Of the five saloon categories, Canary Mugume zeroed down on the Toyota Mark X as his saloon car of choice. He describes it (Toyota Mark X) as one of the most comfortable sport cars in terms of firmness, comfort and stability on the road when driving at a fast speed. However, to realise this, you have to keep it in the best roadworthy condition.
Having bought it at Shs22m in October 2018, Mugume says his 2006 Toyota Mark X model has a manageable fuel consumption rate despite the fact that it runs on a 2500cc petrol engine.
It is a five-seater saloon car with a maximum speed of 180km/hour. Its trunk/boot has capacity of carrying three average sized banana bunches or six 50kilogram bags of cement. It is also manufactured with a digital speedometer.
Its dashboard is leather coated to prevent it from hot or harsh weather change effects such as splits caused by the hot sun.
On a highway, Mugume says it covers approximately 10 kilometers using one litre of fuel and six to seven kilometers in the city centre because of slow moving traffic.
Cost of servicing
Everytime he services the car, Mugume has to replace and top up car oils and lubricants such as hydraulic oil, engine oil and car coolant.
“The car is purely electric. When one of the fuses gets a problem, I have to remove all the other fuses to check the problem. They are all connected with very small and thin wires. When one of the wires gets old, I will not only have to replace all the fuses but the car will also not start. It is a whole tedious process of finding the defunct fuse to replacing all the others,” Mugume explains.
“When the mechanic uses a diagnosis machine, it at times indicates or shows a problem that might be difficult to understand. Upon fixing, it becomes expensive. If it is a spare part that needs to be replaced, I call my mechanic at Kisekka Market. The challenge comes when the fault is electric. It becomes hard and takes time to fix,” he adds.
At one point, he had to replace a starter at Shs350,000 and the front logo at Shs500,000.
Stability and performance
In terms of negotiating corners, the Toyota Mark X commands a high level of stability that it will not skid of the road into a swamp easily. On a high speed, just like the Toyota Mark II, the rear tyres of the Mark X tend to come out of the car body and bend inwards as the tyre base or tread area builds and maintains firmness on the road surface to stay on course.
According to Mugume, the weight of the car on the road also contributes to its stability. You can feel it (weight) when steering.
“It has an advantage of reducing speed without stepping on the accelerator to avoid instant braking. The gear lever has a provision where you can move it to the speed minus (speed reduction) slot. It picks up speed from zero to 100km/hour in a space of 20 seconds from the onset of stepping on the accelerator,” Mugume says.
Downside of owning a Mark X
According to Mugume, the downside of owning a Toyota Mark X is that you have to have cash on you all the time. Should you run out of fuel, you cannot drive it on an-almost-empty tank. It is a high risk car because of its big engine size.
When your fuel gauge crosses or flashes into the red (empty) line on your dashboard, you will drive between 10 to 15 more kilometers before the car eventually comes to a complete stop.
The Toyota Mark X also has a low ground clearance. This makes Mugume a regular garage visitor to repair the front bumper because parking lot pavements and rough roads do not spare it (bumper).
It hits and rubs against road surfaces when driving over potholes much as it commands a higher ground clearance compared to a Toyota Sienta. It is also not fitted with a rear or reverse camera that alerts you on the rear objects when parking in reverse mode.
If you are a motorist who does not wear a safety belt, you will not drive a Mark X. This is because it will make an irritating and loud alarm when the driver or co-driver do not wear their safety seatbelts.
The same alarm will be turned on if you forget to disengage or remove the handbrake before setting off. It will move with the handbrake still engaged but it will also warn you with an alarm. It also comes fitted with the front airbags, but unfortunately none for the passengers in the back seats.
According to Saeed Bilal, the Sales Manager at Yuasa Investments Limited at Nakawa, the 2003 Toyota Mark X model, which has similar features and specifications as Mugume’s, costs Shs23m, while the newer 2010 model that has somewhat sharp edges at the front and rear sides costs Shs48m.