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Matt Campbell
Reviewed & driven by
CarsGuide

27 Mar 2020

So you need a hardcore off-road wagon that can scramble up a craggy mountain and smash through mud holes, but also cope with the drudgery of day-to-day life and all the practical considerations that come with it? Well, we've got four very interesting players in the rugged 4WD SUV segment that could well fit the bill.

This comparison test saw us bring together three ute-based seven-seaters: the just refreshed top-spec Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed, which was our winner the last time we did a test like this; the flagship Ford Everest Titanium, because the broader CarsGuide community insisted we put high-spec models against high-spec models rather than matching up the prices; and the range-topping Toyota Fortuner Crusade, which has also been updated for 2020. Plus we've also included a stalwart in the seven-seater SUV segment - the Toyota Prado GXL, which is the most popular variant in its model range and sits pretty close to the top-spec ute-based SUVs on price. It also represents what a lot of people instantly think of when they're asked about family-friendly four-wheel drives.

  • We brought together three ute-based vehicles as well as one SUV for this comparison. We brought together three ute-based vehicles as well as one SUV for this comparison.
  • All four of these models are diesel-powered 4x4 wagons. All four of these models are diesel-powered 4x4 wagons.
  • These models are all seven-seaters. These models are all seven-seaters.
  • Three of these models are based on dual-cab utes, only the Toyota Prado is purpose-built. Three of these models are based on dual-cab utes, only the Toyota Prado is purpose-built.
  • The Pajero Sport is more nose heavy than the other three models. The Pajero Sport is more nose heavy than the other three models.
  • The Prado GXL is the model with the flat tailgate. The Prado GXL is the model with the flat tailgate.

All four of these models are diesel-powered 4x4 wagons, and in the versions we have here, each has seven seats - so they double up on practicality. The question is, then - do you go for the Prado? Or one of the ute-based SUVs? That might depend on your budget - and yes, there is a price disparity at play here, but we'll get to the details in the pricing and specifications section below.

We'll also go through the important family stuff like value for money, practicality, safety, and - of course - how they drive on-road, and how they cope off-road - and the words in the off-road review section below will be from our Adventure Editor, Marcus Craft.

Let's get on with it!

Practicality

Three of these models are based on dual-cab utes - only the Toyota Prado is purpose-built, where the Everest is based on the Ranger, the Pajero Sport is spun off the Triton, and the Fortuner shares a lot of its underpinnings with the HiLux. But can they offer the comfort that families expect?

Well, let's look at their physical dimensions first and foremost, because chances are you mightn't have thought these vehicles were quite as close as they are when it comes to size and space.

 

Everest Titanium

Pajero Sport Exceed

Fortuner Crusade

Prado GXL

Length (mm)

4969

4825

4795

4825

Width (mm)

1869

1815

1855

1885

Height (mm)

1837

1835

1835

1890

Wheelbase (mm)

2850

2800

2745

2790

It's worth noting that our Prado GXL is the model with the flat tailgate, which is why it's fairly short - when you get the tailgate-mounted spare wheel you'll find the size stretches out to 4995mm. But this version is considerably more family-friendly, with a split-tailgate design that allows you to open the rear glass independent of the side-swinging back door. The others all have conventional tailgate designs with electric boot opening and closing, which is arguably more usable day-to-day.

Now, let's take a look at the boot space and capacity in a bit more detail. You might want to refer to the interior images to get an idea of how they compare for interior dimensions and boot dimensions, because there are some different capacity methodologies used.

 

Everest Titanium

Pajero Sport Exceed

Fortuner Crusade

Prado GXL

Boot space - 2 seats up

2010L (SAE)

1488L (VDA)

1080L (VDA)

974L (VDA)

Boot space - 5 seats up

1050L (SAE)

502L (VDA)

716L (VDA)

553L (VDA)

Boot space - 7 seats up

450L (SAE)

131L (VDA)

200L (VDA)

104L (VDA)

Luggage capacity is one thing, but all four of these models have roof-rails so you can fit a roof-rack if you need it. All of them can also be fitted with a cargo barrier, and if you're as adventurous as these vehicles are, you might want to consider a boot liner. None come with a cargo cover, as it'd just get in the way.

  • All four models have roof-rails if you need extra luggage capacity. All four models have roof-rails if you need extra luggage capacity.
  • With five seats up the Everest has 1050L (SAE) of boot space (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium). With five seats up the Everest has 1050L (SAE) of boot space (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium).
  • With seven seats up the boot space is reduced to 450L (SAE) (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium). With seven seats up the boot space is reduced to 450L (SAE) (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium).
  • Luggage capacity in the Everest (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium). Luggage capacity in the Everest (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium).
  • Carsguide pram in the Everest (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium). Carsguide pram in the Everest (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium).
  • Carsguide pram in the Everest with six seats up (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium). Carsguide pram in the Everest with six seats up (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium).
  • With five seats up the Pajero has 502L (VDA) of boot space. With five seats up the Pajero has 502L (VDA) of boot space.
  • With seven seats up the Pajero has 131L (VDA) of boot space. With seven seats up the Pajero has 131L (VDA) of boot space.
  • Luggage capacity of the Pajero with seven seats up (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed). Luggage capacity of the Pajero with seven seats up (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed).
  • Carsguide pram in the Pajero (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed). Carsguide pram in the Pajero (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed).
  • Carsguide pram in the Pajero with six seats up (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed). Carsguide pram in the Pajero with six seats up (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed).
  • With five seats up the Fortuner has 716L (VDA) of boot space (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade). With five seats up the Fortuner has 716L (VDA) of boot space (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade).
  • With seven seats up the Fortuner boot space decreases to 200L (VDA) (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade). With seven seats up the Fortuner boot space decreases to 200L (VDA) (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade).
  • Luggage capacity of the Fortuner with seven seats up (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade). Luggage capacity of the Fortuner with seven seats up (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade).
  • Carsguide pram in the Everest with seven seats up (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade). Carsguide pram in the Everest with seven seats up (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade).
  • Carsguide pram in the Fortuner with six seats up (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade). Carsguide pram in the Fortuner with six seats up (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade).
  • With five seats up the Prado boot space is 553L (VDA) (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL). With five seats up the Prado boot space is 553L (VDA) (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL).
  • With seven seats up the Prado boot capacity is reduced to 104L (VDA) (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL). With seven seats up the Prado boot capacity is reduced to 104L (VDA) (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL).
  • Luggage capacity of the Prado with seven seats up (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL). Luggage capacity of the Prado with seven seats up (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL).
  • Carsguide pram in the Prado with six seats up (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL). Carsguide pram in the Prado with six seats up (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL).

