April Top Searched Vehicles

                                                                                                                                                            *Make, Model, Yr Of  Manuf

 

Luxury SUVs

                                    

 

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Top popular cars for online taxi hailing business Featured

Thinking of investing in a taxi for Uber, Taxify, Little Cab etc.? Here is a list of the most popular vehicles models used and the cost of each.

*The indicated price is based on 2010 models as this is the oldest you can import into the country or get financing from a financial institution.

  1. Toyota Axio, 2010, 1500cc, Kshs 1m – 1.3m
  2. Toyota Belta, 2010, 1300cc, Kshs 890k – 1m
  3. Toyota Ractis, 2010, 1300cc, Kshs 820k – 970k
  4. Toyota Fielder, 2010, 1500cc, Kshs 1.1m – 1.4m
  5. Toyota Vitz, 2010, 990cc, Kshs 700k – 840k

 

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Consumer awareness key in fight against vehicle fraud

         

Kenya’s used car business is growing robustly on the back of an expanding urban middle class and increasingly flexible financing options for buyers. Latest industry figures indicate that we import an estimated 80,000 used vehicles annually. This means that for every single new car on the road in Kenya there are roughly four used cars.

Used cars are significantly cheaper than new cars. This has created and sustained demand for used cars. Spurred by an entrepreneurial spirit, an increasing number of car dealers are cashing in on this demand. This is signaled by the notable number of used car yards that have mushroomed in the capital city and other major urban centres across the country.

The competition is intensifying and dealers have employed different strategies to sharpen their competitive advantage. For instance, some dealers are leveraging on digital tools such as mobile apps and websites to reach more customers, while others are inking strategic partnerships with financiers such as commercial banks to sweeten the pot for customers.

Unfortunately, amid the race to corner the used car market, a few unscrupulous dealers and brokers have crept into the market. Many Kenyans have fallen victim to these scammers.

Back in 2012, the Embassy of the Republic of Kenya in Japan disclosed that it was overwhelmed with requests from numerous Kenyans seeking assistance to recover funds paid to unscrupulous Japanese companies for the purchase of second hand motor vehicles.

Cases of fraud have become more prevalent in recent years. The problem has been exacerbated by digital tools such as clone websites, where unsuspecting victims send money to purported dealers in Japan or the U.K. but never receive the car they ordered. These clone websites soon disappear along with the money.

Besides such outright cases of fraud, other unscrupulous practices that we have witnessed and that are being reported with greater frequency include: buying ex-accident cars; buying cars that have falsified mileage; and buying stolen cars.

Some dealers wind back the car’s odometer to understate the car’s true mileage in order shore up its market value. They even go as far as replacing the pedal rubbers and gear knobs to make it look newer. This is not only fraudulent, but potentially dangerous.

Certain car parts, such as the timing belt for most cars, are typically supposed to be replaced once a car clocks 100,000 kilometers. This means that if the mileage has been understated, the timing belt will not be replaced when it should, increasing the chances of it snapping unexpectedly. If it snaps when the car is on the road, the safety of the driver and other road users could be seriously compromised.

Other dealers also sell ex-accident cars that have been carefully re-sprayed but nonetheless have serious mechanical faults. Once these cars are bought, the unlucky owner spends half of their time in the garage. Worse still, they spend a fortune in repairs and get back nothing in terms of resale value. Such a blatant rip off can be devastating for a car owner, particularly if they bought the car on credit and are stuck up with monthly loan repayments.

As a bank that has a strong heritage in asset finance we have the social responsibility to not only highlight this issue, but also arm car buyers with tips on how to avoid being another statistic.

Buyers need to know that they can get credible information about a car’s age and mileage by simply visiting websites of vehicle inspection firms like JEVIC. There you can get an auction sheet where you can countercheck the actual mileage and mechanical condition of the vehicle you want to buy. You can also contact Interpol to confirm whether you are buying car that has been stolen.

It is equally important to consult widely before making a purchase. For instance, consulting with a bank that has a track record in asset finance could help you settle on reputable dealers.

