Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Bargains of Christmas - Mid-size and Large SUVs (2013 Picks)

Our yearly feature during the season that everyone loves is on its second year. Finding a car for yourself (assuming if you are a good guy) or for your loved ones in each category is daunting, let The Ultimate Used Car Guide help you.

So, how are these bargain picks are chosen? Here are some criteria that were followed:
  • A vehicle must be available between 2003-2012
  • Reported problems from owners are minimal, 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
Thanks to the mercy of depreciation, SUV's of the medium and large size are now appealing to used car buyers who can purchase these for a lower price. Your family's wish of having an SUV comes timely for the holidays and with The Ultimate Used Car Guide to the rescue, picking the vehicle that suits your needs is easy.

MID-SIZE SUV BEST BARGAIN: 2004-2012 Ford Everest
For the second year, the Everest takes our top pick among Mid-Size SUV's. At these prices, this Ford is a steal with handsome looks, punchy diesel engine (2007 and later), adequate kit, off-road capability, and a shocker, an ECU that is water-proof. With plenty of units available, choosing your Everest isn't trouble.
Recommended trims: MT (2004-2006), XLS (2007-2009), Limited (2009-2012)

Other bets:

2005-2012 Ford Explorer 
Only two Ford (and American) SUVs landed a spot on this list. If you find the Everest bare for your needs, then look at the Explorer. Units are aplenty in the market, but its not just that; roomy cabin, long list of equipment, resembles the Expedition, and decent pull from the somewhat ancient engine (the third generation has better engines). Whether it is the first (2005-2006), second (2007-2011), or third (2011-current) generation Explorer, it is one premium choice in the market.
Recommended trims: 4.0 (2005-2006), 4.0 (2007-2011), 3.5 V6 (2012)

2006-2012 Hyundai Santa Fe  
Competing in the SUV race dominated by truck based SUV's, the Santa Fe is a breath of fresh air. With a comfortable ride (the third row is tight), powerful engines, and smooth acceleration but boat like driving impression; the Santa Fe is one appealing package. With low prices, finding one definitely starts now.
Recommended trims: 2.2 (2006-2009), 2.2 R (2010-2012) - all diesels

2005-2012 Isuzu Alterra 
If fuel economy is the game, the Alterra is there to the rescue. Fuel efficiency is excellent, and when paired with a manual transmission, things get better. It does ride smoothly but speed up and noise intrudes the cabin. At used car prices, the Alterra becomes a great proposition since brand new SRP is very expensive compared to the competition.
Recommended trim: 3.0 4x2 (2005-2012)

2003-2012 Kia Sorento 
Joining the Santa Fe in this list is the Kia Sorento. Choosing the first generation (2003-2009) would reward you an off-road capable vehicle that has oodles of space for a low price. Going for the second generation (2010-current) gives you a more smooth (but noisy) ride, good reliability, and a stylish exterior. Do remember that a third row seat is rare to find.
Recommended trims: 2.5 diesel (2003-2009), 2.2 diesel (2010-2012)

2008-2012 Mitsubishi Montero Sport  
This year, the first generation (2005-2008) Montero was excluded on this list and remains the second generation that is better in all aspects. Can't afford to purchase a new one? Well, the used car gods answered your prayers by giving you a second hand unit for less. Numerous standard amenities, smooth ride, and a monstrous engine comes standard while interior space is less than the T brand.
Recommended trims: 2.5 GLS (2009-2010), 2.5 GLS-V (2011-2012), 2.5 GLX (2012) - all diesels

2003-2012 Mitsubishi Pajero 
Dreaming of owning a Pajero? Now with low prices, your dream can be a reality since attaining one is easy. Generation second point five (known as the Field Master, available from 1999-2008) gives you macho looks but at the expense of refinement. The third generation (2004-2006) and fourth generation (2007-current) models have the presence, more refined engines, and more interior space.
Recommended trims: 2.8 Field Master (2003-2008), 3.2 diesel (2004-2006), 3.2 diesel (2007-2012)

2005-2012 Toyota Fortuner 
Another top choice among used SUVs is the Fortuner, which is a common vehicle in the used car market. What is not to love about the Fortuner, especially at these prices? Some nibbles include a matagtag ride quality and the 2.5 engine problem due to fuel quality that are prevalent in the earlier models. But it is one tough SUV and a future classic, too.
Recommended trim: 3.0 V diesel (2005-2012)

2003-2012 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 
We recommend both the junior sized (the Prado) and the senior (the Land Cruiser, see the commentary in the next category), but lets discuss the former more. Both the second generation (2003-2009) and third generation (2009-2012) models do possess the LC's values but shrunken for practicality reasons. Don't bother with the gasoline models, stick with the diesels.
Recommended trims: 3.0 diesel (2003-2009), 3.0 diesel (2009-2012)

LARGE SUV BEST BARGAIN: 2003-2012 Toyota Land Cruiser
With just a few choices in this category, we'll give the award to the Land Cruiser. Why pick this? A king size interior, great pull from the diesel (go get the V8 if you can), image, durability, and can hack the worst case scenarios. While others guzzle gas or possess limited parts availability, you can never go wrong with the Land Cruiser.
Recommended trims: LC100 (2003-2007), V8 diesel (2008-2012)

Other bet:

2003-2012 Nissan Patrol 
Still has the stance for less in mass than the Toyota, the Nissan Patrol has the presence for a smaller footprint. From the affluent people, you can never go wrong with this SUV since it can conquer floody roads, treat occupants with its roomy cabin, and give you the stares. Buy a diesel to save on costs (it is also the most common variant out there) and give the gasoline or Patrol Royale a miss.
Recommended trim: 3.0 Super Safari (2003-2012)

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