What you need to know:
Physically, the Toyota Hilux Surf is more of a double cabin pick-up with a covered trailer. For these motorists, it is a powerful vehicle that has the capacity to take you through any road terrain with ease, writes Roland D. Nasasira
I have had my Toyota Hilux Surf for three years and I love it because it combines elements of a pick-up and sport utility vehicle (SUV). It is also an all-season car. For instance, when I am travelling upcountry for a weekend getaway with my family, it has plenty of interior space to accommodate as many as six passengers and luggage.
The other feature I like is the fact that it is a 4WD vehicle with enough ground clearance, which makes it drivable in any terrain. There are also Hilux Surf versions that are two-wheel drive but not as powerful and with reliable manoeuvrability as the 4WD version. The latter manoeuvres through the roughest of roads compared to the two-wheeler. The 4WD system makes the Hilux Surf a multi-purpose reliable car.
I service my car after covering 5000 kilometres and I spend Shs300,000 per garage visit. I replace parts such as brake pads, oil filter, air cleaner and fuel filter and few other parts.
Most cars with the shape of the Hilux Surf come with manual transmissions but my 2005 model runs on an automatic transmission. Like most raised cars in SUV format, the Surf equally has enough legroom for the driver and co-driver.
With its engine size of 2700cc, the Hilux Surf gives me approximately six to 10 kilometres per litre of fuel but this is dependent on the intensity of traffic jam. When there is slow moving traffic, the consumption will be higher. Its consumption and performance varies slightly on the highway where it gives me 12 kilometres per litre of fuel. It can at times cover more mileage because the engine then runs faster and minimises fuel consumption.
The fact that it is a 4WD means it adjusts to the driving condition, especially when driving on a marrum road. It is more enjoyable when driving on a marrum road where you feel the engine power and performance compared to a tarmacked road. All you do is step on the accelerator lightly and the tyres, which must have treads at all time, will have enough torque to keep you on the road however slippery it may be.
I like the Hilux Surf because it is a car you can choose to customise as you wish. For instance, I changed my car’s initial tyres and gave it bigger profile tyres for driving comfort. I also gave it new silver sport rims to blend well with the silver colour of the car body. I also wanted to change the suspension system to raise it but it already had a good enough ground clearance, especially since I mainly use it as a safari car.
The other important feature is that it shares spare parts with the Toyota Hilux and many other Toyota brands and these parts are readily available. For instance, I recently replaced its front suspension and it cost me Shs850,000. The second most expensive part I ever bought were the tyres that cost Shs600,000 each.
On average, I spend Shs400,000 to carry out minor service to replace engine oil, oil and fuel filter, air cleaner, topping up engine coolant, automatic transmission fluid (ATF), and a few other parts. I replace spark plugs upon recommendation by the mechanic because they do not wear out as often as the brake pads do.