When it comes to occupant comfort, all of these SUVs have air vents to all three rows, and all have seven seats capable of fitting adults. But the amount of time an adult might want to spend in the back row isn't equal - see our driving section for more on that.

As tested, all of these models had rear fan controls, but the Everest and Prado had a third climate zone so second- and third-row occupants could set the desired temperature independent to those up front. The Pajero Sport is equipped with dual-zone climate control (two temperature zones for the front-seat occupants), where the Fortuner only has a single-zone climate system.

Access to the third row varies, with the Prado offering the easiest ingress and egress via the left-hand side - it has a wider door opening and is much easier to step into. The Fortuner's third-row access was next best despite its doorway being a bit tight, and the same was the case for the Everest, which doesn't allow the seat base to fold up. Last for third-row access was the Pajero Sport, which doesn't have a sliding second row - it's a flip-and-tumble operation, and while smaller kids will be able to amble in with ease, adults could find it to be a bit of a squeeze.

  • The Everest doesn't allow for the seat base to fold up for easy access to the third row (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium). The Everest doesn't allow for the seat base to fold up for easy access to the third row (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium).
  • Access to the third row in the Pajero was was difficult as it doesn't have a sliding second row (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed). Access to the third row in the Pajero was was difficult as it doesn't have a sliding second row (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed).
  • Despite the doorway being a bit tight in the Everest the third-row access was still good (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade). Despite the doorway being a bit tight in the Everest the third-row access was still good (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade).

The same can be said of the second-row occupant space in the Pajero Sport - because the seat doesn't slide fore and aft, the kneeroom for any long-limbed adults isn't as good as the others in this test. Headroom is fine, and it feels wider in the back than the Fortuner. That said, all vehicles here could fit a 182cm tall male adult behind his own driving position with ease.

All of these models have dual ISOFIX second-row child seat anchor points, as well as three top-tether points. But the Pajero Sport's top-tether hooks are mounted in the ceiling of the rear-most cargo space, rather than the back seat - meaning that anyone in the third row will suffer because there'll be straps eating into the space (that's if you can get into the back row at all). It all comes down to the fact the seat tumbles, and doesn't slide.

The Prado was judged best for second-row width, and it was pretty accommodating in most facets. The Fortuner's back seat was a narrower feeling place to be, but leg and head room was okay. And the Everest? It had good headroom in spite of the Titanium's panoramic glass sunroof eating up a few centimetres, but the dark headlining made it feel a bit cocoon-like. The width in the second row was second best, but it had good legroom.

All models have cup holders in a flip-down armrest (some better executed than others), plus each of these models has bottle-holders in all four doors. There are also cup-holders in the third row for each of these SUVs.

All models have cup holders in a flip-down armrest in the second-row (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium). All models have cup holders in a flip-down armrest in the second-row (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium).

Now, let's take a look at the front cabins of these models.

The interior of the Prado feels a lot wider and it feels like there's more real estate - that's because there is. It's physically wider, and, as a result, there's a lot more usability to the cabin than in, say, the Fortuner. You even get a broader media screen with hard buttons either side of it, and dials to control the volume and tuner. It's very easy to use and everything is very logically laid-out.

The interior of the Prado feels a lot wider and it feels like there's more real estate (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL). The interior of the Prado feels a lot wider and it feels like there's more real estate (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL).

If you've never sat in a Prado, it won't take much learning. It's very intuitive, and you'll get to know it very well. And the storage is mostly pretty good, aside from the small L-shaped section near the (optional) seat heating and cooling controls, and it has easily the largest centre-console bin with cooling – perfect for road trips.

In the front of the Fortuner, by contrast, you're a bit close to the person next to you because it's quite a narrow cabin. There's not much in the way of loose storage in the front, but you get a pair of cupholders plus a smallish centre bin, and you also get a dual glovebox and dashboard-mounted cup-holders.

The Fortuner has quite a narrow cabin (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade). The Fortuner has quite a narrow cabin (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade).

The dash design is okay, apart from the fact it eats into the space. However, there is no digital speedometer, and it's the only vehicle in this group that misses out on that important safety feature, which could be the difference between being fine, or being fined. Also, the silver edging of the JBL speakers that sit on top of the dashboard interrupt your peripheral vision, reflect oncoming vehicle head-lights and other light sources onto the windscreen during night-time driving, which affects the driver's forward vision, and they don't look pretty, either.

The seats are heated but there's only a setting for on or off (where the other ones have multiple mode settings), and the touchscreen can be a little bit difficult to use to because it doesn't have the volume knob - it has touch buttons on the side, and they can be finicky.

The front-seat zone of the Pajero Sport Exceed has stepped up a little bit in its latest iteration - the previous one was pretty good, but this one is even better because it now has a bigger media screen with inbuilt sat-nav. It also has the smartphone mirroring tech you would expect, and that just means you can choose whichever way you prefer to see your way to your destination. There's also a nice big digital driver information screen with a huge speedo so you can keep an eye on your pace.

The front-seat zone of the Pajero has stepped up in its latest iteration (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed). The front-seat zone of the Pajero has stepped up in its latest iteration (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed).

Storage could be better - there's a pair of cupholders between the seats, a smallish centre console bin, and a small storage caddy in front of the gear shifter, and there's also a section below the gear selector area which is rendered a little bit useless in day-to-day driving.

