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4 reasons you should buy an SUV (and 3 reasons not to)

4 reasons you should buy an SUV (and 3 reasons not to)

Admit it. Every time it rains and you see a bit of flood up ahead, there is one thing that crosses your mind.

“I wish I had an SUV”.

We envy those in SUVs driving through floods effortlessly. Meanwhile we sit and wait in our sedans and hatchbacks, waiting for the water to subside. With that, there are a lot of compelling reasons to choose an SUV as your next vehicle, particularly the taller, truck-based variety. We're talking about models such as the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Nissan Terra, and Isuzu Mu-X, just to name a few. If anything, these pick-up based SUVs have become more popular that car-based crossovers.

So, should your next vehicle be one of those models? Or is it overkill? Here are four reasons to choose one...and three reasons not to.

Pros:

Ground clearance

This is, perhaps, the main reason why people buy mid-size SUVs. Whether its clearing obstacles, driving through potholes, or crossing a flood, having a few inches off the ground is a big deal. Call it peace of mind or preparing for the worst, if you live in a place where it floods often or poor road maintenance, there is no question that you need something that's higher than your standard sedan.

Wading capabilities

With extra ground clearance comes better water wading capabilities. Floods that you wouldn't even attempt in a hatchback or small sedan are not a problem at all with these SUVs. According to their respective manufacturers, these vehicles can cross streams at least 600 mm deep (around two feet), all the way to 800 mm (over two and a half feet). Sure, you won't take your SUV out for a swim everyday, but it's nice to know that it can do it.

Cargo space

Since these truck-based SUVs are rather large, it's no surprise that these models offer loads of cargo space (pun intended). If your household is the type that carries a lot of things more often than not, there is no doubt you get to maximize its cargo area. Sudden trips to the hardware store or furniture shops will be less stressful too, as these SUVs can easily take in bulky items.

Versatility

SUVs are fantastic vehicles for work, play, and the daily grind. That's all because of their versatility, flexibility, and practicality. These SUVs have more than enough space for the average family, and the extended family can come along because all of them have three-row seating. As mentioned, SUVs offer a lot more cargo space that crossovers, let alone sedans and hatchbacks. The extra ground clearance give you that bit more confidence when the going gets rough, even without four-wheel drive.

Then there's the image of these SUVs. If you have a Fortuner, Montero Sport, or any similar vehicle in your garage, you won't look out of place in most, er, places. You can park these in busy city zones, fancy restaurants and hotels, or muddy fields and these SUVs still look good. Not ony that, these vehicles are ready for “just in case” situations, be it foul weather, detours, or surprise visits to Home Depot.

Cons:

Truck-based SUVs sound like the perfect vehicle for just about everyone these days. However, there are a few things you have to keep in mind before you buy one of these. Here are three things to consider before you make that final decision.

Higher maintenance costs

There is a saying that goes, “the bigger the car, the more expensive the running costs”. These SUVs are not immune from that saying. Because they're larger and heavier than sedans and crossovers, they need heavier-duty parts. While they last long, they are expensive to replace. So if you're coming from a smaller vehicle, don't be surprised at the bill when it's time to fix it up.

Not only that, their engines need more oil, there are more fluids to replace since they're rear or four-wheel drive, and, for the diesel models at least, more frequent oil changes. And if you dread paying for a new set of tires in a sedan, prepare your wallet when it's time to replace them in these SUVs. You're looking at a bill of at least PHP 30,000 for a set of quality tires.

The extra bulk

It's nice to drive something as big as these SUVs. However, when it's time to maneuver around tight streets and parking spaces, the novelty does wear off a little bit. Most of these SUVs don't have the tightest of turning circles, so three point turns become four or five-point turns, depending on how tight the street is. You also have to factor in the size of your garage if you want one of these, too.

Ride and handling compromises

You will see some reviews that say these SUVs are more car-like to drive. However, this doesn't mean that it will be as light or maneuverable as a lower-riding vehicle. At the end of the day, these are still trucks at heart. That means they won't ride or handle as well crossovers or sedans.

They are comparatively lighter to drive compared to SUVs from the '90s and early '00s, but these are nowhere near the handling of any car-based vehicle. That means you have to be more cautious when taking corners and more aware of your surroundings for emergency maneuvers. At least most have stability control standard but that doesn't mean it's a foolproof way of avoiding an accident.

Still interested?

If none of those things put you off, then you're ready to buy an SUV. These days, a new one will set you back at least PHP 1,500,000, with top-spec variants creeping up to PHP 2,400,000. But just because those are the new prices, it doesn't mean you will never be able to attain one. At Automart.PH, you can get quality used example for much less than retail prices. If you're lucky, you might even find one for well under PHP 1,000,000.

So, what are you waiting for? It's time to go car shopping!