1. Best budget station wagon to buy in Kenya
Ok so you finally decided to grow up and get a more mature family vehicle for your family getting rid of your 4 door sedan. You would probably be looking for something with a lot of space that can take care ot the needs for your whole family,however you cannot afford an SUV neither can you afford one of those German estate cars. So what can you buy on a tight budget?
We will look at some of the most popular station wagon vehicles you can buy in Kenya these include, (the rule are that the car cannot be more than kes 1.5m in value as a direct import from Japan):-
2. Mazda Atenza Station Wagon
The Mazda Atenza is one of the most underrated fun cars to drive. The car comes in the 2000 cc and 2500cc engine capacities however the size of the engines makes the car suffer a bit in fuel economy numbers especially when you compare it with the other cars in this list, however the power delivery and transmission is excellent. The interior of the car is quite exquisite, Mazdas are usually very well put together and this car is not any less. The build quality ensures that the car does not start rattling after a few kilometers on the rough Kenyan roads. With the right servicing and maintenance this is a car that can serve you and your family for a very long time.
The rear leg room is brilliant and the headroom is decent hence the car can easily accommodate 3 full grown adults at the back.
The exterior looks of this car are even much better than those in the interior. This actually the best looking car out of the bunch.
So if you are looking for a fun to drive family vehicle that almost rivals the build quality of the German station wagons then this is the car you should get. As long as you do not mind paying a bit more for your spare parts or petrol.
The only issue we have with this car is how rare it is and off-course the price, this car can set you back up to Kes1.5 million and the resale value is not very impressive you may actually lose a lot of money if you plan to sell the car in the near future. You can get most parts you seek from the Nairobi Industrial area.
3. Honda Accord Station Wagon
The Honda Accord Station wagon is one of the rarer cars in the list. Hence buying this car ensures that you stand out. Honda’s are usually understated however if they are good enough for the Pope they are good enough for us.
The VTEC technology used in the engine ensure that the Honda delivers better fuel economy than the Mazda but a bit less than the Fielder.
Honda’s have always been known to be very dependable cars with good build quality however in this country Honda parts can be a bit more expensive.
The car looks very nice from the outside with the inside looking a bit more premium than you would expect. The Honda boasts very smooth acceleration and it is set to be a bit faster than the Mazda and the Toyota Fielder. This car will hold up very well in the long run however the resale value may get hit a bit when you decide to sell in the long run.
Note that Honda has had a few issues of late that have led to massive recalls hence if you are planing to buy any of their cars please do some research on any possible recall worthy issues.
You can get one for 1m.
4. Toyota Caldina
The Caldina is Toyota’s sports wagon option. This car is for those who love some speed. Toyota set this car to be a quick accelerating car that is more sporty and functional. Basically you buy this car if you love your family but never got that boyish love for speed out of your system.
The car has been designed in such a way that it becomes more stable at speed, the steering is light and the car itself is light. The car can survive those rough roads conditions very well since it is much lighter than most other wagons.
The best thing about this car is that you can even get a turbo version. The GT-T model had a 2L turbocharged engine that could produce 255HP with a 0-100 kph time of 6.5 seconds…from a family station wagon.
Production of this car ended in 2007 hence if you are planing to buy it you will be looking at 3rd hand car. If you plan to do so, common faults include weak door handles, chipping paint from the plastic bumpers, blue tinge smoke from the exhaust indicative of oil seepage (Happens at startup) however if it clears shortly after it could be just a normal caldina which has a slanting engine that draws oil to the heads when you switch it off, nothing major. You also need to check the dash board since some old caldina dashboards loose some functionality after some time.
This is one of the funnest cars in this bunch (After the Mazda Atenza wagon of course).
Consumption is relatively higher at 10 Km/L.
You can get a third hand car for Kes 650,000.
5. Subaru Legacy
The Subaru Legacy is one of the best station wagons one can get. If you are looking for performance and fun this is the car to get. The slight rumble of the exhaust and the immediate jolt of the transmission as it moves along makes it a very fun car to drive. It is also very well made making it feel like a very solid car.
The space inside is impressive however the boot space will be a bit smaller than all the other cars in this list. The Legacy is a pampered car made mainly for City driving however it can also handle the upcountry rough road drive as long as the wheels are changed. Most legacy cars come with very thin tyres that do not protect the rim enough.
The car comes with a lot of toys with some of them even having anti-radar devices that let you know when NTSA is close by.
The car looks very nice and cool so if you are looking for something that stands out and don’t want to feel like a conservative driver this car will do the trick.
Parts are readily available (Check the Nairobi Industrial Area) and Subaru has one of the best dealership agents in Kenya who are always happy to help. What more you can easily trade in your car at the dealerships when you decide you want to get a brand new one.
Avoid washing the engine since this will be the start of many problems.
The 2.5L version produces 172 HP and is able to return 9km/L. Which is decent for the size of the engine.
You can get this car for kes 1.3 Million.
6. Toyota Corolla Fielder
Dependable, versatile and hardy. This is one of Kenya’s favourite station wagons with many buying this car for commercial purposes. Most of the Fielder users consider this car to be unbelievably reliable. The parts are cheap and you can find them almost anywhere and best of all the fuel consumption is very good. If you go for the 1500 cc car you will get a good consumption number of 15-18 Km/L.
This is a dependable car, do not expect it to be very sporty. The 2009 version is also decent looking and best of all you can get a few options with leather seats. The boot and internal space is good enough for whatever you may need to put into it.
The parts are easy to find and you can easily service the car yourself if need be .
The downside of this car is that it is a target car. There is high demand in the Kenyan black market for this car hence if you own one you need to invest in a lot of security fixtures such as an alarm, vehicle immobilizer,rivets and a tracker. Other than that this is a brilliant car.
You can get this car at Kes 1.3 million and best of all you can recover up to 90% of this value once you decide to sell the car.
7. Nissan Wingroad
This is the duller car in the list. However it has seen tremendous improvement in the last few years. The older Wingroad produced 1999 and 2006 was not a very nice car. It would jerk a lot while driving due to a shifty automatic transmission and it did not look particularly good. However it was quite an agile and versatile light vehicle that could go almost anywhere. Because of how light it is the front wheels usually spin when you accelerate aggressively from a stop.
The new car 2006 onwards is quite a nice car, the body looks good, it is slightly bigger with more room at the boot and the back. The engine and transmission are now more refined and that gear change jerk is no longer there. The car feels stable at slightly higher speeds. It is also a bit more fuel efficient with figures of 12 kmpl city and 18 kmpl on the highway.
Some Kenyan drivers have complained about some sensors going crazy in the car especially for the new model however key to note is that this might happen to you if you decide to wash the engine bay with water, other than that the car is very dependable and it is the cheapest in the bunch with a 2008 version retailing for kes 820,000.
I know this is a direct competitor to the fielder however I can assure you that for that extra kes 400,000 you are better off with the Wingroad. Part of that extra cash can be used in getting it a sump guard and better springs to lift it up.