I have driven the Suzuki Vitara 1999 model for seven years. It is a durable and long-lasting car with a strong body. It is a manual car with a four wheel drive system and this comes in handy when driving along slippery roads.
It runs on a 2000cc engine. There are those of 1500cc engine size but I preferred the one of 2000cc because its engine is stronger than that of 1500cc engine. The Vitara is not one you would drive at maximum speed because it has a weak engine and the speed is low. It is not a car for travel upcountry travel if want to cover a given journey within a desired time frame. It is the best to use for slow motorists who wish to drive at their pace.
My Suzuki is not electric by nature and has no Variable Valve Timing-Intelligent (VVTI), meaning it does not switch from fuel to electric mode at high speeds like the latest versions.
I get its spare parts from specialised dealers but the challenge is that they do not have some spares for older models.
This means I will make use of spares from the black market in Kisekka, Katwe, Ndeeba, Bwaise and Wandegeya.
Some motorists who have parked this particular model after it has been involved in an accident have become potential sources for spare parts for those still on the road.
The downside is that the spare parts are a bit costly. When you are buying an original spare part, they are long-lasting and the dealer will say it takes two or more years without replacement.
The other disadvantage is that these cars have been phased out and getting their spares is a challenge.
On average, I spend Shs130,000 on minor service. My engine consumes five litres of oil at a cost of Shs70,000; the oil filter costs Shs15,000 while the air cleaner costs Shs50,000, though I replace it once in a while.
The performance of the car off-road is determined by the suspension system. If you have strong shocks, you will enjoy your drive.
A full tank of fuel costs about Shs200,000 which will take you from Kampala to Mbarara City about 270 kilometres away.
One of the downsides of the Suzuki Vitara is that when you attempt to drive over 100km/hour, it will become light and will start vibrating or shaking. And when you drive over quadruple humps, it will appear to skid off the road.
The front part that carries the engine is heavy but the rear is light and it is the side that tends to lose stability as you drive over humps. It only gains a certain level of stability when you load the trunk with heavy luggage to allow it balance with the heavy front area.
Away from being light at high speeds, it is a comfortable car built with a friendly consumption of 2000cc engine capacity.
My particular model is a five- seater that gives you the driving comfort of a sport utility vehicle.
Its service and maintenance is affordable, just like most low consumption cars. The only expensive spare part I have had to replace were the tyres. They cost me Shs180,000 each but they have now served me for two years. Other spare parts are replaced when the need arises but they are also locally sourced from most spare part dealers.
I have driven the Suzuki Vitara for 18 months. I find it easier to park because it is of the same size and length as the Toyota RAV4 that I sold off before acquiring the Vitara.
My particular model runs on a 1500cc engine and I find it very efficient when it comes to consumption especially when you live a bit far from the city centre. I live in Bulindo and work about 15 kilometres away in the city centre. On average, I spend Shs150,000 on fuel weekly. When I wake up early but also leave work early to beat the rush hour traffic jam, I spend Shs120,000 in a week.
It is a car I recommend for any first time motorist because it is affordable to maintain.
The challenge is that the latest versions are more expensive to buy and their engine capacities have been also been improved and this means they consume more fuel.
I have been to the car garage four times because it rarely breaks down. Besides, I mostly use it for town rounds. It is not a car meant for long distances much as you could drive it on the highway.
There are incidences when I want more speed but when I accelerate, it barely responds to the command.