2012 Best Buys: Large SUV

Land Rover Discovery 4 (winner)

Without a doubt the best looking contender in this category. Blessed with a rugged and purposeful physique it’s easy to see why so many people are buying the Land Rover Discovery 4. More of a status symbol than anyt­hing else, the Disco is comfortable on any surface thanks to the state-of-the-art Terrain Response system, which can be tailored by the driver for maximum efficiency. Crucial to the Disco’s allure is the capacious seven-seat interior, which features high-quality materials and a premium infotainment touch screen display with all-round camera monitoring system. The 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel power plant is a gem. Equipped with 180kW and an evenly spread torque curve, the Disco cruises well on the long road and makes easy pickings of towing a heavy caravan or trailer. Mated to an impressive six-speed automatic transmission, the 3.0-litre V6 will go from nought to 100kph in 9.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 180kph. Three trim levels comprise the line-up: S, SE and HSE, of which a powerful but thirsty 5.0-litre V8 is also an option. Reliability has always been a sore point for Land Rover owners – thankfully, the brand has made significant progress of late scoring well in the latest JD Power Customer Satisfaction Index survey.


Toyota Fortuner

Toyota Fortuner has been South Africa’s best-selling SUV for several years. Known for its impeccable off-roading abilities and pragmatic functionality, the face-lifted Fortuner’s all-round appeal continues to reel in new buyers. A newly acquired 2.5-litre D-4D turbodiesel has spiced up the range to go with the thirsty 4.0-litre V6 and frugal 3.0 D-4D turbodiesel.

Pajero sport

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport

A worthy alternative to the ubiquitous Toyota Fortuner, the Pajero Sport fits between the Outlander and regular Pajero in the model line-up. Although it shares a great deal of its structural components with the Triton, it’s by far the better looking of the two offering a plush interior peppered with an extensive list of standard equipment. It’s pretty capable off road, too.

FJ Cruiser

Toyota FJ Cruiser

The FJ Cruiser has made it trendy to drive a Toyota again. Inspired by the FJ140 Series from the ‘60s, the FJ Cruiser blends a retro exterior with a modern and utilitarian cabin. The 4.0-litre V6 mill – good for 200kW and 380Nm – is quite willing, but is let down by horrendous fuel consumption. Toyota needs to ditch the archaic lever-operated transfer case for an on-the-fly change over system.


Welcome to my corner of the automotive world! I'm Mandy Lawson, better known as mandla85, and I'm absolutely obsessed with everything related to cars and motorsports. You bet I'm interested if it has four wheels (or sometimes two!) and an engine. For me, cars aren't just a means of transportation; they're a passion, a lifestyle, and an endless source of fascination. I love diving into the world of automotive engineering and design, exploring the latest trends, and uncovering the stories behind the machines. Email / Facebook