Published on February 2nd, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Which Compact SUV Should You Buy This Year?


For those desiring a SUV, the reasons for purchasing seem to include a high driving position to prevent road bullying, being able to look further ahead in thick traffic, traversing monsoon floods in the city and having big tires to climb over Klang Valley curbs and potholes when needed. One must understand that the SUV started its life as a car with off road technology. With runaway sales success, almost every car manufacturer has a SUV in their stable using a car platform with 4 wheel drive (4WD) technology built underneath.

Goodyear f1 650x85(DSF)

2016 has just come and many Malaysians are ready to spend on a new vehicle……primarily a new compact SUV, but there are so many options in the market today and we are here to offer some advice. From the following paragraphs below, many of you reading will end up saying to yourself, ‘hmm this advice seems reasonable, but I think I will buy what I like and that is that’. Then a year later or so regret will settle in when disappointing after sales, electronic gremlins and questionable build quality creeps into the ownership experience and you email me asking for help to ‘sort out’ the dealer. Well………all I can say, my help will continue where possible and when you need it, but with certain brands it is impossible to ‘push’ them to sort problems out as they just fail to understand good after sales and customer care.


So….the compact SUV advice. The current market favourite, the Honda HR-V needs no introduction and needs no 2 cents of mine as it continues to outsell every segment rival. There are some rivals that you should consider if you do not want to wait in line (estimated waiting period is between 4-5 months at the time if writing this article) for a 1.8-liter HR-V which is priced from RM99,800.00 to RM118,800.00.


Why not look at the Renault Captur. This turbocharged 1.2-liter compact SUV is fully imported and comes in funky colours and interior trim. It’s fun, lively and inspiring. Priced at RM118,000.00 this fully imported French product may only have a 120bhp engine but it never feels breathless or needy when pushed on the highway. City driving is easy and its company dimensions gives easy tight city driving and parking.


Toyota and Nissan sadly does not have a product on offer in this segment for Malaysia and so the next offering is the just arrived SKYACTIV powered Mazda CX-3 2-liter. Fully imported from Japan and with very high equipment in the cabin and under the shiny stylish exterior, the CX-3 sells for RM131,158.30.  Yes, you might think why is this price very close to the Mazda CX-5 SUV which is larger and sells for just RM125,000.00? Reason is simple, the CX-5 is locally assembled which means lower import taxes and the CX-5 comes with less equipment like the heads-up display on the CX-3.

subaru xv

Another Japanese favourite is the Subaru XV. Already a hot seller the past 2 years, now comes a mid-life face-lift with added equipment and sharper looks. It is locally assembled and with symmetrical all-wheel drive and the infamous 2-liter boxer engine it sells for RM122,800.00. A firm favourite with outdoor lovers and fun seekers, the ‘go anywhere’ attitude of the XV has many buyers wanting one and since its locally assembled its pricing seems rather tempting.


Last but not forgotten is the Ford EcoSport. A product of Ford Brazil with an Ecoboost 1.5-liter engine inside which gives the compact yet surprisingly spacious SUV sensible performance. Priced at RM92,859.11 and RM103,862.27 it comes equipped with good safety features and class best in car connectivity.

Template BHP

So, the options have been presented and now comes the decision making time. For the city dweller that just wants common sense motoring and good resale values in 5 years’ time, the Honda HR-V is the firm favourite.  For a single person looking for a stylish funky city vehicle, the Captur or the Mazda CX-3 takes our attention. The family man with outdoor hobbies that include the children and the wife on occasion, the Subaru XV cannot be missed. For women who want a simple practical high riding vehicle that sips little fuel in the city and is easy to park in tight shopping areas with plenty of space for hypermarket shopping, the Ford Ecosport come to mind.


Now we have not mentioned a few other options in the segment the reasons are simple, they are starting to look aged/or been in the market too long and or they have questionable after sales and maintenance costs. The Mitsubishi ASX, a once popular offering has been in the market too long already and a replacement is due soon. However a recent facelift with added equipment like a full length sunroof, 4×4 on demand, leather seats, daytime running lights, paddle gear-shifters and a lower asking price of RM104,791.00 has seen recent brick sales. The RM118,000.00 two wheel drive Kia Sportage which still looks rather fresh despite its age and technology has seen its asking price drop quite a bit, but this again is an old model and a replacement is around the corner. Then there is the RM153,888.00 Peugeot 3008 which has disappointing after sales and high depreciation however hefty discounts are being offered to clear stocks on this compact SUV.


The final decision is of course yours and it is best decided after test driving all the above in a single day to keep all the test drive feelings fresh in your mind when you sit down for dinner at the end of the test drive day and make that final decision that you will need to live with all the months of monthly instalment payments.

Mitsubishi ASX

Happy SUV shopping and contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions or need more help in finding the right vehicle for your budget and your family.

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