Because an asset financier underwrites the car loan using the car, it directly serves in their interest to connect you to reputable dealers who will sell you a car that is in mint condition.

These are simple yet indispensable tips to avoid getting scammed. Since a vehicle is probably the largest purchase most of us make after a house, the importance of getting the right information before making a purchase decision cannot be overstated.

Mr. Mugambi is the Deputy Director, Asset Finance at NIC Bank PLC

 

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Unplanned car purchases weakening youth’s savings culture

Unplanned car purchases weakening youth’s savings culture

Kenya has one of the poorest savings culture in Africa. In 2015, the country’s gross national savings stood at 12.7 per cent of GDP, well below the continent’s average of 14.7 per cent for similar sized economies, according to the World Bank.

 

One of the population segments that is adversely affected by this poor savings culture is the young working class. These are young Kenyans on their first or second jobs. They are keen on making their way up the middle class and achieving financial freedom, but frequently make poor financial decision such as taking unnecessary car loans. This limits their ability to save, invest and prosper.

 

In a country where owning a home is a luxury due to unaffordability, a car is ideally the next best status symbol. This explains why cars, especially secondhand cars, which account for 80 per cent of motor vehicles in Kenya, are an increasingly popular purchase among young professionals.

 

However, buying a car is a critical financial decision that should never be made in haste, as is often the case when many young professionals take car loans just because these facilities are available. Taking out a car loan should be preceded by careful consideration of a range of different factors. A car that is bought without sufficient prior reflection typically comes with unexpected expenditures that limit savings.

 

Before you buy a car, particularly if you are doing so on loan, you should assess your financial preparedness, the total cost of owning and operating the motor vehicle, the cost of insurance and the utility of the vehicle in relation to your transport needs.

 

Buying a car is the easy part. The real expenses come when you start operating and maintaining the car. Therefore, you should not just focus on the purchase price, but closely examine other costs such as fuel consumptions, repairs, spare parts and insurance, among others.

 

You must weigh the total cost of operating and maintaining the car against your income and long-term financial goals. It is important that after spending on your car, you have enough money left to sustain a decent quality of life and grow your savings.

 

Savings provide a soft landing in times of financial shock such as job loss, allowing one to clear their debts on time and still get by. A young professional with dreams of achieving financial freedom needs to minimize the possibility of defaulting on loans, as this could negatively impact their credit ratings and limit their access to a loan in future when they really need it, for instance, when starting a business.

 

Moreover, saving not only benefits the saver, but the economy as a whole by increasing the pool of domestic savings. This helps cut dependence on foreign direct investment (FDIs). Kenya’s current heavy dependence on FDIs means that the country relies on the surplus produced in other countries to grow. This is not always sustainable as global economic shocks may cut the flow of investments into the country.

 

As stakeholders in the financial services sector, we need to start encouraging Kenyan youth to save. A key intervention to advance this agenda is sensitizing young people joining the middle class on the importance of prudently planning for critical purchases such as a motor vehicle.

 

Although it may appear counterproductive for a bank to advise a customer to reconsider or postpone buying a car on loan, it is not. On the contrary, it serves in the bank’s long-term interests. A customer who buys a car when they are financially prepared will be able to pay off the loan on time, save a portion of their income, invest and grow. Naturally, the bank that supports such a customer will grow with them through their journey by offering a wider range of products to serve their evolving financial needs.

 

Mr. Mugambi is the Deputy Director, Asset Finance at NIC Bank PLC

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Used or New? Which one is better for you?

Used or New. Which one is better for you?

This will be dictated by a number of factors, chief among which is how warm your pockets are. It’s fair to assume that anyone with the financial means would choose to buy a zero mileage car every single time. That however is what is wrong with assumptions because many people, me included, even if armed with the fattest bank account in the country, would prefer to buy a used car over a new one. If you don’t have the money to buy a new car, buying a used well maintained car is a viable alternative.

