Although buying a car is not entirely a good investment – as cars do not appreciate in value, you will want to own a model with a good reputation, one that will not depreciate very fast, and maybe one that offers you good resale value.
You can easily be carried away by the hype associated with some car models. But remember that the publicity enjoyed by a car does not guarantee its durability and it giving you value for your hard earned money.
AutoTrend Ghana presents to you its professional analysis of some Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) that offered their owners little resale value, and were usually difficult to dispose of.
NB: A vehicle is a machine, hence, not all of these SUV models have the problems being associated with them in this article.
1. Land Rover Freelander
This compact SUV was easily accepted by Ghanaians because it was made by the renowned British automotive manufacturer – Land Rover – and obviously because it was the cheapest SUV in the marque’s line-up.
Most Ghanaians who own a Freelander, more often than not, had acquired it from the second-hand market where these vehicles have been imported usually from North America or Europe. As such, the Freelander was fraught with quite a number of problems including those associated with its gearbox and engine, making it difficult for its owners to sell them off.
The Freelander was produced in both two- and four-wheel drive versions, from 1997 to 2006. It came in both 5-speed manual and 5-speed automatic transmissions, with engine capacities of 1.8-litre, 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre V6.
Many users of the Freelander in Ghana thought it to be a gas-guzzler and so they replaced their upper-end engines, especially the V6 with a 1.8-litre engine of the same car or that of an entirely different make. This only worsened the efficiency and performance of their Freelander and made it even more expensive to maintain.
The Freelander is no longer in production. It was replaced by the Freelander 2 in 2006. Production of the Freelander 2 also ended in 2014 before the ‘Freelander’ nameplate was replaced by the Discovery Sport in 2015.
2. SsangYong Musso
This mid-sized SUV remains quite unknown to most Ghanaians, albeit its prowess. In fact, the Musso could be best described by the tag ‘the SUV that never was’ in Ghana.
Manufactured by the South Korean automaker SsangYong, the Musso was a very durable workhorse which was borne out of a collaboration between SsangYong and Daimler-Benz. Actually, the word ‘musso’ means ‘rhinoceros’ in Korean.
In some European markets, it was either marketed under the ‘Mercedes-Benz Musso’ or ‘Daewoo Musso’ names. This vehicle was produced from 1993 until 2005 when its production ended. It came in 2.3-litre and 3.2-litre petrol and 2.3- and 2.9-litre diesel engines. However, its pickup version is still in production.
Many Ghanaians did not deem the Musso a favourite, not because they had foreknowledge about its performance and durability, but just because they probably had little or no knowledge about this SUV. As a result, it was difficult for it to be accepted and those who had it could not sell them off with ease.
3. Isuzu Rodeo/Opel Frontera
The Rodeo is a five-door Japanese SUV was manufactured by Isuzu Motors from 1988 to 2004 for the North American market. It was sold on the Japanese market as the Isuzu Wizard. The Rodeo’s three-door version was the ‘Amigo’ model which was later renamed the ‘Rodeo Sport’ from 2001.
Throughout Europe, Opel and Vauxhall marketed rebadged versions of the five-door Rodeo as the Opel Frontera and Vauxhall Frontera in the United Kingdom, respectively. The three-door was called Opel Frontera Sport, with it having the Vauxhall Frontera Sport nameplate in UK. Almost all of the Rodeos and Fronteras available in Ghana are used imports.
The Isuzu Rodeo and Opel Frontera were tough and had no particular faults. However, these SUVs were just never accepted by Ghanaians and so they remained unpopular. In fact, mention either names to most automotive enthusiasts and they won’t be able to figure out the vehicle you are referring to.
4. Hyundai Terracan
This mid-size SUV was produced by the South Korean manufacturer Hyundai Motor Company from 2001 to 2007 and it came with a chassis derived from the second generation Mitsubishi Pajero – but the latter could not guarantee the Terracan’s success in foreign markets.
The Terracan is powered by either a 2.9-litre inline-four Hyundai J engine or a 3.5-litre V6 Hyundai Sigma engine and came in 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions. It is agile and looks stylish and tough. However, this SUV develops series of electrical and engine faults as it ages, pushing it into the red for many Ghanaians.
For most who still own one, their Terracan has become expensive to maintain just as it has been difficult for them to dispose of. It probably came as no surprise that the model was discontinued after only six years of production in 2007 and replaced by the Hyundai Veracruz.
However, production of the Terracan ended in 2011 in China, where production had begun in 2004 and sold under the Hawtai marque.
5. Mahindra Bolero
The Mahindra Bolero is produced by Indian automobile manufacturer, Mahindra & Mahindra. The Bolero was accepted in Ghana mainly due to two reasons – first, because it is cheap (less than GH₵80,000 a unit), secondly, because of its presumed durability and finally, because it is a fuel-efficient SUV with engines starting from 1.5-litre to 2.5-litre turbo diesel.
The Bolero, which is distributed by Svani Group in Ghana, is presumed to be durable in Ghana for a number of reasons.
Firstly, they were the next SUVs adopted by the Ghana Police Service after the famous Land Rover Defender faded out. The Ghana Police are noted for pushing cars to their ultimate performance because of the nature of their work hence, their choice of vehicle especially in the pickup truck and SUV category are deemed rugged and tough. But the Boleros are fading out much faster than the Defender did, maybe because they are cut out for the job.
Secondly, the Bolera somehow became popular in the run up to the 2012 and 2016 general elections in Ghana. It was heavily used by the two main political parties – NDC and NPP – even at the primary election level where the Boleros were branded in party colours with faces of aspirants.
Despite this, Ghanaians hardly consider the Bolero as an ideal family SUV. In fact, its sister model, the Scorpio, has more clout than the Bolero in Ghana.
6. Tata Sumo
Another Indian-made SUV, the Sumo was rugged and cheap, in fact slightly cheaper than the Mahindra Bolero, making it a favourite for Ghana’s security services, MMDAs, political parties, schools and some firms.
Launched in 1994 by the Tata Motors, the Sumo enjoyed great success in its early years, selling over 100,000 units in its first three years.
The Sumo came in two versions –a rear-wheel drive and a four-wheel drive with a standard 5-speed manual transmission and powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder Peugeot XD88 diesel engine.
However, the Sumo remained virtually static in design, making it seem frozen in time in the 20th century (although the more stylish ‘Deluxe’ version was introduced). Maintaining the Sumo’s boxy, stale body frame could have been a motivation from Land Rover’s Defender. Interior features remained almost close to basic and this did not sit well with many Ghanaians.
The SUV began losing out on the Ghanaian market to its sister model, the Safari. Production of the Sumo ended this month, September 2019 after a 25-year run.