The presentation is really nice - there's lots of nice materials, the leather on the seats feels really good, and the seat comfort is the best of this bunch. Plus the steering wheel feels nice in the hand, and it also has paddle shifters so you can get sporty! (The Fortuner does, too).

Up front in the Ford Everest Titanium it certainly feels more upmarket than its competitors - it's more expensive, and it feels it, as well. It doesn't quite have the same width of the cabin as the Prado, but it does feel substantial inside and there are some nice design cues including a section of painted finish on the dashboard, which even spells out that you're in an Everest and not a Ranger – but there are a lot of other Ranger elements inside the cabin because that's the vehicle it's based on.

Up front the Ford Everest Titanium feels more upmarket than its competitors (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium). Up front the Ford Everest Titanium feels more upmarket than its competitors (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium).

Got the same Sync 3 media screen with manual controls below, but we did have some issues with the screen slowness at times. But there's a nice digital driver info screen in front of the driver for the digital speedo, plus for storage there's also cupholders, a storage bin in front of the shifter, and a reasonably sized centre-console bin.

The seats are fairly comfortable, and they're heated in this spec as well. And because you're getting a top spec model, there's also a big panoramic glass sunroof, which is very nice.

The Ford Everest Titanium has a panoramic glass sunroof. The Ford Everest Titanium has a panoramic glass sunroof.

We weren't assessing these models on their exterior style or design. You can make up your own mind as to which would look best with a sport exterior pack with a body kit and rear spoiler, but, if you're considering that, you'll need to remove the side steps.

ModelScore
Ford Everest Titanium9
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed7
Toyota Fortuner Crusade7
Toyota Prado GXL9
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Price and features

How much is a Ford Everest Titanium? How much does the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed cost? What's the price range of a Toyota Fortuner? And how about the pricing on Prado models?

We've got you covered. Here's the price list for this model comparison - and these are the RRP / MSRP / before on-road costs list prices for these cars. You might want to check the Autotrader and CarsGuide listings to see if there are any bargains going.

Let's start at the most affordable model, which is the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed. It has a list price of $57,190 plus on-road costs. Our car had an optional tow kit fitted ($1299) plus electric trailer brakes ($685), an alloy bullbar ($3513) and White Diamond paint ($940), making for an as-tested price of $63,627.

  • The Everest has an 8.0-inch touchscreen (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium). The Everest has an 8.0-inch touchscreen (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium).
  • The Pajero has an 8.0-inch touchscreen (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed). The Pajero has an 8.0-inch touchscreen (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed).
  • The Fortuner has a 7.0-inch touchscreen (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade). The Fortuner has a 7.0-inch touchscreen (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade).
  • The Prado has an 8.0-inch touchscreen (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL). The Prado has an 8.0-inch touchscreen (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL).

Next up is the Toyota Fortuner Crusade, priced at $58,290 plus on-roads. It's on top of its model range, and came with a towing kit with wiring harness that pushed its as-tested price to $59,041.

Then it's a jump to the Toyota Prado GXL, listing at $63,690 before on-road costs. However, our car had the $3463 Premium Interior option pack, which adds leather seats, heated and cooled front seats, heated second row seats. That and its premium paint pushed its as-tested price to $67,753.

And the Ford Everest Titanium was the most expensive of this quartet, with a list price of $72,790 plus on-roads. The optional paint pushed that price to $73,440. There's more detail on paint options and prices below.

When it comes to equipment, let's consider the media systems first. Worried you might have issues with maps via smartphone mirroring? All of these models have a GPS navigation system, and all have a touch-screen with Bluetooth, too - but in a big downer for both Toyotas, there's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring tech, which is massively frustrating if you've become used to it.

 

Everest Titanium

Pajero Sport Exceed

Fortuner Crusade

Prado GXL

Sat nav

Y

Y

Y

Y

Apple CarPlay / Android Auto

Y

Y

N

N

Touch screen size

8.0-inch

8.0-inch

7.0-inch

8.0-inch

USB ports

2 (front)

4 (2 front, 2 rear)

1 (front)

1 (front)

Radio

AM/FM/DAB

AM/FM/DAB

AM/FM/DAB

AM/FM

CD player

Y

N

Y

Y

Sound system speakers

10

8

11

9

As you'll notice in the next section, there are some common elements between these four, but the Prado's optional pack is what really helps it keep pace with not only the cheaper rivals, but also the Everest. It is, however, the only one with cooled ventilated seats available.

 

Everest Titanium

Pajero Sport Exceed

Fortuner Crusade

Prado GXL

Power point (220v/230v)

Y - second row

Y - second row

Y - second row

Y - boot

Leather trim

 Y

Y

Y

Optional

Electric seat adjustment

Y - driver and front passenger, plus third-row electric fold

Y - driver and passenger front

Y - driver front

Optional

Memory settings

N

N

N

N

Leather steering wheel

Y

Y

Y

Y

Heated seats (front)

Y

Y

Y

Y (rear optional)

Cooled seats

N

N

N

Y (optional)

Heated steering wheel

Y

N

N

N

Climate control

Three-zone

Two-zone

One-zone

Three-zone

Rear air vents

Y

Y

Y

Y

Rear fan controller

Y

Y

Y

Y

Keyless entry / smart key

Y

Y

Y

Y

Push button start

Y

Y

Y

Y

Cruise control

Adaptive

Adaptive

Adaptive

Adaptive

And when it comes to differentiating these four SUVs from the exterior, it's once again a close contest. The Prado's optional spare-wheel-free tailgate means it lacks the electric boot opening of the others, and it also gets the smallest wheels of this mix. Note: you can option an off-road focused 18-inch wheel-and-tyre package for the Everest Titanium instead of the 20s, if that suits your requirements better.

