I bought my Toyota G-Touring 1998 model in 2014. I run a restaurant in Industrial Area, Kampala, and I needed a car that would help me with work but also have friendly fuel consumption. For example, I shop at Nakawa Market and my car eliminated the need to hire a pick-up truck. I just adjust or bend the rear passenger seats to create the space I need for what I want to load. My family nicknamed it a wheelbarrow because it carries any kind of merchandise.
I am also a farmer and when I travel to my farm in Mpigi, it comes in handy. I use it to transport farm input and tools and at the same time use it for transporting garden produce to my home in Kisaasi, Kampala and to the restaurant.
One of the many things I like about the G-Touring is that you can refuel with Shs10,000 and it gets you from one point to your destination without worry of running out of fuel. This is because it runs on a 1500cc engine. The other plus is that it is also affordable to maintain since it shares many spare parts with the Toyota Corolla, commonly known as Kikumi. It also has a strong body, which makes it durable.
I have had my G-Touring for five years. When I had just acquired the car, it was not in the most roadworthy condition. Most parts of its suspension system were worn out and it was uncomfortable to drive. I had to spend an extra Shs3m to service and replace most parts to give it a new look. The repairs lasted approximately a month.
In my opinion, it is not comparable to any station wagon in terms of durability and body strength. Even when you accidentally hit a pothole, you will hardly get any damage.
However, this is possible with timely maintanance.
It is not a high performance car you will drive beyond 100km/hour to find out how stable or fast it can go. For instance, when I travel upcountry to my poultry farm, I can comfortably load the car with over 100 trays of eggs and I will reach Kampala with very few eggs broken.
On the highway, with its 1500cc engine, it will give you between 10 to 15 kilometres per litre of fuel, depending on how heavy your acceleration foot is. The heavier the foot, the more fuel you will burn.
When it comes to service and maintenance, I spend between Shs100,000 to Shs150,000 each time I go to the garage once every three months. I drive the car to the farm every weekend.
There are, however, times when I do not wait for the three months to elapse or hit the 5,000km mark to visit the garage, especially when the performance changes or when it starts producing unusual sounds. The earlier you have a problem fixed, the longer this car will serve you.
The Toyota G-Touring is one of the few station wagons you can customise to your satisfaction depending on what you use it for. For instance, I customised mine with a roof rack where I sometimes load merchandise when travelling long distances not only in Kampala but upcountry as well. I run a retail shop and when restocking, it is the car I use to carry merchandise from Kampala City centre to Gayaza, a Kampala suburb.
You, however, have to be careful how you load the rack to avoid being caught on the wrong side of traffic laws or even subjecting the car to faster wear and tear.
It also has raised ground clearance and I am able to drive through any rough murram road without the car rubbing against the road surface. The downside of the G-touring is that if you are looking for comfort, it is not one you should go for because it will not give you the comfort you need. It will do all kind of work you want, drive through any terrain and go as long as you want but it will not give you the driving comfort you desire.
I spend approximately Shs200,000 on service and this will cater for engine oil, brake pads, transmission fluid and gearbox oil, among others, and this is every two to four months. I live in Gayaza in Wakiso District and if I am to drive to the city centre, I spend approximately Shs100,000 on fuel every week but will remain with some fuel to run for about two more days.
Body type - 4/5 seater estate/station wagon
Number of doors- 5