As one of the first Sino-based manufacturer to set foot in the Philippine market, FOTON, initially as a truck distributor, expanded to pick-ups, vans and now, SUVs. FOTON boasts its reputation of reliability and toughness, traits that may be a little overkill for passenger vehicles, but nevertheless, happily welcomed. The Foton Toplander EX SUV has that background.

The Toplander EX 4×2 is Foton’s answer to the SUV wars. It maybe a johnny-come-lately, but has a lot to offer to the Japanese-dominated market.


Foton’s direction on the engine is a logical one. Instead of engineering their own diesel engines, they licensed the technology and design of the famed american brand Cummins. For decades, Cummins have been powering 18-wheeler rigs and heavy equipment in the USA, and established their powerful and bulletproof engines in the transport industry. It brings that reliability to Foton.

The Cummins-minded Foton 2.8litre engine

A Cummins Diesel 2.8 litre 16 Valve, Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine propels the Toplander to respectable performance. Mated to either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, it can accelerate and maintain highway speeds with ease. 100kph with a full load of passengers is a cinch.

Power:Max. Power (ps/rpm) 163ps / 3,600rpm

Torque:Max. Torque 266 lb-ft (360 Nm) / 3,000rpm


The Foton’s interior is more basic than its counterparts. The black upholstery has 2 different patterns to add aesthetics, the cushion is on the firm side but the seats are wider.  A definite plus is the driver armrest, its wide enough for both the driver and front passenger to lean into. Controls are easy to reach, with the traction control and driver mode buttons around the shifter. Few cupholders, though.

The Dual AC system is very cold, especially at the front. The only downside to the AC system is the vents – or the lack of it. The second row passengers have no dedicated AC vents. They have to rely on the dashboard vents or the single vent at the third row. On a hot day, it could get toasty.

Entertainment is a 7″ – 2-DIN Touch Screen LED, AM/FM Radio, with Aux-in, Bluetooth, iPod, SD Card Slot, and USB ports.

The only AC vent at the back. No vent for the middle row.


The basic design of the Toplander is comparable to the competition. Bulging flares combined with swooping lines turn the wide profile to an attractive yet powerful image. The hood is bulging, giving more powerful impression. The trademark gaping chrome grille is set with big LED headlamps. The Toplander also has DRLs and foglights combined into one assembly at the lower valance panel.

It also has the now-standard 18in rim/tire combination. This massive mix also covers the big disc brakes fore and aft.  With a tall ride height, it also sports a nifty stepboard to make ingress and egress easier.


•          Driver and Front Passenger Airbags

•          Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) (with Electronic Brake-Force Distribution)

•          Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA)

•          Hill Start Assist (HSA)

•          Reverse Camera

•          Cruise Control

•          Hill-Start Assist:

•          Hill Descent Control

•          Stability Control       

•          Brake Assist

•          Traction Control

•          Electronic Door Locks

•          Seatbelts (Front) 3 Pt. ELR (Driver & Passenger)

•          Seatbelts (Rear) 3 pt. ELR (x 3)

•          Child Seat Anchor (ISOFIX)

•          Auto Brake Hold (ABH)

PRICE AS TESTED: Php 1,488,000

The Foton Toplander 4×2 is quite a steal at its price. It has nearly all the options the competition offers, but at less the price. It may have its shortcomings, but basically it has all you need. This is where the Toplander tops the other SUVs.

For more information, visit

Head Office

Lot Beside Bldg. 1055, Argonaut Highway, Subic Bay,Freeport Zone

Manila Office

728 A. Bonifacio Ave. Balintawak, Quezon City

Tel Nos.: 442-4076 to 78 Fax Nos.: 367-1862 Hotline: (02) 459-2121/(63) 999-999-9998

Email Address:  [email protected]

Text/images by Earl Manalansan


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