 

Everest Titanium

Pajero Sport Exceed

Fortuner Crusade

Prado GXL

Alloy wheels

20-inch

18-inch

18-inch

17-inch

Roof rails

Y

Y

Y

Y

LED headlights 

Y

Y

Y

Y

LED daytime running lights

Y

Y

Y

Y

LED front fog lights

Y

Y

Y

Y

Auto headlights

Y

Y

Y

Y

Side steps

Y

Y

Y

Y

Power tailgate

Y

Y

Y

N

Sunroof

Y - panoramic

N

N

N

Towbar 

Y

N

N

N

Accessories are readily available for all of these models, and we're talking about more than just floor mats - as you can see in the case of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport in this test, which had a bullbar fitted as well as a tow bar, which is optional, too. There are other features in each of these models' catalogues, such as a nudge bar, snorkel and plenty of others besides. You won't be limited in the potential to customise your ride - but if you're thinking beyond rims, perhaps tyres, suspension, a lift kit or even more extreme measures, then you might have to shop the aftermarket.

When it comes to colours, there are plenty of paint options available.

The Fortuner has white as its only no-cost option, but there's also an optional pearl white, silver, grey, black, brown and blue. The cost for the premium paint is $600.

  • The Toyota Fortuner has white as its only no-cost option. The Toyota Fortuner has white as its only no-cost option.
  • The Toyota Fortuner has white as its only no-cost option. The Toyota Fortuner has white as its only no-cost option.
  • The Toyota Fortuner has white as its only no-cost option. The Toyota Fortuner has white as its only no-cost option.
  • The Toyota Fortuner has white as its only no-cost option. The Toyota Fortuner has white as its only no-cost option.
  • The Toyota Fortuner has white as its only no-cost option. The Toyota Fortuner has white as its only no-cost option.

The Prado has a solid no-cost white or black paint available, plus the choice of pearl white, pearl silver, dark grey, two other blacks, Wildfire red (which looks like it has a tinge of orange about it) and bronze. Premium paint costs $600.

  • The Prado has a solid no-cost white or black paint available. The Prado has a solid no-cost white or black paint available.
  • The Prado has a solid no-cost white or black paint available. The Prado has a solid no-cost white or black paint available.
  • The Prado has a solid no-cost white or black paint available. The Prado has a solid no-cost white or black paint available.
  • The Prado has a solid no-cost white or black paint available. The Prado has a solid no-cost white or black paint available.
  • The Prado has a solid no-cost white or black paint available. The Prado has a solid no-cost white or black paint available.

The Everest is available in solid red or white finishes at no cost, while the premium options ($650) include a gold looking hue known as Diffused Silver, Sunset (maroon), black, grey, silver and blue.

  • The Everest is available in solid red or white finishes at no cost. The Everest is available in solid red or white finishes at no cost.
  • The Everest is available in solid red or white finishes at no cost. The Everest is available in solid red or white finishes at no cost.
  • The Everest is available in solid red or white finishes at no cost. The Everest is available in solid red or white finishes at no cost.
  • The Everest is available in solid red or white finishes at no cost. The Everest is available in solid red or white finishes at no cost.
  • The Everest is available in solid red or white finishes at no cost. The Everest is available in solid red or white finishes at no cost.

The Pajero Sport has the most expensive optional paint. You get solid white for no cost, but if you want the dark red, blue, silver, grey or black paint it will add $740 to the price, while the White Diamond finish is $940 extra.

  • The Pajero Sport comes in solid white for no extra cost.
The Pajero Sport comes in solid white for no extra cost.
  • The Pajero Sport comes in solid white for no extra cost. The Pajero Sport comes in solid white for no extra cost.
  • The Pajero Sport comes in solid white for no extra cost. The Pajero Sport comes in solid white for no extra cost.
  • The Pajero Sport comes in solid white for no extra cost. The Pajero Sport comes in solid white for no extra cost.
  • The Pajero Sport comes in solid white for no extra cost. The Pajero Sport comes in solid white for no extra cost.

Across the board it's a close contest for the levels of equipment on offer, and really the price you pay is what determines the standings in this part of the test. The Everest is expensive and therefore is at the back of the pack despite offering a number of niceties unmatched by its rivals, including a standard-fit tow bar.

Both Toyotas miss some crucial items. The Mitsubishi is the value king here.

ModelScore
Ford Everest Titanium7
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed9
Toyota Fortuner Crusade8
Toyota Prado GXL8

Engine and transmission

Righto, now let's get into the nitty gritty of these four. We're talking about diesel engine specifications - we know you absolutely love specs, so we've put the information into a table below. We've even included whether the engine has a timing belt or timing chain!

 

Everest Titanium

Pajero Sport Exceed

Fortuner Crusade

Prado GXL

Engine capacity 

2.0-litre

2.4-litre

2.8-litre

2.8-litre

Engine cylinders

Four, bi-turbo

Four, turbo

Four, turbo

Four, turbo

Power output 

157kW at 3750rpm

133kW at 3500rpm

130kW at 3400rpm

130kW at 3400rpm

Torque output

500Nm at 1750-2000rpm

430Nm at 2500rpm

450Nm at 1600-2400rpm

450Nm at 1600-2400rpm

Timing belt or chain

Timing belt

Timing chain

Timing chain

Timing chain

Transmission (all automatic)

10-speed

8-speed

6-speed

6-speed

Drive type

Permanent 4WD

Selectable 4WD

Selectable 4WD

Permanent 4WD

Kerb weight

2446kg

2110kg

2135kg

2325kg

Towing capacity (unbraked)

750kg

750kg

750kg

750kg

Towing capacity (braked)

3100kg

3100kg

2800kg

3000kg

Payload

654kg

665kg

615kg

665kg

Gross vehicle mass (GVM)

3100kg

2775kg

2750kg

2990kg

Gross combined mass (GCM)

5900kg

5565kg

5545kg

5490kg

The engine size differential is marked, but the Ford - which has not one turbocharger attached to its motor, but two (that's where the Bi-Turbo name comes from) - punches well hard for its size, with a clear horsepower advantage and torque that betters its rivals easily. It is heaviest, though, and that weight dulls the overall performance just a tad.

As you may have noticed, there was no point considering manual vs automatic for this test. However, you can get the Prado with a manual gearbox if you want, but all the others are auto-only across their ranges.

The four-wheel drive systems are different between these four vehicles. The four-wheel drive systems are different between these four vehicles.

