I have driven the Toyota Duet for two years. I had initially bought it to run school errands. When I test drove it from Kampala to Iganga District, i I found its performance was unbelievable.
There is no doubt the Duet has one of the best engine consumption rates of any car locally. When you fill its 40-litre capacity fuel tank and you want to drive for long distances on a tight fuel budget, the Duet just makes it happen for you with its 1300cc engine size. It is a car suitable for first time car owners or young adults who have just started working and want to drive.
When it comes to maintenance, the Duet is easy to maintain because its spare parts are readily available but also affordable, just like most Toyota models. For instance, I recently replaced its shock absorbers and I got a pair at Shs180,000. It is the most expensive spare parts I have replaced since I bought the car. Other parts such as the brake pads, air cleaners, spark plugs and car lubricants such as engine oil are equally affordable.
My particular model is a 4WD with a manual transmission and this makes driving on slippery roads quite easy if you want more engine power. When on the highway, it is swift and fast when engaging different gears.
I previously drove a Toyota Corolla 110 before I bought the Toyota Duet but I find the latter much easier to park compared to the Corolla. They both have the same sitting capacity but where the Corolla beats the Duet is in carrying capacity of the trunk.
When I fill the Duet fuel tank with 38 litres, it keeps me running for two weeks. I live inBugolobi six kilometres from the City Centre and I find its consumption very economical to run for such a long time. There are days when the full tank takes me for close to three weeks. When I am driving within the city centre, I find the Duet easy to park compared to most cars I have seen. I once fitted it in a street parking space where a Spacio had failed to fit. It is a small car.
When I am to carry out service, I normally spend Shs150,000 and pay Shs50,000 for labour to my mechanic. I don’t know much about car mechanics but I replace brake pads and engine oil.
I have test driven a Toyota Vitz and a Toyota IST but I find the Duet more comfortable and stable to drive compared to the other two models.
The weight of the Duet improves its stability especially when negotiating corners. If you have reasonable heavy luggage to load in its small boot, the stability even becomes better especially on highways where small vehicles tend to become light and their stability compromised with higher speeds.
A Duet also has a stronger body compared to the IST and the Vitz. Mine has been scratched by careless motorcyclists a couple of times but the damage does not dig deep into the car body. It is only the paint that is affected.
Its on and off-road performance is befitting for a small car.
When driving on a slippery murram road, I engage the lowest gear and when this is coupled with its 4WD, you can hardly skid or get stuck by the road side. You will steer smoothly through the mud.
The downside of the Duet is that its ground clearance is somewhat low. You have to be careful when driving along murram roads that have deep gullies or are rough or even raised road bumps to avoid damaging underneath car parts that may rub against the road surface.
On a highway, it gives you approximately 18km using one litre of fuel and approximately 12km when driving in urban traffic jam.
Highway mileage can increase depending on the rate of acceleration. Its quite absurd that production of such a fuel efficient car lasted for a few years yet it could have been more popular than it is.