What you need to know:
For various reasons, the Toyota Noah is a popular car on Ugandan roads. These motorists love it for its spacious interior and a 4WD system, among others, Roland D. Nasasira writes.
I have had my Toyota Noah for five years. Much as it is more of a family car, it is also a car of all seasons. I can comfortably drive it to work, upcountry for a weekend getaway or holiday and still use it as a commercial car.
It was made to carry eight passengers but it has capacity to carry up to 10 average sized passengers, including the driver because the rear seats are more spacious. When you adjust the rear seats, it provides more space to carry a lot more merchandise. For instance, when I go to my farm in Mpigi District, the Noah comes in handy. When loaded well, it can carry up to 150 trays of eggs.
I also find its fuel consumption pocket-friendly because it runs on a 2000cc petrol engine. When I do not drive upcountry and use it for town rounds, fuel worth Shs150,000 can last two weeks. This is when I drive from my home in Luzira to Kampala City centre (a distance of about 10.8 kilometres) for work.
One of the features I like about the Toyota Noah is its 4WD system that makes driving on slippery roads a success. I drove to Bukomansimbi District a while ago and before I made a return journey, it rained and the village road that was on a hilly terrain became slippery. Many cars got stuck by the roadside but I managed to drive the Noah successfully uphill, much as I could feel it skidding at some point. Since then, I have no doubt that I can drive it anywhere because of its off-road performance.
It has a somewhat low ground clearance and this makes its drivability along some roads tricky, especially if you are not well versed with the road condition. For instance, as I returned from Buhweju District in western Uganda recently, some roads with deep gullies were hard to navigate since the car could touch the road surface.
I bought the Noah because it is a spacious family car. Much as it is light, it can carry an average number of people and still remain stable on the road. The challenge comes when you drive above the 100km/hr mark. It starts to shake and vibrate and this is a sign that you need to slow down.
Since it is my daily car, I go to the garage once in three to four months. On each garage visit, I replace engine oil, spark plugs, air, oil and fuel filters, brake pads, automatic transmission fluid, coolant and other parts.
This costs approximately Shs150,000.
There are repairs such as flat tyres that do not have to wait until I have covered the recommended 5,000km before going to the garage and have to be fixed as soon as they occur. I have since replaced wheel caps with sport rims that cannot be stolen, unless one unscrews the tyre.
It is a car whose spare parts are locally sourced from most spare parts dealers. It runs on basic technology that even if you are on a journey and you experience a mechanical fault, you can be rescued by any knowledgeable mechanic.
Fuel type: Petrol
Fuel system: Direct petrol injection
Number of Seats: 5-8