Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Preparing for a Rainy Day: Which Car to get? [Ground Clearance/ Fording Depth Comparison]

In a tropical country like the Philippines, we either get wet or a dry season. We do not experience summer here nor do we have a fixed month for these seasons. Instead, we have 4 climate types (Type I to Type IV) to best describe what we are experiencing. Before I get technical about the weather, let me share with you a research I made as to the best vehicle you can get to weather through the wet season (no pun intended).

I've been eyeing on a specific pick-up truck for some time now. Given the current choices, I decided to just wait a year more so I can purchase the updated and possibly an all brand new model and not just a face-lifted version. In this post, I'm comparing "ground clearance" data. In layman's term, it simply means ride height. Let the diagram below explain it visually. (I'll explain fording depth later)

For me, it's safe to assume that whatever your ground clearance is, that is the safest possible water level your vehicle can go through because more or less, manufacturers won't put anything that can be water damaged below that level because more often than not, there is nothing below that level. It's the best basis to consider if you live in an area that easily floods with a few drops of rain.

Take note though that ground clearance is different from fording depth (see Hummer in the image above). By definition, fording depth means maximum depth at which a particular vehicle can operate in water. Not a lot of manufacturers give this data but we have searched for a few vehicles with this available data. Goal is to provide you an overview of the ground clearance and fording depth of vehicles with the said available data since it is not easy to look for those in an instant. This will be my personal guide and might be of help to you as well in deciding what vehicle to purchase to be used in the flood-y streets of Manila. Accuracy of data should be double checked. 

Vehicles and their ground clearance + fording depth (In order of ground clearance, highest to lowest)
Format of data: Ground Clearance in mm / Fording Depth in mm (if available)
(I won't be including sedans here for obvious reasons. If in any case I get anything wrong, feel free to comment below. Also, If I have missed a vehicle or two that you have available data of, let me know as well. Additional vehicles not mentioned will be added as I get information about them.)

200mm Ground Clearance and Up

Ground Clearance Wading Depth
LandRover Discovery4 310mm 700mm
LandRover RangeRover 302mm 900mm
Range Rover Sport 285mm 850mm
Toyota FJ Cruiser 245mm 762mm
Nissan Navara 230mm 450mm
Isuzu Dmax 225mm
Ford Ranger 223mm 800mm
Toyota Fortuner 220mm 700mm
Subaru XV 220mm 450mm*
Subaru Forester 220mm 500mm
Landcruiser Prado 220mm 700mm
Mitsubishi Montero 215mm 500mm
Toyota Hilux 212mm 700mm
Ford Everest 210mm 750mm
Mercedes Benz G500 210mm 600mm
Chevrolet Colorado 210mm 800mm
BMW X5 208mm 500mm
BMW X3 208mm 500mm
Mitsubishi Strada 205mm 500mm
Ford EcoSport 200mm 550mm
Grand Vitara 200mm 500mm
VW Touareg 200mm 580mm

199mm Ground Clearance and Below

Suzuki Jimny 190mm 650mm
Kia Sorento 190mm 500mm
Hyundai Santa Fe 185mm 500mm
BMW X1 178mm 304mm
Toyota Innova 176mm 500mm
Hyundai Tucson 170mm 400mm
Honda CRV 2013 170mm
Toyota Rav4 2014 160mm

Given the data above, I wouldn't still be very confident on the wading/fording depth rating. A lot of things need to be considered and the numbers should just be used as data for comparison. What I would rely on more is the ground clearance data. Most of the vehicles mentioned above are the latest models as of publishing time.

In the Philippines, the most famous pick-up would be the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Hilux. For SUV, it's the Mitsubishi Montero Sport and Toyota Fortuner. For the budget conscious, the more visible vehicles are the Hyundai Tucson, Ford Ecosport and Toyota Innova. Here's a close comparison of the mentioned vehicles:

Toyota Fortuner 220mm 700mm
Mitsubishi Montero 215mm 500mm
Ford Ranger 223mm 800mm
Toyota Hilux 212mm 700mm
Economy Pick
Ford EcoSport 200mm 550mm
Toyota Innova 176mm 500mm
Hyundai Tucson 170mm 400mm

Pick up trucks are best for utilitarian purposes because it can carry a more flexible sized cargo, looks good even if you do a "lift" to increase ground clearance and wading depth and doesn't compromise much on style. Some of the best people carrier mentioned above are the Toyota Innova, Toyota Fortuner and Mitsubishi Montero. Cheapest of all would be the Toyota Innova but it has only 176mm of ground clearance. As for the 2 SUVs, Montero would be the sportier yet cheaper one and the Fortuner would be the classier yet more expensive one. The Ecosport is unique because although it is one of the cheapest in terms of price, the ground clearance and wading depth rating is great for its class. Price-wise, the high end model costs less than 1 million pesos.

My only misgiving would be the after sales service. In the Philippines, I know that Honda and Toyota (dealership dependent at times) has the greatest after sales service and overall vehicle reliability plus affordability of spare parts. For Ford and Hyundai, I cannot vouch for the reliability of the vehicle as having owned both presented a lot of problems with some being very expensive.

As for fuel consumption, Toyota's have proven that it is very fuel efficient, specially the Toyota Innova that can reach 12km~15km per liter based on personal experience.

*Thanks for commenters/readers helping me update this info sheet. Items marked with an asterisk (*) are info coming from readers as seen in the comment section below.
In case you know other cars info on their ground clearance and their wading depths, please comment below.

Thanks again!

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Anonymous said...

How about mitsubishi adventure?