The Toyota Harrier is a car for all seasons

Wednesday August 12 2020
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The Toyota Harrier is one of the mid-size Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) that has been around for a while. One of the features that make it a darling to different motorists is its raised ground clearance dating back to 1997 when its production started. A few motorists share their thoughts about the car with Roland D. Nasasira.

Allan Sayiire
I have had the Toyota Harrier for three years. I bought it at Shs29m from a local bond and I was attracted to the car because with its raised ground clearance, it can be driven on any road terrain. Regardless of whether it is a muddy road, it will always move. If you are a family person who likes travelling in a sport utility vehicle, the Harrier is the car of choice.

I set my service and maintenance schedule after covering 5,000km but it also depends on how frequently I drive the car. For instance, an engine service where I replace the oil filters and engine oil costs me Shs95,000. I get my spare parts from Kisekka Market and they are readily available and affordable compared to the value of the car.

The most expensive part I have replaced is the side mirror. It was stolen when I parked on the street. It cost me Shs50,000. I have not replaced any other part because the car has never broken down. The times I have had to was when a particular spare part has worn out and is due for periodic replacement. I have replaced brake pads that cost me Shs130,000 and they have served me for two years. Before the Harrier, I drove a Toyota Noah Field Tourer 1999 model, a Toyota Corona and a Toyota Corsa but I find the former better.

In terms of fuel consumption, I spenda weekly total of Shs130,000 from Kitende to town for work. The model (2000) I have was designed to be sporty and everything else on it such as the shock absorbers are also sporty. Surprisingly, it is a 2200cc engine size compared to the most popular ones that have 2400cc engines. It has been hard for people to believe that it has a low engine size until they look at the engine size.

There are better versions and types than my 2000 Harrier model but if there was an option of trading it in for any other car in the same class that is within the same price range, I would not because it is not only pocket-friendly to maintain it is also comfortable. For a medium income earner who wants to drive a raised car, the Harrier is the ideal choice. It is a car of all seasons.

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Dorah Kankunda
I have owned the Harrier for five years. I like its comfort and its fuel consumption is pocket friendly because it has a 2200cc engine. It is a four wheel drive (4WD) and I can comfortably travel upcountry without worry of getting stuck on the road.

Its spare parts are readily available on the market. The fact that it is a hard and durable car means I do not have to frequent the garage for service. I have not had to replace any major spare parts in the five years except the side mirrors. They are mostly targeted by thieves if you park it in an area that is not secure enough.

Eventually, the side mirror thieves target the side mirror glass and at times the entire side mirror and its shell. It depends on the thief’s convenience. I have had to replace them many times and replacing a stolen side mirror glass costs approximately Shs80,000 depending on where you buy it.

The service I do depends on how I have driven the car and what needs to be replaced. This also determines how much I spend. On average, I service once in three months and it costs approximately Shs200,000. It depends on the condition of the brake pads, engine oil levels and other crucial parts.

I am not an avid car fanatic and I am comfortable with the Harrier. If I had the capacity to change to another car, it would be a Mercedes Benz ML. I refuel with a full tank of 60 litres and it costs me approximately Shs240,000.

Wilber Nabimanya
A Toyota Harrier is one of the raised stable cars you will drive above the 100km speed mark and it will not shake or vibrate regardless of whether it is loaded or not. It maintains a high level of stability even at high speeds.

It can comfortably carry a family of seven people because it has extra foldable seats at the back for two more passengers. It is quite spacious such that when you have more luggage to carry, you adjust the middle seats to create more space.

I have had it for the last four years with its UAT number plate series and while it may be viewed as an old car, but surprisingly, everything on the car is still functional. If you own a Toyota Harrier and you want it to serve you longer, the secret is in monthly or periodic service or as advised on the service manual.
Personally, before I drive off every morning or leaving work, I start the engine and let it run for about 10 minutes to allow engine oil circulate throughout engine parts. This is on top of having its engine compartment washed once every two months.

The parts I service or replace vary because not every garage I visit means I have to replace most key parts. I replace things such as engine oil, transmission fluid and other parts that add up to Shs150,000. You have to have a specific garage at which you service from. This is because many mechanics make wrong diagnoses and you will believe them. You will think you are saving by not repairing certain parts yet you are creating more damage.

With fuel, it is a bit challenging because it consumes more especially in traffic congested areas such as Kampala. It has a 60 litre fuel tank and when I drive upcountry to Rukungiri, the same fuel will bring me back up to Mbarara from where I will top up. Budgeting for fuel is tricky because fuel prices differ according to where you refuel.

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