Under the hood of a 2008 Honda Fit.
Few would dispute the fact that Kenya is Toyota country. When I was considering choices for a car, almost everyone suggested I get a Toyota. The reasons are the same I’ve heard over and over again. The top two are that it’s reliable and parts are easy to come by. True, Toyota is known globally for reliability and parts are easy to come by, whichever corner of the country you may be in. However, I know people who would rather buy any make other than Toyota. They feel Toyota has become too common place; there’s no differentiation. Others rule out Japanese cars altogether. I believe every person should buy the car they’re comfortable driving without having to justify their preferences. I have nothing against Toyota but I’ve come to really like Honda, particularly the Fit.
I first heard about the Honda Fit around 2013. It came highly recommended but I didn’t give it much thought till 2014 when my wife and I seriously began thinking about our first car. One of the biggest challenges we faced was convincing ourselves that a car was necessary. You’d expect this to be a ‘no-brainer’ for someone who loves cars but it is exactly because of that reason, that I needed to be convinced. It’s very easy for someone who really REALLY wants something to make an unnecessary purchase on a whim.
So I started thinking of all the reasons why we needed a car: it would ease trips to our farm (which would help us do agribusiness and earn us some extra income), it would help with transporting produce from our farm, we could hire it out part-time and earn some extra cash, it would really help with family outings and basically just travelling etc. So it would be a worth-while investment. That’s where I went wrong. There are better investments you can make with over half a million shillings (which is the least you would spend on a decent car), without the additional costs of maintenance. I will never forget what my brother told me when I talked to him about it. He had some experience on the matter. He said, ‘Stop trying to justify your purchase as an investment. If you want a car for family use, buy it.’ That was my ‘light-bulb’ moment! I had a wife, a daughter and I wanted a car. Simple as that!!
Believe it or not, one of the first cars I considered was a Probox. You can throw in the Toyota Succeed when you’re talking about the Probox because they are basically twins. I thought it was the most affordable car I could get and I was fine with the fact that my image would have to take a back seat when driving it. In addition, even though I had stopped trying to justify our purchase, I still felt it would offer the best package in case I actually did need to move farm stuff around.
I can’t say much about it (there really isn’t much to say) but I think it’s a good car. Most have 4-speed automatic transmissions with either 1300 or 1500cc engines, which is adequate power with fairly good fuel consumption. Personally, I don’t mind too much how they look…but that’s just me.
My wife, however, thought different; let’s just say that her standards are higher than mine. Plus, she wasn’t too keen on the idea of drawing any unwanted attention from traffic cops. Add that to the fact that I discovered it wasn’t the most affordable car I could get and it was promptly dismissed. That’s the funny thing with the Probox. You’d expect it to be cheaper considering its basic features and the amount of disdain most people have for it, but it’s not! Blame it on the fact that it’s primarily for commercial use. If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between the Toyota Probox and the Succeed, this will shed some light.
The other Toyota I seriously considered was the Passo, which is actually manufactured by Daihatsu Motors. The Passo is Toyota’s entry-level car so I would say with some fair amount of confidence that it is the most affordable Toyota you will find in the market right now. Most have 4-speed automatic transmissions with 1.0L engines but there are some that are 1.3L. There are also 4WD versions.If you’re going to do more research on the Passo, it’s good to know that it is marketed as the Daihatsu Boon (or Sirion), Perodua Myvi and Subaru Justy. I’ve seen the Daihatsu Boon around Kiambu road but I haven’t seen the Subaru Justy or the Perodua Myvi. If you’re looking for a small, fuel-efficient city car and you don’t mind a slightly feminine looking car, then the Passo is right up your alley.
That’s one of the things you’ll notice when you’re researching on which car to buy. Depending on the make and model, there could be so many variations around that it is imperative to do proper research online but also be observant once you go to the show room. Don’t take the dealers word for it when he tells you the specs of a particular car. Be in the know! I’ll definitely talk more about this when I get to the Honda Fit.