And it's worth noting that the four-wheel drive systems are different between these four vehicles. The permanent 4WD system employed in the Prado and Everest might appeal to you, especially if you're stepping up from something with AWD. The other two allow you to run in 4x2 (2H) or 4x4 (4H). We'll get to more on that below.

Likewise, there was no point thinking about petrol vs diesel, and our minds didn't even stray near the topic of LPG or hybrid. Every single one of these models uses diesel exclusively.

  • (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium) (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium)
  • (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade) (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade)
  • (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed) (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed)
  • (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL) (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL)

While we would have loved to conduct a towing test as part of this review, not all of the vehicles were equipped to do so.

We know there are people out there who may be concerned over all sorts of problems with these vehicles, be it engine problems, automatic transmission problems, suspension problems, clutch, turbo, injector issues, automatic gearbox problems.

You might also be concerned or hesitant to purchase one of these diesel-powered SUVs given the well-reported issues around diesel particulate filters (DPF), particularly in the Toyota stable. Don't worry - we've got your back. CarsGuide has ‘problems' pages for each of these models that will hopefully capture any common issues: Ford Everest problems; Mitsubishi Pajero Sport problems; Toyota Fortuner problems; Toyota Prado problems.

ModelScore
Ford Everest Titanium9
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed7
Toyota Fortuner Crusade7
Toyota Prado GXL7
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Fuel consumption

Fuel consumption is close between these four big SUVs - well, it was pretty close in the real world, even if there's a bit of a gap between them on paper.

Diesel fuel economy is always going to be better than petrol in this sort of application, and none of these models have petrol options available. While the Toyota Fortuner has an eco mode button, none of the others do.

Take a look at the fuel use claims vs the actual fuel use we saw on test in the table below - including on-road and off-road testing:

 

Everest Titanium

Pajero Sport Exceed

Fortuner Crusade

Prado GXL

Claimed combined fuel use (L/100km)

7.0

8.0

8.6

8.0

Fuel use on test, on-road (L/100km)

7.6

8.4

8.4

8.3

Fuel use on test, off-road (L/100km)

12.1

9.0

11.5

12.7

Combined average during testing (L/100km)

9.9

8.7

10.0

10.5

Fuel tank capacity

80L

68L

80L

87L

Even with our test Prado adopting the Flat Tailgate option pack, which sees the 63-litre sub fuel tank dropped in favour of an under-floor mounted spare tyre, it has the largest fuel tank size of these four at 87 litres. Theoretically, then, it should offer the greatest mileage, though it was a little thirstier during our testing over two days - that's the penalty of being bigger and heavier.

The Pajero Sport was the best for fuel consumption here, bettering its rivals by more than a litre per 100 kays. That's impressive, though the small fuel tank will mean more frequent refills. Just keep that in mind.

ModelScore
Ford Everest Titanium7
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed8
Toyota Fortuner Crusade7
Toyota Prado GXL7

On-road driving

For this test, we took all of these models out for a mixed driving loop, including urban testing with speed humps and roundabouts, as well as highway kilometres and winding roads.

We tested all three rows at once, with each tester sitting in the same spot for each loop to keep things consistent. The aim was to find which struck the right balance of comfort, confidence and control in a mix of driving situations - there was no 0-100 acceleration speed testing or any performance figures being collected. We wanted to do what most family buyers would with these sorts of cars, and here's what we found.

Toyota Fortuner Crusade

The Fortuner ranked last for on-road driving.

The Toyota Fortuner Crusade ranked last for on-road driving. The Toyota Fortuner Crusade ranked last for on-road driving.

Its suspension was best described as unpleasant, with a fierce ride compared to the other SUVs here. It was especially bad on coarse chip roads, feeling choppy and unpleasant no matter which row you were sitting in.

Its steering was decently responsive and nicely weighted, though, with good feel through the wheel for the driver. It was an involving SUV to drive, and felt smaller than its rivals as a result.

The steering was decently responsive and nicely weighted (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade). The steering was decently responsive and nicely weighted (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade).

Its engine was eager too - it's one of the lightest of these four SUVs and certainly felt zestier in its engine response. The six-speed auto was effective at lower speeds, but could be fussy at highway pace, especially in undulating terrain.

It was noisier than the others, though, with more vibrations and harshness evident for all occupants in the cabin. Put it this way: the Fortuner was the one we all wanted to get out of most.

Mitchell Tulk was our third-row tester, and he echoed these thoughts, stating: "The Fortuner had the roughest ride of the group, and that just results in a bad time for anyone stuck in the back."

Toyota Prado GXL

There weren't as many complaints in the Prado, which is wider than its rivals and feels more planted as a result.

The Toyota Prado GXL's wider track gave it a more surefooted feel on all surfaces and at all speeds. The Toyota Prado GXL's wider track gave it a more surefooted feel on all surfaces and at all speeds.

Its wider track gave it a more surefooted feel on all surfaces and at all speeds, and in combination with its permanent four-wheel drive system, it was a very confident feeling vehicle for all passengers present, and for the driver, too.

Its steering is slower than the Fortuner, though, and it can feel a bit bigger when you're trying to negotiate tight streets, too. That's despite it having the same turning circle as the Fortuner (11.6m), which is slightly better than the turning radius of the Everest (11.7m) but not as good as the urban-friendly Pajero Sport (11.2m).

The engine doesn't feel nearly as punchy in the Prado as it does in the Fortuner, too. With the same power and torque outputs, we'd describe progress as more leisurely in the Prado because it weighs a couple of hundred kilograms more than the Fortuner.

The Prado GXL's steering is slower than the Fortuner (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL).




The Prado GXL's steering is slower than the Fortuner (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL).

It was considerably more refined than its stablemate, and was a lot more agreeable for our testers in on-road driving conditions.

MItchell said of the Prado: "The Prado was third for me - it has one of the best entry and exits (in terms of access to the third row), but it lacks head room."

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed

The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport was nicely refined and mostly pleasant in day-to-day driving. It's the sort of vehicle that really grows on you the more time you spend in it, and that's the case for first-, second- and third-row occupants.

