I fell for the Axio after hitching a ride – Kiconco

What you need to know:

One day as she went about her business in Kampala City centre, a friend offered her a ride in her Toyota Axio. By the time she left the car, Kiconco had made up her mind to get rid of the Vitz she owned then and buy the Axio.

It is now three years since Moreen Kiconco bought her second car, a saloon Toyota Axio, after driving a Toyota Vitz for some time.

Although it would only cost her Shs50,000 to fuel her Vitz that runs on a 1000cc engine per week, she was intrigued when a friend offered her a ride in her Toyota Axio one day. By the time she left the car, she had made up her mind to get rid of the vitz and buy the Axio.

“It (Axio) has a basic and easy to read dashboard. What I liked most about the car was its interior. The seats look ordinary but are stylish and comfortable. I do not need to add an extra cushion to get a comfortable driving posture,” Kiconco says of the five-seater saloon.

Three years later, Kiconco still recommends a first time car owner to go for a Vitz or a car with an engine size not above 1200cc instead of the Axio that runs on a 1500cc engine that seems costly to fuel. A car with a small engine, she advises, gives you knowledge on car handling instead of buying a car that will cost you an arm and a leg to maintain and fuel.

“When you start with a low consumption car, you learn key aspects, especially fuel maintenance and mechanics. The reason why you will hate certain cars is because you bought it because someone else had it without taking time to familiarise yourself with the car. When your finances grow, you can think of upgrading to a car with a bigger engine,” she advises.

Cost

From her home in Kira to her workplace in Kololo, Kampala (a distance of about 16.4kms), Kicooco spends Shs120,000 on fuel every week. Before the increase in the price of fuel from Shs3,500 to Shs5,600, she would spend Shs70,000 in the same period. When she drives upcountry, a journey to Mbarara in western Uganda costs her Shs320,000 worth of fuel.  

Performance

Kiconco has driven her car to Mbarara in western Uganda, Jinja in the East and Masindi in the West, among other distant places. She says the Axio has a small but powerful engine that when you accelerate, it picks speed from zero to the 100km/hour mark in approximately 15 seconds, against a speedometre whose maximum speed is 180km. Even then, it still commands high stability levels at relatively high speeds.

Service and maintenance

Kiconco goes to the garage for service as prescribed on the service manual. However, there are times when it develops unexpected mechanical issues and needs attention immediately. For instance, one day as she drove to Kampala from Mbarara, in Lyantonde, a distance of approximately 200km to Kampala, the engine stopped.

“The car could not start yet I had enough fuel. A number of mechanics failed to identify the problem and I had to call my mechanic who travelled from Kampala. Upon diagnosis, they realised it was a wiring problem. I had to spend a night in Lyantonde. I was charged Shs320,000 and it is the highest amount I have spent n servicing this car,” Kiconco recalls.  

When she goes to the garage for normal service, she spend Shs150,000. With this, she replaces engine oil and coolant and because she refuels from fuel stations with high octane fuel, the fuel filter, spark plugs, oil filter and air cleaner are replaced upon recommendation from the mechanic. They are in most cases still in the best mechanical condition at the time of service. 

Kiconco’s car is a front wheel drive (FWD), meaning it generates most of its wheel power from the front tyres. This, she says, makes the Axio drivable on marrum roads without much dragging.

Cost

Kiconco says one of the minuses of this car is its small trunk. When loading luggage, it should be light to avoid affecting the suspension system that is not meant for heavy loads.


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