Manila’s roads aren’t always in tip-top shape. Outside of the city, they’re even more unpredictable. Add a little rain and driving can be quite the ordeal. In this season where sudden downpours are a dime a dozen, one wishes to be driving an SUV with an all-wheel drive technology. A vehicle that could take us through the holes, the cracks, the mud, and the occasional floods—and still promise a smooth, if not a still pleasant journey.
For those on the lookout for luxury SUVs perfect for the wet weather, it might be helpful to check out this list made recently by ANC lifestyle program, Executive Class. Host David Celdran who’s test-driven each of the cars says you’ll be glad to drive these rides on sunny days, too.
1. Audi Q7
The German-made Audi Q7 is a seven-seater SUV equipped with the Quattro All-Wheel Drive Technology initially reserved only for Audi rally cars. For its size, you would think driving it would require some sort of extra effort. David, however, says otherwise. “Few SUV’s, and even fewer as large and tall as this, feel as composed and well controlled while going fast on straights and curbs.”
As per the Executive Class host, the Audi Q7 drives effortlessly, the handling is impressive, and the adjustable air suspension all that one could wish for. David took the car to the roads of Cavite, and while much of the streets have improved there are still the occasional dirt roads and uneven streets which proved to be no problem at all for the vehicle. The car is large—big enough to accommodate seven people—but still “agile and responsive.” Design-wise, it also looks very cool.
2. BMW X5 Model
Despite the price—almost similar to the Audi Q7–the BMW X5 model sold in the Philippines is not fitted with an adjustable air suspension but it makes up for it with superb handling. It is able to clear bends, turns, and roundabouts easily. “It’s that unmistakable BMW driving experience: quick, precise, dynamic,” says David. It’s also more compact compared to the Q7, with only two seating rows good for five people max.
Like the Audi Q7, the BMW X5 is an All-wheel Drive. However, unlike the Audi Q7, its All-wheel technology is unique on its own with BMW boasting an X-Drive system which ensures drivers the best possible traction at all times. It’s an advanced All-wheel drive system that cannot be switched off—the aim being to help drivers keep safe in whatever imperfect driving condition. Its 3.0L Twin power 6-Cylinder Turbo Diesel Engine gives the car smooth and instantaneous power, and it’s height will make you better appreciate the views when driving out of town.
3. Mercedes-Benz GLB
The newest model in the luxury SUV offerings, while smaller than the first two vehicles on this list—and also priced friendlier at P 3.950 M—is roomier than one might quickly assume. It actually has three row seating and adjustable rear seats. “Though the lack of all-wheel drive probably slashes the price by much,” says David about the GLB, “there’s nothing about it that says costs were cut.” It feels refined and solid, he adds, built to last just like what people expect from the legacy brand.
The Mercedes-Benz GLB is fitted with a 1.3L 4-Cylinder Turbo Charged Petrol Engine which makes it a viable option as a wet weather SUV. And as in other expensive cars of its kind, it’s advanced digital technology allows users to personalize their ride and access its safety features. Overall, it’s perfect for empty-nesters, says David, “and young families trading up to a Mercedes, or those upgrading from a C class to a compact SUV.”
4. Volvo XC40
David has steered his share of Volvos before but the XC40 R-design T5 Compact SUV, he says, is quite distinct from the ones he’s had the pleasure of driving. To use his word, it’s “trickier” which makes the getting to point B more exciting. It’s retail price is P 3.590 million—a steal considering it’s an All-Wheeler. According to Executive Class, it’s the most affordable All-wheel drive in the country.
The Volvo XC40 offers a 2.0L 4-Cylinder Turbo Charged Diesel Engine, and it’s cool Scandinavian design extends to its cockpit which is spare and equipped only with what the driver needs—safety functions foremost among them which is what the brand is known for. Sleek and safe and friendly on the pocket. That’s what this one is about.
[Catch a new episode of Executive Class Mondays at 6:00pm on ANC, and its replays Mondays 9:30pm, Tuesdays 2:30pm, Thursdays 11:00pm, Saturdays 6:00am, and Sundays 8:00am and 10:00pm.]