I started living in Nairobi in 2011 and for about nine years, I was living in Roysambu – then notorious for loud blue Subarus.
It was, therefore, not surprising that when I started shopping for my first car – my eyes were set on a Subaru. Well, mine is not a blue one, but for the past two years, I have driven a 2009 Subaru Impreza, GH7. Silver in colour.
The Subaru Impreza comes in either the wagon and sedan shape. Mine is a station wagon. In Kenya, Subarus are known for speed among car enthusiasts. The Impreza is a performer and every drive reminds me why I chose this car.
With a 2.0 litre engine, and about 148 horsepower, I cruise nicely. In fact, I often tell my friends that driving the Impreza motivates me to wake up early and drive it around.
I find it perfectly comfortable and I particularly love its sleek look. I have often gotten the temptation to have it lifted to enhance ground clearance, but I can’t get myself to abandon the sporty look.
In addition to the stellar performance, the Subaru Impreza is fairly easy to maintain. It serves as my daily car and I rarely have to visit the mechanic in between the regular service.
My daily commute is about 60 kilometres. I live in Ruiru and work in Westlands. I usually service the car after about 3 months, usually after clocking 5,000 kilometres.
This typically costs me Ksh6,000 for engine oil and for minor replacements such as oil and air filters, engine coolant, etc.
Other than the regular service, there are some minor wear and tear repairs that cost me an average of Ksh7,000 every three months. This cost, however, is not static, it is an averaged figure since the repairs are made as they are needed.
The one downside to having the Impreza is that it can have high fuel consumption especially when you have a heavy foot like myself. I have been trying to embrace a light foot strategy, especially with the high cost of fuel.
However, for the most part, I like speed and acceleration has a negative effect on consumption. When in the city, I get 7-8.5 kilometres per litre. When driving on a highway, I get up to 10 kilometres per litre when I am lucky.
When I bought the car in 2021, a litre of petrol was going for Ksh124. Fill the 60-litre tank would cost me about Ksh7,500. This would last me for about 10 days. The low fuel signal came on after 470 kilometres. The cost of petrol is now at Ksh217 a litre and the the same full tank now costs me Ksh13,038.
I have cut back on unnecessary road trips and I work from home once in a while. With these sacrifices, and my attempt at being soft on the pedal, the full tank is lasting me 2 weeks, the low fuel light now comes after 500 kilometres.
The ground clearance for the 2009 GH7 Impreza is not ideal for Kenyan roads. I have had to repair the bumper a couple of times due to random potholes, especially when driving upcountry.
It can be painful getting around those stubborn bumps. The last thing I would wish for was a bigger space for the rear passenger seat. While I am pretty comfortable in the bucket driver seat, it can be quite uncomfortable, especially for taller passengers.
Overall, The Impreza serves my needs and is good value for my money. It is fast and safe, comfortable for me but also easy on the eye. It is also reliable and in the event I decide to sell it, it is pretty easy to sell in the used market and relatively offers high resale value.