What you need to know:
Some of the features that have endeared the Toyota Alphard to these motorists are its interior space and driving comfort, Roland D. Nasasira writes.
I have had my Alphard for two years and I do not regret buying it. I especially love it for its spacious interior, which provides enough room for both passengers and luggage. Apart from the driver and co-driver’s seats, it also has the middle and rear seat rows, with each having capacity to accommodate three to four passengers. For family trips anywhere, the Alphard is our family bus.
The middle and rear seats can be reclined to provide sleeping space in case one is travelling for a long distance.
When on the road, the middle seat row can be turned to face that at the rear, which allows passengers to hold conversations without the need to shout.
However, the Alphard is a long car and this makes parking it a bit challenging, especially when reverse parking. Much as it has rear view cameras on the dashboard to aid with parking, I normally need someone to give guidance when parking in a tight spot.
Because I usually hire cars for my safaris, I prefer the 2002 model Alphard to other vans. It is a car I can drive for 500km and I will not feel tired. It provides enough legroom but also an adjustable driver’s seat to suit any driving posture regardless of one’s height.
Its fuel consumption is manageable because it runs on a 2362cc engine. Unlike in urban traffic where it gives you less mileage, it will give you approximately 13km per litre of fuel on the highway. In terms of performance, at high speeds, for instance at 100km/hr, the Alphard is stable due to its wide tyre base and large body.
The only downside with the Alpahrd is that because of its low ground clearance, parts underneath the car will easily get damaged since they touch the road surface, especially when driving over potholes. To avoid damaging the car, I installed strong shock absorbers, a suspension system and big profile tyres, which can withstand harsh road conditions.
I have driven the Toyota Alphard 2005 model for two and a half years. I love it because it is a multipurpose van you can choose to drive to work or over a long distance.
It is also a reliable van because it runs on a 4WD system that has capacity to drive through slippery marrum roads without skidding.
Like any other Toyota, service and maintenance of the Alphard is equally manageable since it shares most spares parts with other Toyota vans such as the Toyota Super Custom and Noah. All these parts can be sourced locally from most spare parts shops as long as you know what you are looking for.
The most expensive spare part I have replaced was the headlight that was knocked by a truck that cost Shs800,000. Every other service such as replacing engine oil, brake pads, automatic transmission fluid, fuel and oil filter and air cleaner costs me Shs250,000 although this is also dependent on what needs to be replaced as advised by the mechanic.
If you want to enjoy driving your Alphard, it is important to follow the service mileage recommended on the service manual. It is advisable to consult your mechanic the moment you notice any faults or if the car makes any unusual sounds. This way, mechanical issues are fixed before they become a nuisance.
Engine displacement 2362 cc
Seating capacity 7
Power 180 hp
No. of cylinders 4