The majority of vehicles on Kenyan roads are, despite bearing the latest number plates, hand me downs from the Japanese domestic market. Brand new cars sold in Kenya account for less than 20 per cent of new registrations each year. Majority of these are commercial vehicles like lorries and pickups, which are justified by the return on investment. New vehicles for personal use accounted for less than 5 per cent of total annual sales this year and every year.

Each option, whether to buy new or used, has its accompanying advantages, let’s look at some of each below;

 

Advantages of buying used

  1. It’s like Recycling. – There are already too many cars in the world. Current yearly output is 4 million cars. For every car to be made some men have to go down a mine, follow decades old techniques to extract materials that are then shipped around the world and processed into a car. While the latest cars come bearing the latest technology to improve efficiency and safety, they don’t replace the one’s already existing, rather they only add to the congestion. Buying a used car on the other hand means that you are not adding to the cars on the road
  2. Depreciation – But for a few exceptions, cars depreciate like a falling rock. A new car can lose up to 50% of its value simply by being driven out of the showroom. The simple fact is that nobody who can afford to buy a new car will pay anything close to the floor price. When you buy a used car, the first owner has already taken the hit. When you buy the car, it will have reached terminal depreciation, or be very close to it, keeping its value for longer and sometimes people have been known to resell later at a profit.
  3. Buying a used car means it has been proven. It’s safe to say that nothing made by man will ever be perfectly perfect. Cars especially are prone to after sales corrections. This is done by the car companies using something called a TSB – Technical Service Bulletin. When a company issues a TSB, it is usually a solution to a problem experienced by the initial buyers of a car. Sometimes the fault is much more serious, requiring a need for a recall. When a recall happens, the car is taken back to the authorised dealer and fixed, ideally you should be given a courtesy car but good luck with that in these here parts.
  4. It’s more personal – Consider a new saloon car, priced at about 4 million shillings. You can have it in any colour, choose your fabrics and the wheels and anything else you want the dealer will gracefully oblige. After all you are paying a prince’s sum for every little thing. Optional extras will see the said saloon car quickly get closer to 5 million shillings. Alternatively, you could get an older car, maybe at 1.5 million, get all the aftermarket tid bits you want and even a fresh coat of paint and it will still be cheaper but more importantly you will not be limited by the dealer’s brochure choices.
  5. You don’t actually need a new car. Car companies will encourage you to buy the latest car; a typical life cycle of a new model is about 7 years. Through that time there will be many variants with different performance characteristics and aesthetic upgrades that make you desire 2018 models to the 2016 models. But guess what, there really isn’t much difference even if you were to go back 10 years. A brand new Mercedes will be imperceptibly more comfortable than one made 5 years ago because Mercedes have always made very comfortable cars. They have always had the latest tech to a point that the 5 year old Mercedes E Class, if well optioned, will have technology that a brand new Toyota is only getting in 2017. Scroll through the used car market and you could end up with a whole lot of car for very little coin.

Advantages of Buying New

  1. You’re the first; there’s just something special about being the first person to use something. Be it a house, a car or even just a suit, being the first to own something new means that you have the satisfaction of knowing that the car has never been in an accident, never been driven aggressively or been fitted with knock off parts. It’s like meeting a new lover who has never been with someone else before, they don’t come with baggage from their previous relationships and in a sense you’re starting off with clean slate, same idea with the car.
  2. Technology: car companies are constantly innovating to stay ahead of the competition. This means every new model is safer, faster, more fuel efficient and in almost every way better than the previous model. A base model city car will now come with Bluetooth connectivity, handsfree calling and ABS brakes but to mention a few. Modern cars are also much lighter making them more enjoyable to drive even with a laughably small engine.
  3. Warranty: having a warranty gives you peace of mind. New car dealers will go out if their way to sweeten the deal and lock you into the brand, to do this they will make sure to give you the best possible experience with your car, lest you go bad mouthing the brand. There is also the added advantage that the service is carried out by company trained mechanics using original spares. The only alternative for used car buyers is a mechanic recommended by a friend and a prayer that the spares are at least 70 per cent genuine. There simply is no comparison.
  4. Leg Work: To buy a new car is straight forward, walk into the dealership, choose the model and specification and then pay. Easy peasy. Buying a used car in contrast is week after week of deliberation, visiting numerous car yards with a cloud of uncertainty hovering above your head all the time. Even after the deal is done, the first few weeks will be spent hoping that you didn’t fall for a scam, that the car documents are clean and the vehicle will not grind to a halt from some hidden fault. Buying new is just easier, faster and less stressful.
  5. Financing: Banks will generally have better loan rates if the car is new. New cars are easier to value as they have not been hit by depreciation. Depending on the model rates may actually be competitive enough that the monthly premiums are more comfortable a choice than paying a lump sum for a used car.

