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Versatility with the Vitara

Question : I HAVE made a search on the Internet as well as following closely on Cars, Bikes & Trucks articles.

I did not see anything related to MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) and SUV (sports utility vehicle) fuel efficiency.

We are expecting our third child and the current sedan would not work well when traveling.

I have always been against MPVs and SUVs out of concerns for fuel consumption and pollution.

However, I think we need to get an MPV or SUV to meet my family's traveling needs.

I am from Penang and my spouse is from Johor Baru.

We are living in Kuala Lumpur and prefer to drive during the batik kampung seasons.

My wife would like to have an MPV but I prefer a SUV as I like cycling.

I would like your advice on:

1. Fuel efficiency -- is there any MPV or SUV that fits this criteria ?

2. Maintenance -- between an MPV and SUV, which is higher in terms of costs ?

3. Any model of MPV and SUV that you would recommend ?

Answer : Glad to know that you are a practical person and prefer to own a vehicle that does not waste fuel or tarmac space.

However, with your changing social and family needs, I totally agree with you on the need for a bigger vehicle.

The best bet for you is to look at a compact MPV rather than a SUV as a four-wheel drive system is not a criteria for you and space is more important. A SUV will cost more to run as it will sip more fuel as it is driving four wheels, not two.

As you have not mentioned your budget, I am going to shoot in the dark and offer a few possibilities.

Let's start with an MPV that drives like a sedan and sips little fuel in its segment -- the Honda Stream at RM158,000. This is at the top end of the price table but resale value and maintenance is good.

Very close to the Stream is the Toyota Wish which is slightly smaller. Some of my cycling friends say that getting a mountain bike in is a little bit difficult but not impossible.

Next is the Nissan Grand Livina, which is priced below RM99,000. It appears to be of better value but build quality is not on par with the Wish and Stream. Maintenance will be low and the Livina sips little fuel.

New to the segment and reasonably priced is the new Kia Rondo. At below RM90,000, this new MPV offers great value.

Now that you have some MPVs to think of, let me offer you a SUV option. The two-wheel drive Suzuki Vitara is fully imported -- offering good build quality, space for your bicycle and a high driving position.

The Vitara, which sells for less than RM109,000, offers versatility and fuel efficiency of a sedan at a price of a compact MPV.

Visit a showroom and test drive it and I do believe that you might end up signing on the dotted line.


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