Rugiirwa Katatumba is a proud owner of a Mercedes Benz S350 of 2012. Rugiirwa’s love for Mercedes is immeasurable because he also owns an ML Benz. We meet at the Mercedes Benz owners club Uganda meet and greet at Panamera bar in Kampala. He also doubles as the chairman of the club.
Rugiirwa says he fell in love with Mercedes Benz cars because it is the only car his father, the Late Bonny Katatumba, ever drove. He says his father gave him an SLE280 in the 90s and since then, he has never looked at any other car brands.
This is one of the biggest attributes of a Mercedes Benz and like all S-Classes, Rugiirwa says his Mercedes Benz S350 is basically a ‘living room’ on wheels. He says it has massaging front seats, each of which comes with multiple massage styles.
He adds that the head rest video monitors are an option, as are electrically reclining rear seats and with a split-view front screen, the driver can view the navigation system while the front-seat passenger watches a DVD since the car has a radar cruise control and a host of other high-tech options. In typical Mercedes-Benz fashion, all of them work exceedingly well and do exactly what they are designed to do.
Rugiirwa says the seven-speed automatic goes about its business smoothly. It makes less or no noise especially his that has a petrol engine.
“It has got good highway stability and long-distance comfort and if there is a greater highway joy than cranking out thousands of miles behind the wheel of a Mercedes, then I do not want to know about it,” he says.
He adds that as a driver, you are given just enough information, enough steering feel, wind noise, and body roll to stay awake, informed, and interested.
He says most of his passengers tend to fall asleep a lot, which is the nicest compliment anyone can give a big Sedan, no matter the price.
Fuel and service
Rugiirwa says it is a misconception that Mercedes Benz cars are fuel guzzlers. He adds that his car is fuel efficient since he can drive to Kabale and back to Kampala on a full tank of approximately 80 litres of fuel.
In regards to servicing Mercedes Benz cars unlike other brands, Rugiirwa says his car needs only Shs1.5m a year for servicing and he only services it after 10,000kms.
“I feel this is affordable and I only service the car at Spear Motors in Nakawa, Kampala,” he says.
Rugiirwa says the Mercedes S350 is expensive when it comes to spare parts because in case you need genuine spare parts you have to go to Spear Motors or to import them. He also says that its resale value is very low. For example, he bought his car at Shs130m but has realised that if he wants to sell it now, he would not even get anything above Shs100m. He adds that the S320 only consumes standard fuel and if you end up putting adulterated fuel, the car’s performance will slow down or even stop working altogether.
According to wikipedia.org, Mercedes-Benz has traditionally introduced its safety innovations in the S-Class. For instance, the S-Class was the first car in Europe to incorporate airbags and three point seatbelts. S-Class safety features included innovations in active safety (accident avoidance), passive safety (collision protection), and holistic safety (integration of both active and passive safety features). Active safety features include: ABS braking in 1978 (acts to reduce braking distances and improve stopping control; co-developed with Bosch); traction control and Electronic Stability Program (ESP) in 1995 (improves driver control during difficult road conditions); and Brake Assist (provides full braking power during emergency stops). In 2005, a new infrared night vision feature was introduced (improves visibility during nighttime conditions).