 

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The Future of Cars

The future of cars
Despite the recent unveilings of futuristic cars that are supposedly better in every way, cars as we know them are destined for a highly inconceivable future. I have yet to meet someone who can predict the future. Take for example the meteorological department in any country in the entire world. You would think that by now we would be able to accurately tell the weather at least a day before. And yet the reality is no weather man, woman or app has ever been right! Mankind, as it stands is unable to predict anything!


When it comes to cars and mobility there’s a general rule I would advise. Don’t get too excited by what car companies say; get excited by what they actually put out on the road. Hydrogen has long been touted and tested, as the future of mobility, a clean alternative to petrol and diesel but the reality is that’s not going to happen any time soon.


BMW, Mazda and Honda the main proponents of the idea have largely ignored it lately with Toyota finally throwing in the towel to announce that they were finally developing an electric car. Yes, Toyota hadn’t seriously considered making fully electric car until last year. Think of concepts as just ideas and you will avoid disappointment. Actually avoid any promotional literature, advertisements and paid bloggers painting vivid pictures about an idyllic future promoted by car companies. That said, just as clouds precede rains, there are some tell-tale signs of what to expect in the future.


The future will be electric!
Believe it or not, Donald Trump actually gives good advice. The gist of it from his book, Art of the Deal, is that one should not be the first to try out new technology. When new technology is launched it is unproven and expensive. It’s much smarter to wait at least a year. Tesla has been around since 2003 and has in that time proven that electric cars are a practical alternative to fume-spewing petrols and diesels. Countries like Britain, Norway, France, India and so forth have already pledged to ban internal combustion engines by 2030.


As it stands, the batteries are expensive to manufacture, heavy and take forever to charge. For a significant shift to electric powered mobility there has to be a revolution in battery technology that enables it to be cheaper, lighter and recharges in at least as much time as it takes one to fill up with petrol. Going by the track record of such an industry I would say such an event is at most 5 years away from today.

The Immediate future is 48-Volt Hybrids.
A conventional Hybrid car like the famed Prius is insanely complicated to make and heavier than a normal car of the same dimensions on account of the parallel batteries and electric technologies working alongside the internal combustion engine. A more promising hybrid is the 48 volt hybrid, or mild-hybrid. An engine produces mechanical power that is scavenged off via the alternator to power electrical functions of the car like your stereo and so on. The 48 Volt is already available in the new Mercedes E Class and CLS AMG 53 variants. What this does is harvest energy from regenerative braking and stores it in a battery. It’s deployed in high torque requirements, like getting off the line from standstill and filling in the space between gear changes, making progress not only brisk but indescribably smooth. It also takes care of all electrical requirements of the car meaning that all the mechanical power from the engine goes where it’s supposed to, the wheels. Expect other car makers to follow suit.


The Future will be shared.
The number of cars in the world was 500 million in 1986. In 2010 it hit the 1 billion mark and continues to grow with estimates expecting 2 billion cars on the world’s roads by 2020. This means a lot more roads will need to be built, as well as parking space. Most trips only the driver is in the car, making it wasteful of fuel and space. The free seats can be filled with other riders offsetting the running costs of a vehicle. Ride hailing apps like Uber and Taxify are closely related to ride sharing apps. These carpooling apps allow one time shared rides on short notice. It determines a driver’s route using GPS, matching that with your journey and calculating cost and handling payment.


