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RAV4, Vitara, ASX top sellers

Published:Saturday | April 18, 2015 | 11:02 PMChad Bryan

Three midsize SUVs have established themselves as top Jamaican customer choices in the range of midsize SUVs

"The RAV4, the Suzuki Grand Vitara and the Mitsubishi ASX are the top-selling midsize SUVs. Some of these are all-wheel drive and, in most cases, are two-wheel drive," said ADA chairman, Kent LaCroix.

LaCroix also said that purchasing the vehicle in a two-wheel drive format is more economical. "These are lighter than the equivalent four-wheel drive. You do not have the drive shaft, which creates a bit more weight. This provides a better fuel economy," he stated.

Presenting a stylish, roomy and comfortable interior, the driver is able to get 28-34 miles per gallon out of a late-model midsize SUV. However, president of the Jamaica Gasolene Retailer's Association (JGRA), Leonard Green, would not tout that as an achievement.

"It's above average. There are vehicles such as the pickups where you can get 40 miles per gallon," Green said.

More sophisticated

Since its debut, with the RAV4 Toyota has attempted to bridge the gap between traditional off-roaders and regular passenger vehicles. With time and the evolution of technology the vehicle changed, becoming more sophisticated and rivalling even the larger, luxurious SUVs.

Assistant marketing manager at Toyota Jamaica, Tracey-Ann Fletcher, attributes the high demand for the RAV4 to its fuel economy and the state of the island's roads.

"It is a demand for our customers, who are trying to find vehicles that are more affordable now in the economy that we have. As such, they are moving away from larger SUVs to midsize. Based on the terrain we have here and the road conditions, customers want something that can basically manage that," she said.

The 2015 RAV 4, which comes in Barcelona metallic red, classic silver metallic, super white and black, among other colours, has a number of characteristics leading to its strong market position. According to Fletcher, these include price, durability, resale value and brand reputation.