low to the ground. Most of them have over 220 mm of clearance, so these rigs are ready to hit basic trails right out the dealership lot. Only two have less than 220 mm, namely the Chevrolet Trailblazer, and Mitsubishi Montero Sport.
Let battle commence
We've driven most of these PPVs in the past, but we're looking forward to testing the upgraded Fortuner and all-new mu-X soon. We're curious how having over 200 PS feels like in the Fortuner, and we're wondering if Toyota did any subtle tweaks to the suspension to make the ride less choppy. As for the mu-X, we're expecting a lot from it, and we want to see if Isuzu addressed several key points for improvement, namely ride and handling.
But there is still a lot that can be said about its competitors. We rated the bi-turbo Everest highly, and it remains a firm favorite here at Autoindustriya.com. The same goes for the Terra. Speaking of the Terra, it won't be long before we see the facelifted version, which should debut before mid-2021.
With the pace of the mid-size SUV market moving quickly, it's best to wait out a few months before you buy one. That also gives you more than enough time to assess what you want, and need, from a mid-size SUV. As for us, we'll be waiting for the new models to arrive and we can't wait to tell you what they're all like.