Because it’s low, I only drive it in the city

Thursday January 21 2021
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By Roland D. Nasasira

The Toyota Mark X is one of the comfortable sport cars that maintains stability on the road when driving at high speed. Because the Mark X is dependable and reasonable to maintain, it has steadily gained reputation among high-income earners in Uganda.

Jimmy Lwanga

I drive a 2007 model Mark X and one of the features I like about it is its four wheel drive system (4WD) that can be engaged or disengaged. While driving on slippery murram roads, I engage the system and the car will move swiftly without skidding. The only disadvantage with it is that it tends to consume more fuel.  

The rate at which the Mark X picks up speed is not much different from a Mercedes Benz C200 that I owned previously. It immediately responds to the accelerator when you need more speed. 

One of the downsides of the Mark X is that identifying or detecting some of its mechanical problems requires computer diagnosis. When the mechanic eventually identifies the problem, it may not be costly to repair but it is always complex and challenges a number of mechanics to fix. This means that not every mechanic will fix any problem should the car breakdown unexpectedly. 

Its spare parts are readily available at different dealer shops. The only serious challenge would be when the computer system has crashed and requires an overhaul.

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Its service and maintenance is determined by how often you drive it. Because it is an electric car, you do not have to reach the recommended mileage to visit the garage. Some components such as the fuse might wear out fast and need immediate replacement. Averagely, you will spend approximately Shs150,000 to Shs200,000 for minor service. I live in Kisaasi and I spend approximately Shs200,000 for 10 days before refuelling again.    

Canary Mugume

The 2006 Toyota Mark X model I drove had a manageable fuel consumption rate despite the fact that it used a 2,500cc petrol engine. On the highway, it would give me approximately 10 kilometres using one litre of fuel and approximately six to seven kilometres in the city centre because of slow moving traffic.

Its service was dependent on the mechanical error it had. This is because it was purely electric, yet electric problems are diagnosed using a diagnosis machine. For instance, when one of the fuses got a problem, the mechanic had to remove all the others to check the problem. They were interconnected with very small and thin wires and when one of the wires got worn out, I would not only have to replace all the fuses but the car would also not start. It was a whole tedious process of finding the faulty fuse and replacing all the others. On average, I would need to have between Shs100,000 to Shs300,000 to carry out crucial service, including replacement of car fluids. 

The Toyota Mark X commanded a high level of stability and it would not skid off the road. At high speed, the rear tyres tend to protrude the car body and bend inwards. This allows the car to go fast while remaining stable at the same time.

The other downside of driving 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 because of its somewhat big engine size of 2500cc. When your fuel gauge crosses or flashes into the red (empty) line on your dashboard, you will drive between 10 to 15 more kilometres before the car eventually comes to a complete stop.

Livingstone Byansi

One of the things I like about the Toyota Mark X is its ability to pick up speed on a tarmacked road. It is one of the fastest Toyota saloons I have driven. On a highway, it will consume less and yet give you longer mileage of approximately 11km on one litre. It is in traffic congested areas where you will hate its consumption because it will then give you a low mileage and yet consume more.

One of the things I do not like about it is its low ground clearance. I lifted its ground clearance using spacers but there was no big difference. I visited the garage more often to repair the front and rear bumpers because it rubbed against rough road surfaces, besides damaging underneath car parts such as the oil sump. My particular model did not have reverse parking sensors or rear camera and this meant that I could at times knock pavements from the rear if not careful. 

Because it is a low car, I only drive it within Kampala and choose another option when driving upcountry. It is one of the cars whose speeds can reduce without lifting off the accelerator by shifting the gear lever to the speed reduction position.

When servicing, I spend approximately Shs300,000. This will cater for brake pads replacement, engine oil, and transmission fluid and engine coolant, among other few fluids.

I live in Kungu (a distance of about 24kms from the city centre) and when I drive the Mark X, I spend approximately Shs200,000 on fuel in a week to and from town for work. When there is traffic jam, it shoots up to Shs250,000.

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