On average a car is used less than 5% of the time. We get into our cars for a 30 minute commute to work, leave it parked there for the whole day and then use it again for a 30 minute commute back home. Companies like LyftShare in the UK have over 25,000 registered users, allowing private individuals to share their cars on a trip they were already going on anyway.

The Future will be nostalgic
The more we advance to the future the longer we look wistfully at our past. There’s just something satisfying about concurrently living in the future with all its convenient technology and the past with its unique design elements that continue to inspire car brands to this day. Mercedes had once considered replacing the G-Wagen, they quickly reconsidered. Land Rover retired the Defender, but are now making a limited edition V8 powered batch. Its sister company Jaguar put an electric drive-train in an E Type, code-named E type Zero for the launch of their I Type all electric formula E racer. They say design goes full circle and save for the desperately uninspired commuter class vehicles, future design shall borrow heavily from the past.


The Future will be composite
Materials like steel, I predict, will have no use in future cars. Composite materials like carbon fibre and Alcantara are not only stronger and safer, but lighter and therefore better for making cars. the only problem is that they are prohibitively expensive. With more and more companies venturing into composites, expect the technology to become cheaper. Somewhat related will be the rise of 3D printing. With vehicle blueprints and some 3D know-how, even today you can print a part to use in your car from the comfort of your home. Soon enough after a fender bender, you will be able to download a bumper from the internet, print and fit it on your car.

The Future will be Autonomous.
I have driven the new G30 BMW 5 series on a mountain pass that kept itself between the white lines and took turns with my hands off the steering wheel. The Renault Kadjar can park itself as does the Ford Everest and the aforementioned BMW allows you to get out and park it with the key fob.


Most people don’t actually live driving cars. Sure we all love the convenience of having a car to go exactly wherever we want to go, can keep an extra outfit in and impress people with. But the actual activity of navigating almost 2 tons of metal and plastic precariously close to other humongous and sometimes speeding chunks of metal and plastic can be quite unnerving. Even as a car enthusiast I prefer to be driven if the car is an automatic and the journey over 200 km.


That’s why virtually every new car features some form of semi-autonomous abilities like lane keep assist and radar guided cruise control. Fully autonomous technology already exists. The only thing holding them back is legislation and a few teething problems. Nobody knows who to blame in case of an accident. What if your car was driving you and killed someone, would it be you or the car maker to blame? Once the insurance companies and judges have figured out who to blame in case of an accident, you will be able to purchase a car that does the manual work for you while you relax with the morning paper and a refreshment.


As with all things man made, our appreciation and expectations will evolve over time to demand more convenience, value for money and address mounting environmental concerns. While it’s a slow transition to the idyllic situation where cars are safer, more efficient and pollution free, it’s the most exciting time in history for innovation.

Contributed by J.M. Barasa - Motoring Press Agency

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Driving On a Budget

  Driving on a budget this Njaanuary


  With a tight budget to work with this “njaanuary”, one expense that you need to keep a close eye on is your motor vehicle expense. Here are few tips to help you ensure that your car does not drive you into financial ruin this month, pun intended.

 

Tip 1: Use public transport on weekdays

This will help you save in a couple of ways:

  • If you work in the CBD, the county council charges KES 350 per day. By taking a “matatu” to work, you save on this expense. 
  • By javing during the week, you get to save on unnecessary fuel consumption. 
  • For the brave, use a “bodaboda”
  • For those living on or around Mombasa road, consider using Syokimau Express. Unlike older trains, Syokimau Express is clean and takes around 45mins from Syokimau to CBD.
  • On the brighter side, ditching your car for public transport, allows you to engage in walking which is a healthy and inexpensive form of exercise.


Tip 2: Car Pool

This is where you and your group of friends agree to share one vehicle to get to a certain destination. For example, if you and your four friends live in the same area and you are always going to work in the same destination, you can agree to use one car every day, and alternate each other’s cars on a weekly basis.

Carpooling allows you to save up to 50% on fuel money and also parking charges. It also prolongs the life of your vehicle by reducing the kilometers driven, as well as the wear and tear.

