Toyota Avanza vs. the competition: Your other local MPV options

Wilbert Tan
·5-min read

The Toyota Avanza is easily one of the most popular multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) sold in the Philippine market today. It was a regular top ten ranker in the Philippines’ list of bestselling cars year after year, but it eventually bowed out in 2019, handing the crown to its direct competitor, the Mitsubishi Xpander.

The current Avanza, a 2019 model, was given a sort-of major exterior overhaul, now sporting a brand new fascia gives the vehicle a sportier, more streamlined face. The facelift introduces new split-type LED headlamps which blend with the character lines of the hood's sheet metal better. The front fog lamps are also a new look alongside the blacked-out lower front grille. A new set of alloy wheels, mildly tweaked rear, and the fin-type antenna complete the new Toyota Avanza's outer shell.

Toyota Avanza
Toyota Avanza

Two engines are on offer for the new Avanza—the first is a 1.5-liter engine for the Veloz and G variants (103hp, 136Nm), and the second is a 1.3-liter engine for the E and J trims (95hp, 121Nm). Drivers can choose between a four-speed automatic and a five-speed manual for all trims except the Veloz, which is solely available in automatic.

The latest Toyota Avanza makes sure that every occupant is comfortable for the long drive with its seven-seater cabin, quality seating materials, and spacious luggage space for everything needed for the trip. Storage expands with the help of 50:50 folding seats on the second and third rows. Infotainment on the other hand, is supplied by a 6.8-inch capacitive touchscreen display infotainment system that also comes with T-Link Mirroring that allows Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. This multimedia console is enhanced with high-resolution K2 Technology audio that enables music streaming and hands-free operation.

toyota avanza dashboard
toyota avanza dashboard

Those interested in snapping up the latest Toyota Avanza can expect a price range of PHP743,000 to PHP1.08 million and six different trims to choose from. Should this popular MPV from the country’s leading car brand prove to be insufficient for your needs, budget and lifestyle, here are other MPVs to consider for your car shopping excursions.

Mitsubishi Xpander (PHP1.01 to PHP1.13 Million)

Mitsubishi Xpander
Mitsubishi Xpander

When it comes to style, few MPVs can measure up to the Mitsubishi Xpander. From its Dynamic Shield front fascia to its futuristic character lines, the all-new Xpander certainly looks prettier than many other vehicles in its class. The LED position lights and combination tail lamps are easy on the eyes, and the 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels make a great introduction to the sleek and tasteful exterior. With four variants available, all Xpanders are equipped with a 1.5-liter inline-four 16-valve DOHC MIVEC engine that delivers 105hp and 141Nm of torque. A modern dashboard welcomes the Xpander’s occupants, placing great emphasis on ergonomics for everyone—the driver most especially. The high user-friendliness is matched by the use of high-quality plastic and fabric materials that help the cabin look particularly upscale for the price point.

Suzuki Ertiga (PHP743,000 to PHP993,000)

Suzuki All New Ertiga
Suzuki All New Ertiga

To be perfectly frank, the Suzuki Ertiga is a car that doesn’t really ring any bells for the average Juan. And that’s a shame, because based on what vehicle offers, it is obviously a decent and reliable performer, not to mention a worthy contender in the country’s MPV segment. A 1.5-liter 4-cylinder K15B sits in the Ertiga’s engine bay, capable of delivering 103hp and 138Nm of torque. Low trims have a five-speed manual, while upper specs come with a four-speed automatic. The latest model aims to spice things up interior-wise with more exciting design cues, such as a three-tone dashboard, D-shaped steering wheel with control buttons, 10-inch infotainment system, and to top it all off, there are faux wood grain accents here and there, giving the cabin an even more premium feel.

Foton Gratour iM6 (PHP698,000)

Foton Gratour iM6
Foton Gratour iM6

Those who are on a truly tight budget will be glad to know that there’s an MPV out there that doesn’t even break the PHP700,000 barrier. Foton is a popular commercial vehicle brand who has recently ventured into passenger car category, and if their sturdy buses and trucks are anything to go by, you’re assured that you’re getting a workhorse vehicle in the Foton Gratour iM6. Powered by a 1.5-liter DAM15D inline-four DVVT gasoline engine mated to a 5-speed manual and capable of delivering 112hp and 150Nm, this Chinese-made MPV possesses some nifty features, including leather seats, rearview camera, and a large 10.1-inch infotainment system.

Toyota Innova (PHP1.04 to PHP1.69 Million)

Toyota KIjang Innova TRD Sportivo
Toyota KIjang Innova TRD Sportivo

The Avanza’s bigger sibling is also its superior in many ways, but all of it comes at a higher price tag. Perhaps the most impressive change to the latest version of the Toyota Innova is the introduction of captain seats at the second row, ushering a more upmarket path for once humble replacement to the Revo. Speaking of upmarket, other such features include automatic climate control, interior ambient lights, two driving modes (ECP and Power), Smart Entry and Push Start, and a TFT touchscreen infotainment with navigation, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary input, to name a few.

The second-gen Toyota Innova—to which the latest version belongs to—is built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), the lighter yet stiffer underpinning that also supports the current generations of the Hilux pickup and Fortuner SUV. The latest version offers a choice between a 2.0-liter 1TR-FE Dual Variable-Valve Timing-Intelligent (Dual VVT-i) gasoline engine (134hp, 183Nm) and 2.8-liter 1GD-FTV Direct Injection Four-Stroke Common Rail Diesel (169hp, 360Nm). Transmission options vary between a 6-Speed AT with Sequential Control and 5-speed M/T.

Photos from Toyota, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Foton

Also read:

Old against new: 2019/20 vs. 2021 Toyota Hilux

2020 Toyota Vios facelift: The 9 variants in detail