Paul, my name is Moses and I follow your column. I want to import a used car from Japan and I would like some advice. I am looking at a Toyota Harrier 2360cc and Toyota RAV4 1998cc. Which one would be economical in terms of fuel and maintenance?
Hello Moses, the running and maintenance costs for the two alternative Toyota vehicles Harrier 2.4 litre and RAV4 2.0 litre will generally be determined by the engine and body size. The smaller Toyota RAV4 body with the 2.0 litre engine should be cheaper to maintain and give you better fuel economy, especially if it comes with the 2AZ D4 engine.
Bigger vehicle bodies put more load and fuel energy demand on the engines.
The bigger engines will require more fluids and their service parts attract a higher price. Occasionally you will find a big vehicle with a small engine giving poor fuel economy because of a mismatch between the load and engine effort. This tends to run the engine at fuel costly high rev curves. There are other factors that come into play when determining car running and maintenance costs.
Efficient fuel delivery technology can also be a deciding factor. Cars with fuel stratified injection technology and variable valve timing (VVTi) such as Toyota’s D4 (Direct 4) fuel delivery use precision to enhance fuel economy.
This technology requires dedicated use of clean fuel and reputable multigrade lubricants. Differentiated fuels and lubricants designed and blended with detergency (cleaning additives) and friction modifiers will improve engine fuel economy by preventing accumulation of fuel wasteful deposits and helping the engine to run lighter.
The car design also plays a role in determining fuel economy. A more aerodynamic vehicle provides better fuel economy due to less coefficient of drag (air resistance). Driving style during acceleration and braking (aggressive Vs gentle) will affect fuel economy regardless of vehicle or engine size.