I drive a non-turbo all-wheel drive (AWD) five seater Subaru Impreza. It is almost two years since I acquired it. It runs on a 1800cc engine. I like its shape, consumption, performance, spare parts availability and affordability on top of its dark blue colour.
I carry out service after covering 5000km. I am handy, so sometimes I fix problems that are not that complicated. I only drive to the garage when the mechanical problem is too complex to manage myself.
Recently, my temperature gauge appeared on the dashboard and when I opened the bonnet, the radiator had heated up. I took it to the mechanic and the radiator was washed.
Another time, the same problem occurred, I opened the bonnet and I noticed there was water spillage. I drove to the mechanic who removed the cylinder top and found out that one of the rubbers was torn. It was replaced and I got back on the road. At times it is all about you understanding your vehicle.
I spend approximately Shs100,000 on minor service and maintenance. I just change engine oil and oil filter. With coolant, I will either top up with water or coolant.
I once filled the tank with Shs180,000 and drove to Mbarara. When I reached Masaka on the return journey, I refueled with Shs50,000 which brought me up to Kampala. When I am doing Kampala rounds, I spend approximately Shs100,000 on fuel in a week from Kyanja.
I bought the Impreza because of its affordable fuel consumption. It runs on a 1500cc engine. It is a sporty car. When you need speed on the road especially when you are overtaking, you will need it.
It is my first car and I wanted something that I could afford to maintain and keep on the road. It comes with bucket seats that offer ample driving comfort.
In the three months I have owned the car, I have been to the garage three times. I spent Shs160,000 the first time I went to the garage. The other time I spent Shs120,000 and when I was replacing its tyres, I spent approximately Shs400,000.
Because it was not a new car, I had to replace fuel and oil filters, air cleaner, and other parts because I didn’t know its service history.
How much I spend on fuel in a week depends on where I go. There are weeks where I am not very mobile and I just park it at office. But on average, I spend approximately Shs100,000 in a week from home in Kisaasi to the city centre for work. When I have to make lots of movements, I spend between Shs200,000 to Shs230,000 in a week.
I have driven a couple of fast cars but none beats the Subaru Impreza. On a highway, it picks up speed from the onset of stepping on the accelerator pedal. It picks up speed from zero to 100km/hour in less than 50 seconds. It gives you the feeling of being in a rally car yet it is just like any other normal car. The only difference is that it is a high performance car built with a sporty engine.
My particular 2002 model runs on a 2000cc engine. When I had just imported it, I had to replace a number of key parts such as the rims and tyres and overhauling the engine and gearbox. I did not trust its source and wanted to feel secure on the road. This cost me approximately Shs2.5m, including labour costs.
I have seen Subaru drivers being called all sorts of names but it is not because they want to be fast. The fact that these cars are fitted with low consumption powerful engines makes it want to go fast even with the lightest of steps on the accelerator. It took me time to get used driving at a slow speed where speeding is prohibited.
The downside of the Subaru Impreza is that it has a low ground clearance. If you have to drive through a murram road, you will have to drive cautiously to avoid damaging the oil sump that is located below the engine. It is a fragile part that when damaged, you have to move the car using a car carrier. Other parts such as the engine which when fed with wrong oil will knock or change performance of the car, are also fragile but the oil sump calls for more careful driving. It will dictate how you drive over potholes.
On average, I spend approximately Shs250,000 on fuel in a week if I drive it daily. When I drive it once a week when I am away from town, I spend Shs30,000 on fuel.
Its service and maintenance is equally pocket friendly.
I have never paid over Shs300,000 on service any time I have visited the garage in the three years I have owned this car. This will replace engine oil, spark plugs, brake pads (when there is a need), air cleaner, fuel filters and a few other key parts.