What you need to know:
For these three motorists, driving the IST is a blessing now that fuel prices are quite high, writes Roland D. Nasasira
I have had my Toyota IST 2008 model for five months. I previously drove an IST 2004 model and I had to upgrade to the newer version because the 2008 model looks more stylish, comfortable and offers a spacious interior compared to the 2004 model. It also has better ground clearance which enables me to drive on rough roads without fear of damaging it.
The most important feature I like about this car is that it offers the best fuel economy, especially now that fuel prices are high. My particular model runs on a 1300cc petrol engine. When I fill its fuel tank, I will not refuel again for the next 20 days. With heavy traffic jam, I will cover approximately 12 kilometres per litre of fuel.
It is a car I would recommend for a first time car owner because it is cheap and affordable to maintain not only in terms of fuel but service and maintenance. I have not yet taken it to the highway to find out how much mileage it covers per litre of fuel but a journey to Entebbe and back to my home in Kiwatule, Kampala, I use fuel worth Shs50,000.
I prefer the Toyota IST 2007 to my other car, a Harrier because it offers better fuel economy compared to the Harrier. With the IST, I can refuel with as low as Shs10,000 which I cannot do with the Harrier because it has a much bigger engine that requires more fuel.
Although it appears small from the outside, its interior is spacious. It provides enough legroom for the driver and co-driver, especially when driving for long distances. Passengers at the rear will also enjoy their journey much as their legroom space is not as big. The front doors also come with enough pockets to keep documents and act as cup holders for passengers.
I recently drove it to Mbarara in western Uganda and I was impressed that it could cover as much as 17km per litre of fuel. It also commands high stability levels compared to some Toyota brands of the same classification. I service the car after covering 5,000km and I spend Shs120,000 per garage visit. There are times it is due for service and the only item to replace is engine oil and oil filter.
One of its downsides, however, is the fact that its lights are somewhat prone to knocks from reckless motorcyclists and motorists. You have to maintain a safe driving distance from other road users.
I like the Toyota IST 2008 model because it is more comfortable compared to the Toyota Vitz and Spacio I previously drove. It runs on a 1500cc engine which makes its fuel consumption affordable. From my home in Makindye to my workplace in Nakasero, Kampala ( a distance of about 7kms), I spend Shs50,000 on fuel per week. This I achieve by leaving home early to avoid rush hour traffic.
In the one year I have had the car, I have not spent more than Shs150,000 to service it. On each garage visit, my mechanic normally replaces engine oil, oil filter, brake pads, air cleaner and a few other basics. Because of affordable maintenance, I look forward to driving the car every day because I would not be worried of running out of fuel.
If you are the kind of motorist who drives from home to work and back home, its tank of 45 litres can last a month. I tried it the first three months I had just bought it and it actually helps you save money compared to daily refuelling.