BE honest with yourself. Would you rather buy a leather jacket from specialist maker who deals in skins and hides or from a chain store where ‘pleather‘ is a byword?
OK, the answer's simple. The same logic applies to purchasing an SUV. These days just about every car maker is churning them out, whether it's engrained in their heritage or not.
If you want a reasonably priced, tough family workhorse you can do a lot worse than checking out a manufacturer steeped in producing sound mud-lugging offroaders.
Mitsubishi is such a marque. It earned a strong reputation across the equine community with its Shogun and has passed on much of its knowhow and experience to cheaper models in the range.
And you don't have to shell out for the most expensive versions to reap the benefit. I've been driving the ASX, a smart compact SUV which fits somewhere between Suzuki Vitara and Nissan Qashqai in terms of size and price.
Frequently overshadowed by rivals with greater advertising budgets and higher profiles, one of the best buys in the range is the relatively basic 3 version with two wheel drive and a 1.6-litre diesel engine, priced at just over £20,000.
Just one level above the entry model, the 3 is pretty well equipped, including it its package rear view camera, six-inch touch screen, DAB radio, all round electric windows, air con and heated front seats. Go up another rung on the ladder and you get sat-nav too.
The cabin is tough and smart with few luxury frills or flashy extravagances. A hooded binnacle in front of the driver houses the main dials, while the touchscreen is situated beneath the air vents in the middle of the facia. There's ample elbow room in the front between driver and passenger and the upright stance allows decent legroom in the rear.
The boot is well-shaped and on a par with rivals in terms of capacity. Heavy items must be lifted over a shallow lip. There's space beneath the floor for a few small valuable to be kept out of sight. Rear seats split 60-40 for various load permutations.
More modern SUVs tend to be quieter and more refined mechanically than the ASX, which has now been around for seven years. The four-pot diesel is a tad clattery on start up but smoothes out later.
What can't be ignored is its eagerness and useful torque which makes easy work of overtaking or gaining speed on joining motorways.
Cornering, while not of the sporting variety, is fairly flat and reassuringly secure. The front wheels can be made to slide wide on greasy surfaces but this is a normal front-drive trait.
The six-speed manual gearbox is precise and light enough in use and the steering is more direct than that of many SUVs.