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ASK THE MECHANIC: Which vehicle should I buy?

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By Paul Kaganzi

Posted  Thursday, August 28  2014 at  01:00
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Qn. My name is Willy Ocen I am inquiring about the following: 1. Which of these vehicles would you advise me to buy?
a) Toyota Kluger V
b) Mazda Tribute
c) Ford Escape
d) Nissan Terrano -Urban
e) Volkswagen Touareg


2. Of the above, which one is the best diesel or petrol engine and which one has the highest fuel consumption rate?

You did not mention your preferred model year or specific driving needs i.e. comfort vs performance or fuel economy. Let me assume you are looking at 2002-2004. Toyota Kluger V, Mazda Tribute, Ford Escape, Nissan Terrano and Volkswagen Touareg are all reputable five seater sports utility vehicles (SUV) with good all round performance (engine performance, handling, comfort, safety and reliability).

Mazda Tribute and Ford Escape (cost Shs33m each) are fairly recent entrants on the Ugandan used car market with a 2.0 litre Ford petrol engine which delivers 127 HP and 12.6 kilometres per litre(highway fuel economy). Tribute and Escape give the Toyota Kluger’s (Shs35m) bigger 2.4litre petrol 160 HP and 3.0 litre petrol 220 HP a good challenge with better fuel economy (Kluger 10 and 9 km/l).

This makes the Tribute and Escape appealing to the budget conscious frequent traveller. On the Ugandan highway the Kluger’s 2.4 and 3.0 litre engines carry the weight of the SUV better when you need to accelerate while Tribute and Escape’s smaller 2.0 litre engine will be a little sluggish in response to your kick down. On off road terrain the trio (Tribute, Escape and Kluger) are comfortable, robust and offer reasonably good road holding.

Kluger’s maintenance and repair parts are easier to find but Tribute’s spare parts situation is slowly improving and you can order parts off the internet. In the diesel segment Nissan Terrano and VW Touareg’s 3.0 litre turbo diesel engines are both economical (highway:13.5 km/l).

However, Touareg’s engine output is higher than Terrano’s (233HP vs 152HP) thanks to the V6 power plant with common rail high pressure fuel delivery which gives it a faster, smoother and quieter response on all terrain and gradient. The Touareg’s high speed ride handling and safety features are unmatched by all the four alternatives.

Electronic stability and braking systems (ESP, ABS, EBD) work passively and in tandem with the articulate suspension to deliver a stellar driving performance in all extreme on road driving conditions. Terrano will beat all of them in the bush or extreme off-road conditions because of its more robust suspension and ground clearance. The Touareg comes at a higher purchase price (Shs80m) and a steeper maintenance price, but what you pay for is what you get.

I drive a Toyota Corona manufactured in 1995. Of recent, it is giving me concerns because a sign of low engine oil appears on the dashboard, yet I serviced it late last month.

I just drive from home to work and back. Also after driving for some kilometres, say when on a slope, the sign appears and when reversing the engine sometimes goes off, it vibrates in idling mode too. Now, what could be the problem?
Fred in Kireka

Intermittent flickering or permanent display of the engine oil warning light may happen when your engine oil pressure is low.
You should have your engine inspected by a technician to confirm that the oil level on your dipstick is at the upper mark (full) when parked on a flat surface. Also inspect the engine to confirm that it has no engine oil leaks. It may be necessary to confirm that the oil pick up tube in the engine crankcase below is not clogged with oil sludge, as this can affect engine oil pressure. Also, confirm the working condition of the electrical oil pressure switch because a faulty one will give a wrong reading and may trigger a false alarm.

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