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Battle of the Titans SUV vs AUV

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We all know the SUV is obviously superior to the AUV, right? Guess again. We believe that investigation precedes comparo. No conclusions are made from mere impressions!

The Sport Utility Vehicle needs no introduction. These beasts dominate the roads because of their size and strength. SUVs were originally created for climbing high altitudes, crossing shallow rivers, and slogging through dirt and mud.

But because SUVs are now built to fit different lifestyles, people have labeled them under several subcategories: compact, mid-size, full-size, and premium. All are supposed to be ideal for both the city and the countryside.

On the other hand, you have the Asian Utility Vehicle. The AUV is unique and rarely seen in other countries. Plus, it’s only in the Philippines where the AUV can regularly provide car companies with sales contracts.

The Conditions
Since we compared the two classes in categories present on both, Luxury, Brand Power, and Authenticity were all out of the question. Up for grabs are the real factors an average Filipino looks for when choosing a car. Because there are now too many SUVs in the market, we’ll be focusing on the general picture of both sides. Spare us for not citing all details of every SUV class.

Comparo Proper
Style and Design: SUV
From originally being power lifters and enclosed pickup trucks, SUVs have evolved into the daily drives of different personalities, from the Honda CR-V-driving soccer moms to the outdoorsy types who prefer the Montero Sport. Let’s not forget the upwardly mobile corporate set comfortably seated in their Expeditions and Land Cruisers. What car companies have added recently to SUVs are touches of individuality, just like some of their sedan counterparts.

Sad as it seems, what the AUV lacks are its own distinguishing flourishes. Although car companies with AUVs in their lineup try their best adjusting details and offering different variants, the fact remains that it’s a family car. Worse, those who buy AUVs aren’t into style and design at all. So yes, in both the exteriors and the interiors, SUVs generally look better. More time was spent figuring out their designs and it shows in the results. Newer SUV models are now made to be head turners.

As for AUVs? Well, let’s just say you can’t impress a girl on your first date with the family hauler.

Safety: SUV
If you’ve seen the first Toyota Tamaraw FX you’d think it was only your money the company was after. Among its many shortcomings, the awful seat belts can be singled out for working like props, superficial and unreliable. But as time passed, newer AUV models are built to meet today’s safety standards. At the very least, the driver has an airbag and safety straps are now available for passengers in the back. Most current AUVs are now installed with anti-lock braking system as well.

Thing is, even before the Tamaraws and the Anfras, SUVs were already equipped with the latest safety features. Does anyone remember the steel bumpers on the Pajero and the Safari during the 1990s? At present, SUVs are assembled with reinforced steel. Since they’ll likely be driven places, it was only right that SUVs were prepared to take a beating. Manufacturers eventually went as far as adding extra muscle underneath that lessens wreckage and protrusion towards the cabin, which is why bumpers became obsolete.

Ride Comfort: Tie
Ride comfort is a feature supplied by a single part: the suspension. AUVs throughout the years have always given an adequate ride flow. You’ll definitely feel the humps and bumps, but everything is amenable.

On the other hand, SUVs offer extremes. There are the ultra-comfortable full-size giants. Their width commands the body to stay flat when passing through unequal road surfaces. They’re also equipped with the latest suspension technologies, which also explain the higher price range.

Then there are midsize SUVs with suspension as the sole weakness. We’ll have to drop names: Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Montero, and Ford Everest—amateur ride comfort! Generally inexpensive, you can spot a lot of them on the road. Their drivers, however, give the same feedback about the suspension since all three have borrow body chassis from their pickup truck counterparts! When riding either a Fortuner, Montero, or Everest prepare for nausea, particularly when you’re seated on foldable seats in the last row.

Maintainability: AUV
It’s widely known that the more common a car is on the road, the more abundant its parts are in Banawe. And there are thousands of AUVs on the road! Moreover, there are just three prominent AUVs out in the market, while some companies have three SUVs in their car lineup. This means that the Adventure, the Crosswind and the Revo are all regular customers for car shops. The resident mechanics immediately know how to entertain them upon visit.

In contrast, SUV parts are more difficult to procure. Often, you are left with no choice but to go straight to a casa. Worse, parts are sometimes available only on a per order basis. This is true for the parts that cost more. Also, alongside expensive price tags are expensive replacement parts. This is why owners should care for their SUVs.

Regular oil change for an AUV is affordable. For example, oil change on a Mitsubishi Adventure costs P1,800 while the price is double for a Pajero.

Fuel Efficiency: AUV

With only displacement engines ranging from 2.0L to 2.5L plus curb weights playing in the 1,500- to 1,600-kilogram area, it’s no surprise that AUVs demand extra pocket money. Since they are only ideal for city driving, no strong displacement or engine is needed.

There are SUVs today that, despite banner high displacement numbers, are also thrifty when it comes to gas consumption. The diesel versions of the Sorento and Fortuner are examples. But owning the likes of a Chevrolet Suburban demands an average of Php4,000 a week.

AUVs become gas guzzlers only when they don’t receive regular maintenance and oil change, and when passengers abuse the seating capacity. Too bad both occur often.

Value for Money: AUV
It all boils down to the price. There exists a population who, before anything else, checks out the price tag. Without the jibber jabber, the AUV always wins in terms of the price. AUVs are generally priced from Php700,000 to Php1,200,000. The cheapest compact SUV would be the blandest variant of Hyundai Tucson—a compact SUV—at Php980,000. Midsize SUVs are in the Php1.5 million range. The full-size are from Php2.8 million to Php3.3million. Lastly, premium SUVs from luxury brands reach up to Php8 million, just like the BMW X6.

But is it also true for value for money? Yes.

The functions and features of an AUV are excellent for their prices. We feel that, as Filipinos driving on Philippine roads, there are things SUVs have that we don’t need but pay for. They do the job of an owner’s daily commute and a family trip during weekends. They can accommodate heavy loads for your business as well.

Plus, we dislike the luxury taxes that have been imposed on full-size and premium SUVs. This explains the exaggerated prices versus their standard retail price in other countries. Though this may be the Philippine government’s fault and not the car company’s, it’s discouraging when you realize that extra million or two is just going inside our elected officials’ pockets.

The Verdict
Though an SUV has everything a professional may desire, They are exaggerated for our needs. Sorry, epicurean reader, but today we give it to the people. The AUV wins by a small margin. More power to the Asians!

Print ed: 09/11


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