Turbo Tuesday: 10 Most Economical Cars to Own in Kenya
Remember as a kid flipping through glossy and colourful car magazines? Hankering impatiently for the day you’ll be a grown up so you could own that muscle supercar pictured on the open airy road, riding into the sunset or that fancy sports car which has an all-American-Blondie, with a beckoning look, strewn across its mustard-washed bonnet. You reach your legal driving age and reality quickly dawns on you. Sunsets, blondies and cars that attract them were probably a far-fetched idea.
There are things to consider that the glossy magazine didn’t prepare you for; like the fact that adult priorities come before your childhood fantasies and real-life roads are not open and airy and with beautiful sunsets at the end of them. They are clogged with traffic, polluted with exhaust fumes and the annoying sunset burns your eyes with its piercing glare.
So by the time you are reaching the average age of first time car buyers in Kenya, 24 – 30 years, you are well aware of what’s practical in terms of choice of vehicle. You have just started living your life away from home. Importing that European car is literally going to burn your pockets. And most of the Kenyan roads are Chinese anyway.
Furthermore, you want a first car to last you comfortably and economically for up to five years. And here we give you just that. A list of cheap to purchase and economical to run vehicles that’s practical for many Kenyan motorists but you’ll probably never find in any glossy and colourful car magazine.
| Toyota Vitz
The car was made famous by Maina Kageni during one of his morning shows. He ridiculed the car and most ladies wouldn’t date a guy driving one. The car has a small engine with less than 1000 cc. It comes in either a 3 or 5 doors compact and costs between Ksh 400,000 to Ksh 700,000.
| Toyota Belta
Developed from the Toyota Vitz and they are similar in many ways including the 1000 cc engine and 109 horsepower. The only difference being that the Belta is a saloon. It costs between Ksh 600,000 to Ksh 800,000.
| Honda Fit
It is a small hatchback made by Honda, also known as the Honda Jazz. Has five doors and 4 plus 1 seats. It came to the market in 2001 and has made good profits for the company. The engines range from a 1.2 to 1.5 Litre. It costs between Ksh 600,000 to Ksh 900,000.
| Nissan Cube
The Nissan Cube is a mini MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) produced by Nissan since 1998. The car is not sold by the Nissan dealership in Kenya, DT Dobie. Most are from Japan or the UK. The Cube has a 1.4 and 1.5 litre engine. It costs between Ksh 400,000 to Ksh 600,000.
| Toyota IST
It is a subcompact car from Japan by Toyota, also Known as the Urban Cruiser. It is not for the African market but most are imported from Japan or the UK. It has a 1.3 and 1.5 Litre engine with 5 doors. It costs between Ksh 400,000 to Ksh 1,000,000 depending on the model year.
| Mazda Demio
The Mazda Demio is a supermini manufactured and marketed globally by Mazda since 1996, currently in its fourth generation. The third generation Demio earned the 2008 World Car of the Year title. It has a 1.5 Litre engine and ranges between Ksh 500,000 to Ksh 700,000.
| Toyota Auris
It is relatively new in the market. Most consider it the replacement to the Toyota Allex and to some extent it might be true. However, the Allex’s actual replacement is the Toyota Blade which is an upscale sister of the Auris. The Toyota Auris is a compact hatchback derived from the Toyota Corolla. They come in 3 or 5 door hatchbacks with a 1.3 to 1.8 Litre engine. It costs between Ksh 800,000 to Ksh 1,200,000.
| Nissan March
It is a supermini car produced by Nissan in Japan, in production since 1982. For some time the March was Nissan’s smallest production car. They come in 3 or 5 door versions with a 1.0 to 1.5 Litre engines. Most seen around are the third generation but currently the car is in its fourth generation. It costs between Ksh 300,000 to Ksh 800,000 depending on the model year.
| Toyota Probox
Just like the Vitz, the Probox is also a butt of jokes in the country. It doesn’t stop the car from being a favourite among businessmen who prefer it due to its abundant space and fuel economy. It is a five door station wagon with a 1496 cc engine. It is most famous as the vehicle of choice used to transport Miraa (Khat) from Meru. One Leaky Thuita Gichagu of Kenya owns 1,000 Probox units for ferrying the crop. It costs between Ksh 500,000 to Ksh 800,000.
| Subaru Impreza
There are a lot of negative associations pinned on those who drive this car. Some (read Njoki Chege) say they are childish or reckless. But truly it is a worthy car. If you are looking for a cheap, economical and fast car, the Subaru Impreza is your best bet. It is the closest one in this list to those nice cars from your glossy childhood magazines.
The Subaru Impreza is a compact automobile that has been manufactured since 1992 by Subaru. It comes in four door saloons and five door hatchbacks. The engines range from 1.5 Litre to 2.5 Litre, but majority on our streets, which are third generations are 1.5 and 1.8 Litres. It costs between Ksh 400,000 to Ksh 2,000,000 depending on the model year.