The best part about carpooling is that it allows you to chit chat in the car during long boring Nairobi traffic. Solo drives stuck in Nairobi traffic can be lonely and boring.  Ideally, if we all carpooled, we’d reduce traffic and the time it takes to get to our destinations significantly, as there will be fewer cars on the road! 


Tip 3: Fill your tank

Just like the human body, the car needs to be fed so that it can have the energy to move you from one place to another. Otherwise, it’s bound to embarrass you and leave you stranded. To avoid that embarrassment of carrying a jerry can to a fuel station or calling your friends to come to your rescue, ensure that you fuel your car full tank when it’s time.

It is recommended that you fuel full tank for the following reasons:

  • It saves you time especially when there is traffic and you are short on time. You do not need to stop and waste 5-10 min fueling.
  • When the fuel levels are low, dirt and other impurities may get trapped and block your fuel filter. This results in frequent and expensive service and repairs.

 

Tip 4: Stick to one Mechanic! 

Avoid changing mechanics too frequently. Sticking with the same mechanic allows him to maintain a history of your car which allows him to undertake future checks and repairs easily even in your absence because “he knows your car”. For example, a golf GTI may flash the “check airbag” sensor. A new mechanic, who has no prior history of your vehicle, may be alarmed by this and recommend expensive repairs, whereas a mech who “knows your car” can recommend an inexpensive practical solution. 

Additionally, having the same mechanic allows you to budget how much you will need for repairs, he can recommend what can wait and what can’t and therefore save you a buck! 

What are some of the ways you are driving on a budget this “Njaaaanuary”? 

 

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Profiling the BH5 Subaru Legacy GTB

Reviewing My Own Car

Followers of my newspaper column must have realized by now that I did in fact buy a Subaru back in 2016, a change in my driving life that I introduced to much fanfare (read it here: Interview With A Critic). What follows up now is something I have not done before anywhere: REVIEW MY OWN CAR!! Here goes:

 

What is it? The creep sheet

Make: Subaru

Model: Legacy

Platform: BH5

Spec: GT-B (Rev D) E Tune II

 

Mechanicals

Engine: 1998cc Subaru EJ208, horizontally opposed 4-cylinder engine with 2-Stage twin turbo plus top-mount intercooler

Transmission: 5-speed manual gearbox, symmetrical AWD

Suspension: Bilstein shock absorbers.

 

Interior: 84%

Japanese cars (from before 2005 or thereabouts) aren't exactly known for their prime interiors, and most of them came with drab, monochromatic affairs. The BH5 Legacy is no exception. The blackness inside it is impossible to miss, and it makes parking in the sun a real tribulation. But we won't review the interior of just any old BH5 Legacy; we will talk about my old BH5 Legacy. And this is where another (positive) stereotype is manifest: interiors of pre-2005 Japanese cars are damn-near bulletproof.

The car is more than one and a half decades old, but it's hard to tell without looking at the odometer. Everything has held up surprisingly well over the years: the dashboard is clean, scratch-free and devoid of the "shine" that follows age for many car interiors. The seat covers and pedals are worn very little, the roof lining and upholstery are still very intact, properly threaded and free of dirt and gunk. In other words, the car looks ten years younger from inside than it really is. The only non-factory installations are a turbo timer below the steering column, a very bright white LED dome light and a thumping stereo.

The sellouts are the leather-covered gear knob and the rim of the Momo steering wheel. These seem to suggest that (one of) the previous owner(s) had palms with the surface consistency of sandpaper. The leather on the gear lever is almost all gone, leaving just traces of its previous existence while the steering wheel rim is... not so good. It has necessitated the deployment of a wheel cover as a new wheel is sought.

 

Exterior: 68%

The outside of the car was "not so bad", to put it mildly. We all know what BH5 Legacy wagons look like, so again: this is not an analysis of any old BH5, it's an analysis of this particular BH5.

Over and above the stock looks of a Legacy GT, this car has had only one addendum: aftermarket rims. They are black multi-spoke affairs that gel well with the dark blue body paint, but being 15"s, they make the car look undershod in certain light conditions. Other times, they look fine: they give the car the menacing appearance that all turbo Subarus deserve.

