What you need to know:
The Toyota Axio, a Sedan by classification, has not been on the road for many years. But like most Toyota brands, it is likeable for its features such as economical fuel consumption and affordable maintenance, writes Roland D. Nasasira.
I have had my Toyota Axio 2007 model for almost two years. I bought it because I wanted a car that was close or similar to the Toyota Premio 1999 model in terms of consumption and maintenance. I have so far not been disappointed by my choice of car because it is not only economical in terms of fuel consumption but it is also affordable to maintain.
My particular model runs on a 1500cc engine and when I fill its tank, it takes me for approximately two weeks, given the fact that I work from Monday to Friday and stay in Kyanja (a distance of 10.8kms from the city centre).
Even when I drive to the market on Saturday to buy groceries, the fuel consumption is still minimal. I used to refuel with Shs20,000 daily but I realised I was spending more on fuel compared to going in for a full tank.
Besides, the consumption rate tends to be high when you refuel with small quantities. You spend a lot of money unknowingly.
The Axio offers more driving comfort compared to the Premio I previously had. One of the differences is that the trunk of the Premio could carry a lot more luggage compared to that of the Axio.
The Axio also has a weaker body whose paint can easily be damaged by the slightest of scratches, unlike the Premio whose body was strong and durable.
It is an average sized family car designed to carry five people. It also has a steering wheel you can adjust to your driving height which means you can drive in comfort.
My particular model of the Axio runs on a 1800cc engine with a full time 4WD system. It is not as powerful as that of many sport utility vehicles but it is strong enough to take you through a slippery road without getting stuck provided your tyres have good treads.
When driving on a highway, it will give you between 12km to 17km using one litre of fuel. In urban areas with slow moving traffic, the mileage per litre reduces significantly to between eight to 10km. All this is dependent on how heavy your acceleration foot is.
The Axio is not a high or fast performance car but it is one you can rely on to take you anywhere. Reliable in a sense that it rarely develops mechanical problems that will stop you from continuing with your journey, unless the problem showed early signs you ignored overtime.
The fact that it is a small car means you can easily diagnose some mechanical problems by the sound the car makes if you are a keen and attentive driver regardless of whether the sound is coming from the engine compartment or any other area of the car.
The Axio is a car whose maintenance costs are as affordable as keeping it refuelled. For instance, when I recently carried out service after the car vibrated during acceleration, the mechanic said there was a problem with the engine mounting.
When the problem was fixed together with other minor repairs such as replacing the brake pads, engine oil, transmission fluid and gearbox oil, I had spent Shs300,000.
On other days when the engine mounting is running well, the cost goes down to Shs200,000, and this is once after every three months in which I cover the 5,000km. When I drive upcountry, I carry out service before the three months elapse because I reach the recommended service mileage sooner.
The most likeable feature about the Toyota Axio is the mileage per litre it gives when driving for long distances. When I recently travelled with my family for a weekend getaway to Kabale in western Uganda, I used 50 litres up to the destination without driving anywhere else. On the return journey, I still had enough fuel to drive to Rubaare Town in Ntungamo and back to Kampala.
My model is a front wheel drive (FWD) that runs on a 1500cc engine. On a highway, it gives me 17km per litre of fuel. It picks up speed quite fast without having a big impact on fuel consumption, especially when the topography is flat enough for me to release the acceleration pedal.
When I carry out service, I spend between Shs100,000 to Shs250,000. This is dependent on what needs to be serviced because some parts such as brake pads and spark plugs are not replaced every time I service.
The most sensitive parts or car lubricants I pay attention to include engine oil, coolant, automatic transmission fluid and brake fluid and a few other parts.
I have driven the Axio for four years and the secret to keeping it in perfect road condition is not ignoring any dashboard warning signs and unusual sounds the car makes.