The Mitsubishi Pajero has had a long and illustrious tenure in the 4×4 club spanning 37 years in which there have been only four major iterations. This is not only a demonstration of its timeless appeal but also its ability to thrive in the ever changing automotive landscape. In Kenya, it reigned supreme in the 80s and 90s before it was dethroned by the Toyota Prado. Other competitors include the Land Rover Discovery, the Ford Everest and the Nissan Pathfinder.
The Mitsubishi Outlander is a solid SUV that is somehow overlooked in the Kenyan Market. People would rather buy the less practical and over-glorified Toyota Harrier and overlook this versatile SUV. There's freedom of choice and all but if important factors such as utility, off-road capability and 7-seater capacity are considered, then the Outlander is without question the better SUV. It competes with the Toyota Harrier, Nissan X-Trail, Toyota Vanguard, Toyota Rav4, Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester.
The Toyota Urban Cruiser is a rebranded version of the Suzuki Vitara Brezza which has been in the market since 2016. It's referred to as an SUV but it lacks the crucial 4WD capability which in our view makes it more of a hatchback than an SUV. It's however well suited to the Kenyan market offering desirable features such as good ground clearance and excellent fuel economy. It competes with the Subaru XV, Honda Vezel, Nissan Dualis, Mitsubishi RVR and Nissan Juke.
The Suzuki Escudo is a capable off-road vehicle and it's one of the few medium sized SUVs with this capability. Even with it's acclaimed off-road talents and decent on-road manners, the Escudo lags behind its competitors in the Kenyan market such as the Subaru Forester, Mazda CX5, Honda CRV, Toyota Rav4 and Nissan X-Trail.
With the introduction of the third generation in December 2013 the Toyota Harrier was decoupled from the Lexus RX and they are now separate entities. The Harrier has undergone extensive changes with the most notable being the futuristic frontal redesign. The driving dynamics have also changed significantly with the introduction of a 2.0 Litre powerplant.
The Jeep Wrangler has a strong military heritage and the rugged retro design has deliberately been maintained over the years to reflect this lineage. Similar to the Land Rover Defender, the Wrangler appeals to both off-road enthusiasts and the urbane alike. It's considered to be a luxury car in some quarters and it can as well fit the bill but in actual sense, it’s an adaptable 4x4 that can be stripped to bare bones for hardcore off-roading.
The 4x4 landscape is changing fast and the chasm that once existed between on-road and off-road vehicles is getting narrower. The term SUV is ambiguous and does not in itself denote off-road capability but rather a body type classification. Due to this confusion, capable off-roaders such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee are grouped together in the SUV labyrinth that carries both true 4x4s and poseurs alike. The Grand Cherokee competes with the VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Range Rover Sport and Mercedes ML/GLE.
The Subaru Forester is quickly establishing itself in Kenya as a top tier SUV outperforming most of its rivals such as the Nissan X-Trail, Honda CRV, Toyota Rav-4, Mazda CX-5, Suzuki Vitara and Mitsubishi Outlander. What sets the Forester apart is the ingenious symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system and the choice of engines that include the turbocharged DIT engine that propels the Forester from 0 to 100 km/hour in 7.5 Seconds