The car scores a generally low 68% because the paint had faded somewhat and there were blisters somewhere on the front bumper (quickly sorted, now it's all good)

 

Acceleration: 72%

I'll let you in on a little secret: a 17-year old car will not be putting down the same horsepower figures it boasted of way back when the Twin Towers were brought down. The twin-turbo GT-B was good for 280hp, just about the same as an Impreza STi, but it sure as hell does not feel like an Impreza STi.

The Legacy is more subdued. Sure, the acceleration can be called "urgent", but it is not hectic; at least not as hectic as that of any STi. The 0-100 sprint occurs in probably seven seconds. The issue lies in the two turbos. Two turbos, theoretically, sound like the perfect recipe for monstrous performance (and may explain the 280hp output from the absence of manic urge), but the use in the GT-B is not what you think it is.

The setup is called a 2-Stage Twin Turbo and this is how it works: there is a slightly smaller primary turbo and a bigger secondary turbo. The first turbo spools up early, spun by one bank of cylinders. At higher rpm, the secondary turbo kicks in, spun by both banks of cylinders to give maximum boost. Odd, huh? Not as odd as the transition from one turbo to two.

To get the secondary turbo into play, exhaust gas pressure is slowly redirected from the first turbo to the second one to bring it up to speed. That means that boost pressure gradually drops from the first turbo as it slowly builds up in the secondary turbo. That also means there is a point where the boost in the primary turbine will be too little and boost in the secondary turbine is not enough. That point, typically between 4000rpm and 5500 rpm is the notorious "Valley Of Death", a situation where the GT-B is as good as naturally aspirated. That means this is a twin-turbo car that is sometimes on one turbo only, on two turbos or is naturally aspirated. Complicated thing, this is.

 

Braking: 90%

This was one of the pleasant surprises of the E Tune. The system is stock, but the pads are by Asimco; and boy, do they slow this wagon down when needed. The alacrity with which speed is shed can best be termed competitive. It is certainly reassuring. What is not reassuring is the fact that the ABS warning light goes on and off and sometimes the car will lock up when braked too hard. I repeat: this applies only to my car, not to all BH5s.

 

Handling: 83%

The "B" in GT-B stands for "Bilstein"; which is the brand of shock absorber this car comes with. That means the handling is good. Body roll is largely eliminated courtesy of a low c-of-g too. I say largely because much as the low slung, Bilstein-fitted wagon is factory set for good handling, the previous owner thought it fit to raise the ride height by fitting spacers. I don't blame him; some of the roads around here need good clearance to prevent damage to the undercarriage. This has compromised the sharpness and stance somewhat.

Subarus generally understeer, and the Legacy is no exception. The use of turn-resisting mechanical diffs plus engine placement ahead of the front axle is responsible for this. And that is why the car gets 5/6 rather than the full score.

 

Fuel Economy: 161%

161%? What is this? Let me explain: there are expectations and then there is reality. Typically reality falls short of expectation, but this is one of two cases where the reverse is true. What consumption figure would you expect from a high mileage twin-turbo Subaru estate car? 8km/l? 9? Maybe 7? Try 12. Think it is a fairy tale?

I was -and still am- as shocked as you are. I kid you not, the car returns a scarcely believable 12km/l from daily use (which tends to avoid heavy traffic inner city use but is compensated for by wide throttle opening bursts in a bypass when the police aren't watching). I learnt that "E Tune" actually means "Economy Tune" but still: 12km/l from the same engine that does 280hp is more than one can hope for, amirite?

 

Value for Money: 128%

This too may take some explaining; and if you know how and where to look, you will calculate for yourself exactly how much this car cost me to buy, because I am not going to reveal the price. Take 100% to be the median price of this vehicle. Now take the price difference as a percentage of this figure. If the car costs more than the median price, subtract this percentage from 100. If the car costs less than this median figure, add this percentage to 100. The number we are working with here is 128%, so do the math.


Thanks and see you later.

-Baraza JM

Motoring Press Agency

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