Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Bargains of Christmas - Mid-size and Large SUVs

Christmas is just around the corner, and you're asking what car would you want to gift to yourself (if you are good this year) or to your loved ones. Your Ultimate Used Car Guide is here to solve the problem by giving you some recommendations.

So, how are these bargain picks are chosen? Here are some criteria that were followed:
  • A vehicle must be available between 2002-2011
  • Reported problems from owners are minimal, they are based from local forums and several of my reviews
  • Vehicle value must be excellent, since they are good bargains. 
  • Must offer a competitive advantage over its rivals and must fit the buyers needs in a category
  • Availability in the second hand market must be widespread
Everyone desires to have an SUV in their garages right? The power of depreciation makes them great buys and since the holiday season is coming, your family might have a new ride by then. A good gift to yourself and make more memories with the new SUV you are going to buy. What should you pick? Here are some recommendations.

MID-SIZE SUV BEST BARGAIN: 2004-2011 Ford Everest
My pick in the used car market is something from the Blue Oval and not from the T enclosed in a circle or a three diamond brands. What makes it a great buy? Low prices, great looks and stance, decent pull from the CRDi engine, and read, a water-proof ECU. Downsides are the interior quality and a limited third row space, but you wont be complaining at these bargain prices right?

Other bets:
2005-2011 Toyota Fortuner - Timeless design, Toyota reliability, robust engines and drivetrains, and with most units selling in the six digit range; the once popular SUV in the market can be now yours for less. Just be careful with earlier models possessing the 2.5 2KD-FTV diesel in which they suddenly shut down due to the fuel quality we have. For those who dont want the tagtag make sure to check the 2009 and later models.

2005-2011 Mitsubishi Montero Sport - New or used, this is one pick, but it only applies to the 2008 and later second generation models. Going to the first one sold between 2005 to 2008, there is nothing wrong with this one, but nothing spectacular to begin with. It has tons of space and a fuel efficient diesel motor, but headroom can be a problem and only seats five. The second one has oodles of power, presence, numerous standard equipment, and importantly, availability in the used car market.

2006-2011 Hyundai Santa Fe - Hate your ride harsh? This is for you. Riding in a car based platform, it drives like a car, but does not want to be driven on corners. While the diesel engines are the one to get, the 2.4 (available from 2010-2012) has decent pull while the 2.7 V6 has lukewarm performance. For more fun behind the wheel, do yourself a favor by purchasing a 2010 and later unit. They have their engines upgraded which showcased the "R" series Piezo injectors and ,importantly, an electronically controlled variable-geometry turbocharger.

2005-2011 Isuzu Alterra - Always being left behind in the shopping lists of mid-size SUV buyers. The Alterra has several advantages that can put the salable competitors to shame; like the top-fuel efficiency, a smooth ride, a standard entertainment system, and a revelation, a manual transmission paired to a 4JJ1 3.0 diesel. Noise insulation is a weakness but for those prioritizing economy and space, this is the one.

2003-2011 Kia Sorento - Another Korean in the list (we can't place the Mohave and Veracruz since they fail the used car market criteria). In this case, the Sorento is a good buy for different reasons. Getting a first generation model for the reasons of affordability, off road capability, fuel efficiency and space; while style and fuel savings (for a bit) are some compelling whys to buy the second generation model. Just vanish the old Kia quality.

2002-2011 Mitsubishi Pajero - The epitome of status and class in the Philippines. In this case, you will encompass three generations of Pajeros and let's start with the Field Master, sold until 2008. Second is the BK model which was available from 2003-2007 and the one marketed up to now is the fourth generation model. You'll get that image and projection with either of the three variants listed down, just make sure to stay away from converted units.

2005-2011 Ford Explorer - If American is the call, then the Explorer is the top pick in the crop of used Yankee SUVs. So why did I choose this one? Enough room, adequate pull (although this one is very old), looks, a laundry list of standard amenities, and presence. Prices are now flirting in the six digit range so this is a steal. Just remember that don't expect diesel SUV like figures.

2002-2011 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado - The baby Land Cruiser; you get the image and performance (although this is less) similar to the bigger brother. Prices are less but do remember of this: 2003-2005 models have a 4.0 V6 model, which is rare and thus, you wont be finding for one. There is a manual variant but if you are going to use this as a daily driver, get the automatic.

LARGE SUV BEST BARGAIN: 2002-2011 Toyota Land Cruiser
Among the limited options, the Land Cruiser is the top pick for many reasons. You get the space, you get outstanding performance (especially the 1VD 4.5 V8 diesel is mouthwatering), you get the pace, and most of all, the assistance of four wheel drive when you need it. Remember to take driving lessons to get used to its sheer size.

Other bet:
2002-2011 Nissan Patrol - Thinking the LC's size too large for your everyday needs, just slightly small in length and width, the Patrol is for you. Trusted by hundreds of businessmen, politicians, and those in the PSG for decades. Making it unchanged for years is a testament to great reliability. Avoid the earlier models (2001-2002) since they had turbo injector problems. The diesel automatic is the combo to get, while if you have a chauffeur, go with the manual and leave all worries. 

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