The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed's ride can be a little jittery over some surfaces. The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed's ride can be a little jittery over some surfaces.

That said, its ride can be a little jittery over some surfaces, but for the most part our testers found the suspension to be well sorted.

For the driver there's nicely weighted steering that offers good response and feel, and it has the tightest turning circle of these four SUVs, too. That helps with U-turns and parking moves, and it has a surround-view camera that made those manoeuvres even simpler.

The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed has a nicely weighted steering that offers good response and feel. The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed has a nicely weighted steering that offers good response and feel.

Its engine was quiet, but its response wasn't as urgent. It doesn't feel slow at all, but it's not as eager to jump away from a standstill. Even so, the eight-speed auto is smooth and smart, and the Pajero Sport was largely very good across the board.

Mitchell on the third-row of the Pajero Sport: "The Mitsubishi has the best head room of the group, but setting up the third-row seats is a bit finicky."

Ford Everest Titanium

The Ford Everest Titanium was the most enjoyable, the most comfortable, the most livable and the most relaxing of these four SUVs to drive.

The Ford Everest Titanium was the most enjoyable ride. The Ford Everest Titanium was the most enjoyable ride.

A lot of that comes down to the fact that it's got light and accurate steering, so it's not as tedious as some of the other SUVs in this test - and it never feels like a chore to drive, no matter how long you spend at the wheel.

Its suspension is also a big help in that respect. The suspension comfort and control is excellent, and never felt too choppy or too bouncy. It has bigger wheels than some of the lower models in the Everest range, so the ride is impacted just a little bit over sharp edges and the like - but it was never to the point where we felt uncomfortable, because it was never unsettled.

The Ford Everest Titanium has light and accurate steering. The Ford Everest Titanium has light and accurate steering.

Other things that we really liked about the Everest was the level of refinement - there's not too much noise from the engine compared to the other vehicles in this test, and there wasn't much road noise or wind noise either.

The bi-turbo four-cylinder engine easily had the most pulling power of these for SUVs, and despite the Everest being a hefty thing, it still felt more urgent. The 10-speed automatic transmission had a lot of gears to play with, and it did a great job of harnessing the power - even if there was a little bit of chopping and changing gears at lower speeds when it probably could just have held onto the gear and kept moving.

Further, some people will hate the engine stop-start system (no other model in this test has start-stop), but thankfully there is a button to turn it off if it annoys you.

On the whole, this was such an impressive vehicle because it did everything we expected, it didn't do anything to offend our testers, and as family transport - if you're just driving around town, or if you're on the highway - it was easily the winner of this part of the test.

That went for Mitchell in the third-row, too: "If I had to spend a few hours in one of them, it would be the Everest. It had the most comfortable seats, and the softest suspension."

ModelScore
Ford Everest Titanium9
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed7
Toyota Fortuner Crusade6
Toyota Prado GXL8

Off-road driving

The off-road review was always going to be an important aspect of this test, and the off-road specs of each of these models are pretty close - meaning we expected some similarities when it came to off-road capability.

The off-road specs of each of these models are pretty close. The off-road specs of each of these models are pretty close.

As you'll see in the table below, there are, in fact, some notable differences for each of these vehicles in respect to approach angle, departure angle, wading depth clearance, ground clearance and turning circle diameter.

 

Everest Titanium

Pajero Sport Exceed

Fortuner Crusade

Prado GXL

Approach angle (degrees)

29.5

30.0

30.0

30.4

Departure angle (degrees)

25.0

24.2

25.0

23.5

Break-over angle (degrees)

21.5

23.1

23.5

21.1

Ground clearance (mm)

227

218

225

219

Wading depth (mm)

800

700

700

700

Turning circle / turning radius (m) 

11.7

11.2

11.6

11.6

Tyres 

Goodyear Efficientgrip SUV 265/50/R20 H/T 

Toyo A32 Open Country 265/60/18 A/T

Michelin Latitude Tour HP 265/60/18 H/T

Dunlop AT20 Grandtrek  265/65/17 A/T

4x4 system

Full-time 4WD

Part-time 4WD

Part-time 4WD

Full-time 4WD

Drive modes

Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Sand, Rock (4H and 4L)

Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand, Rock (4L only)

Power and Eco (2H, 4H and 4L)

-

Rear diff lock

Y - electronic

Y

Y

Y

Centre diff lock

N

Y

N

N

Front suspension

Independent front suspension

Double wishbone

Double wishbone

Double wishbone

Rear suspension

Solid rear axle with Watt’s Linkage

Three-link coil spring with stabiliser bar

Five-link coil spring

Four-link coil spring

All of these vehicles have proven 4WD systems, as well as decent ground clearance, wheel travel, and off-road capability for vehicles that aren't intended to be hard-core off-roaders. Not a lot separates them in terms of their off-road efficacy, on paper at least, so in order to see how well they'd perform in serious off-road territory, we drove them all, back to back, on the same terrain in the same conditions.

After driving on back-country bitumen roads and lightly-corrugated dirt tracks we arrived at our set-piece hill climb. This imposing incline is at the outer limits of what a showroom-standard 4WD wagon would be expected to cope with and, to their credit, all of these vehicles successfully tackled it.

But each vehicle's full complement of off-road weaponry – low-range gearing, diff locks, the whole lot – was needed to drive the full length of this hill.

Here's how our off-road testing panned out.

Toyota Fortuner Crusade

The Fortuner and the Pajero Sport are very evenly matched, and they are at the back of this pack. Neither of them are particularly bad at anything, but they're never as composed as the Everest or Prado.

The Fortuner was a real surprise in that it seemed to handle tougher tracks better than it recently handled less severe conditions. Check out our 2020 Fortuner review here.

  • The Fortuner handled tougher tracks well (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade). The Fortuner handled tougher tracks well (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade).
  • The Fortuner was very effective in low-speed, low-range off-roading (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade). The Fortuner was very effective in low-speed, low-range off-roading (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade).
  • There was a bit of side-step grinding and belly-scraping through the deeper, sharply-angled ruts (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade). There was a bit of side-step grinding and belly-scraping through the deeper, sharply-angled ruts (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade).
  • The Fortuner is a harsh-riding 4WD in general (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade). The Fortuner is a harsh-riding 4WD in general (pictured: Toyota Fortuner Crusade).

