I have had my 1998 model RAV4 for the last five years. It is durable, has a strong body and it is one of the toughest Japanese cars I have driven.
It is a car I can comfortably drive even in less than ideal road conditions and not worry about sustaining any scratches. I remember the day I was hit by a cyclist as we negotiated a corner in traffic jam and when I got out to check the extent of the damage, it was minimal. It is then that I confirmed that the RAV4 was built with a strong body.
In terms of performance on the road, it runs on a 2000cc engine and has a full tank fuel capacity of 58 litres. On the highway, it will give you between 11 to 13 kilometres using one litre of fuel and approximately eight to nine kilometres in built up areas with slow moving traffic. I have also realised that with its favourable ground clearance, I do not worry about driving through rough roads, ditches or deep potholes. It is a fulltime four wheel drive (4WD) car capable of manoeuvrability in the most slippery of roads if it is well maintained.
My particular version is manual much as there are those that come with automatic transmissions. I prefer the manual version because you do what you want with its gears at any time provided you know how to engage the gears well.
When it comes to service and maintenance, its spare parts are readily available at most spare parts dealers and it is a car that a mechanic who has worked on other Toyota brands can fix easily. On average, I spend between Shs150,000 to shs250,000 on its service once every four months.
The RAV4 is a mini Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) that any female motorist who likes cruising in a raised car can go for. It is a car you can comfortably park in small spaces, unlike cars such as the Toyota Mark II that are long and need more space. When parking on the street, I can fit the car in the available space without much struggle.
I also like the fact that it comes with a number of storage spaces on the dashboard and the doors. So, if you are the kind who carries work documents home, it comes in handy. It is also suitable for an average size family since it can comfortably sit five or six people.
Another thing I love about the RAV4 is that it has a spacious boot. It has strong shock absorbers and when I travel upcountry I load it with as much foodstuff as I want and I will reach Kampala safely, much as it will slightly increase the fuel consumption by a small percentage. It is a small car and when I have time, I wash it myself at home within one and a half hours.
I do not know much about mechanics but what I know is that I spend approximately Shs200,000 on service in three to four months if I have not gone upcountry. My mechanic picks it either from home or work and services it and delivers an invoice.
Its fuel consumption is also friendly because from my home in Najjeera to Kampala City Centre, I spend approximately Shs150,000 on fuel in 10-14 days to and from work.
A RAV4 is one of the hardiest and most durable cars I have had a chance to own. Even when it is hit by a stray object, I do not worry about damaging the body, except if it has been directed at the window or windscreens.
I drive it almost daily without worrying about its fuel consumption, which can be compared to that of a Toyota Premio because they both run on 2000cc engine sizes.
Service and maintenance is dependent on what needs to be done. If it is minor service such as replacing engine oil, spark plugs, air cleaners, oil filters and brake pads, I spend approximately Shs250,000.
However, if I also have to replace the tyres, which I have done once in the two years I have had the car, it goes up to approximately Shs1m because tyres are costly. One piece usually costs Shs200,000 depending on the type and where I buy them from.
It is an affordable car in terms of maintenance because it rarely breaks down. The most expensive service I have done was to replace the tyres which cost me Shs800,000.
Since I bought it from someone, I also had to part with Shs300,000 to have the engine and gearbox washed to remove oil and grease, a service that had been ignored for a while.
Service. According to Peter Muwonge, Service and maintenance of the Toyota RAV4 is dependent on what needs to be done. He adds that if it is minor service such as replacing engine oil, spark plugs, air cleaners, oil filters and brake pads,he spends approximately Shs250,000. However, if he also has to replace the tyres, which he has done once in the two years he has had the car, it goes up to approximately Shs1m because tyres are costly.