There was ample low-end torque, and the Fortuner's mechanicals were all fine, but it did feel low and long, and there was a bit of side-step grinding and belly-scraping through the deeper, sharply-angled ruts – but that was the case for all of these 4WDs on this track.

The Fortuner is a harsh-riding 4WD in general – so getting to and from your favourite off-roading spot could be a bit punishing – but it was very effective in low-speed, low-range off-roading. It almost always wins, but it wins ugly.

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed

The Pajero Sport is lighter and narrower than the rest of this pack and, as a result, it's more easily unsettled than the others through very severe and deep ruts. The extra weight of the frontal protection bar probably didn't help it in terms of feeling nose heavy, either.

But it's also among the easiest here to position right where you want it on the track because of its dimensions and the fact that driver visibility is so good. The result? The Pajero Sport always feels dialled into the terrain.

  • The Pajero Sport was capable of doing everything the others could (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed). The Pajero Sport was capable of doing everything the others could (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed).
  • The Pajero Sport is lighter and narrower than the rest of this pack (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed). The Pajero Sport is lighter and narrower than the rest of this pack (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed).
  • Its hill descent control system was a bit more measured than the others (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed). Its hill descent control system was a bit more measured than the others (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed).
  • The Pajero's off-road modes and Super Select II 4WD system are supremely effective (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed). The Pajero's off-road modes and Super Select II 4WD system are supremely effective (pictured: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed).

Another bonus is the fact its off-road modes and Super Select II 4WD system are supremely effective and it's a set-up we've praised in other reviews. Check out Crafty's words on it here.

The Paj Sport's engine-and-auto combination were good – with plenty of usable torque, and a transmission that was never found wanting.

The all-terrain tyres – Toyo Open Country A32s, the most aggressive-looking rubber of this bunch – provided plenty of dirt-grabbing bite on the way up and down what was a rather slippery hill.

However, the Pajero Sport didn't have as much wheel articulation as the others and, during one big drop into a deep rut on a downhill run, there was pronounced back-end lift. Yep, we got a bit of a fright. The bullbar's weight added to that heavier front-end feel.

Its hill descent control system was a bit more measured than in the Prado, but not as smooth as the Everest.

The Pajero Sport was capable of doing everything the others could, but it and the Fortuner simply did it all with a gruff edge that more than hints at their commercial-vehicle origins.

Ford Everest Titanium

The Everest was generally smooth and, perhaps because of that, it tended to yield a driving experience that, while fuss-free, feels one step removed from the terrain you're on.

Having said that, there was a lot to like about the Everest.

Its steering was super light, even though it didn't quite have the direct feel of the Prado.

  • The Everest was a generally smooth off-road ride (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium). The Everest was a generally smooth off-road ride (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium).
  • The driving experience felt one step removed from the terrain you're on (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium). The driving experience felt one step removed from the terrain you're on (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium).
  • The Everest's descent control system delivered controlled and sustained momentum (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium). The Everest's descent control system delivered controlled and sustained momentum (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium).
  • Sometimes the Everest felt bulky on tighter points along the bush tracks we travelled (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium). Sometimes the Everest felt bulky on tighter points along the bush tracks we travelled (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium).

The Everest's 2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel engine and 10-speed auto were a very agreeable match-up, and it was just as at home powering the Ford on serious off-road terrain like we put it through as it is cruising city and suburban streets.

Its hill descent control system was one of the best of this bunch, delivering a controlled and sustained momentum. It was never abrupt or harsh.

It sometimes felt its bulk on tighter points along the bush tracks we travelled, and it did take concentrated driving to keep it out of mischief - you don't want to mark those big 20-inch alloy wheels. But you could always opt for the more touring-friendly 18-inch off-road wheel-and-tyre package that Ford offers as a no-cost option for this spec of Everest. If we did this test again, that could have made a bit of a difference.

The Everest was very impressive at many aspects of four-wheel-driving, but never quite as comfortably capable as our off-road winner.

Toyota Prado GXL

The Prado may have the second lowest claimed ground clearance of this bunch, but it was never an issue because it's simply easier to place the wheels right where you want them – it felt like the best ready-to-go 4WD here. It truly tamed the terrain better than its competitors.

It has less torque than the Everest, but the Prado felt like it consistently got all of its 450Nm of torque to the dirt effectively, while maintaining a real active driver-direct sense to it.

  • The 2.8L four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine was gutsy and rarely stressed (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL). The 2.8L four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine was gutsy and rarely stressed (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL).
  • The Prado's low ground clearance was never an issue (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL). The Prado's low ground clearance was never an issue (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL).
  • The Prado has a solid off-road traction control system (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL). The Prado has a solid off-road traction control system (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL).
  • The Prado felt like it consistently got all of its 450Nm of torque to the dirt effectively (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL). The Prado felt like it consistently got all of its 450Nm of torque to the dirt effectively (pictured: Toyota Prado GXL).

The 2.8L four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine was gutsy and rarely stressed, and the Prado's six-speed auto was a good, effective fit here.

Add to that mix plenty of wheel travel, a solid off-road traction control system and an all-round touring-friendly set-up, and you have a great 4WD that, even though it's feeling a bit old in some respects, was more than capable of heavy off-road duties.

The Prado is one of the few standard 4WDs you can drive straight out of the showroom and up a steep and rutted dirt track in the bush, without any doubts about its ability to get you to the top. And if you can afford the top-spec Kakadu model - which gets the clever KDSS suspension and air suspension springs at the rear - you'll find it's even more capable. But it comes at a cost.

ModelScore
Ford Everest Titanium8
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed7
Toyota Fortuner Crusade7
Toyota Prado GXL9

Safety

The safety offering is different between these four SUVs.

In order to make it easy to understand the safety features fitted to each of the specs tested here, the table below gives you an idea of just how well equipped these models are. It comes down to more than just a safety rating, because over the years the safety features expectations for buyers in this space have stretched a long way from just a reverse camera and park assist.

 

Everest Titanium

Pajero Sport Exceed

Fortuner Crusade

Prado GXL

Reverse camera

Y

Y

Y

Y

360-degree camera

N

Y

N

N

Park assist sensors

Front + rear

Front + rear

Rear

Rear

Airbags

7

7

7

7

Auto emergency braking (AEB)

Y

Y

Y

Y

Pedestrian detection

Y

N

Y

Y

Cyclist detection

N

N

Daytime

N

Adaptive cruise control

Y

Y

Y

Y

Lane departure warning

Y

Y

Y

Y

Lane keep assist

Y

N

N

N

Blind spot monitoring

Y

Y

N

N

Rear cross traffic

Y

Y

N

N

ANCAP safety rating (year tested)

5 stars (2015)

5 stars (2015)

5 stars (2019)

5 stars (2011)

If you have kids, you might be astonished to learn which is best for baby car-seat usability - it's the Ford, by some margin. The Everest is the only one with child-seat attachment points in the third row (x2 top tether), while all of these models - including the Ford - have three top-tether points and two ISOFIX child seat attachment points in their second rows.

All models have dual ISOFIX second-row child seat anchor points (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium). All models have dual ISOFIX second-row child seat anchor points (pictured: Ford Everest Titanium).

One consideration for parents, too, is that the Pajero Sport requires you to attach top tethers to the rear ceiling of the cabin, meaning you could end up with straps interfering with third-row space.

It's surprising to see the Fortuner leading the way for AEB tech standards, being the only one here with cyclist detection. The Pajero Sport falls behind in the AEB stakes, as it's the only one without pedestrian detection. There are other shortcomings and differences between these SUVs, but we had to make a call as to which offered the best mix of stuff across the board - you'll see our ratings below. Disagree? Let us know in the comments.

And, if you're thinking to yourself, "Where is the Ford Everest built?" The answer is Thailand. That's the case for the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Toyota Fortuner, too, while the Toyota Prado is built in Japan.

ModelScore
Ford Everest Titanium9
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed7
Toyota Fortuner Crusade7
Toyota Prado GXL7

Ownership

These four SUVs are reasonably close for ownership promise when it comes to warranty cover - and the Toyotas both offer what is essentially an extended warranty plan because their drivetrains are covered out to seven years as long as they've been logbook serviced. So make sure you keep the logbook and owners manual in good shape.

But there are some other ownership features that separate these models. Have a look at the table below:

 

Everest Titanium

Pajero Sport Exceed

Fortuner Crusade

Prado GXL

Service interval

12 months/15,000km

12 months/15,000km

6 months/10,000km

6 months/10,000km

Annual service cost (avg over three years)

$337.33

$299

$500

$520

Capped price servicing plan

12 years/180,000km

3 years/45,000km

3 years/60,000km

3 years/60,000km

Warranty cover

5 years/unlimited km

5 years/100,000km
(7 years promotional)

5 years/unlimited km
 (7 years drivetrain)

5 years/unlimited km
 (7 years drivetrain) 

Roadside assist included?

7 years if serviced at Ford

12 months

Not included

Not included

You'll notice that the service cost figures above are far higher for the Toyotas - that's because you'll need to visit the dealership or service centre every six months/10,000km (whichever occurs first). The others need maintenance less regularly. Capped price servicing is a given, but it's good to know the nitty gritty details.

Now you might fall into the camp that spending a little more on preventative maintenance could lead to better resale value in the long run. We ran the numbers using a depreciation calculator from Glass's Guide to see which would hold the most of its purchase value after three years/50,000km, and here are the findings: the Ford Everest Titanium should hold its value best, with a predicted 57.5 percent retained value; the two Toyotas are both predicted to hold 56.5 per cent of their purchase price; and the Pajero Sport is just behind, with a predicted 55.5 percent retained value. That just means its second-hand price is more attainable, said the blue sky boy.

If you're concerned about the reliability of these models - and we understand why you would be, given you're spending a fair chunk of change to get into one of these SUVs - then you might be interested to read up on some of the common problems. You can do exactly that by checking the following pages, which cover off issues, complaints, defects and recalls: Ford Everest problemsMitsubishi Pajero Sport problemsToyota Fortuner problemsToyota Prado problems.

You might think that hearsay is more important - ask your friends about their experiences. But while we only had these cars for a week and we therefore can't comment on long-term ownership first-hand, across the board the Ford looks like it's the best of these vehicles to own.

ModelScore
Ford Everest Titanium9
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed8
Toyota Fortuner Crusade7
Toyota Prado GXL7

Verdict

All told it was a close test, this one.

Ultimately, the winner was the Ford Everest Titanium, which shone when it came to its practicality, its engine and on-road driving manners, and its safety and ownership promise. It is more expensive, and we understand that your budget mightn't stretch as far as the Titanium - but the lower grade versions still tick a lot of the boxes, if that's the case for you.

The Ford Everest Titanium shone when it came to its practicality. The Ford Everest Titanium shone when it came to its practicality.

The Toyota Prado GXL came in second spot here, with a strong off-road performance, commendable on-road manners and good practicality overall. It was impressive for an ageing vehicle, and proved why it's still so popular with customers looking for a rugged SUV with seven seats.

In third was the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed. It really does exceed when it comes to value for money, and if that's your key consideration then we could understand exactly why you'd choose it over its rivals. There are some things you need to consider, though, like the child-seat integration - which may matter to you, or you mightn't care about that at all.

And rounding out the group was the Toyota Fortuner Crusade. It's a serious weapon in hard-core off-road terrain, but apart from its peppy engine and reasonably good value for money, it fell short on refinement, comfort and some practical attributes.

You might disagree with these findings, and we accept that - but tell us why in the comments section below.

ModelScore
Ford Everest Titanium8.4
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed7.5
Toyota Fortuner Crusade7.0
Toyota Prado GXL7.8


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