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The Toyota Probox
Every Japanese used car exporter who ships cheap second hand used cars to Kenya, Tanzania, or Uganda has shipped a Probox.
When our company president, Scott Bower ([email protected]), was in Kenya earlier this year to meet with our Kenya Manager, Mel Odour ([email protected]), he wasn’t there just to take pretty pictures of the sunset on Lake Victoria,
He was also there to learn what cars people like to import direct from Japan and to see the cars on the streets of Kenya.
And he saw lots of Proboxes.
In the city and in the countryside. In the countryside, in fact, it sometimes seemed like the Probox was the main form of transport!
And why is it so? Why is the Toyota Probox so popular in Kenya (and in Uganda and in Tanzania)?
Because it’s an ideal car; ideal for middle class people because it is affordable and comfortable, gets good gas mileage, and carries a big load. And it’s ideal for a small business because it’s a tough car, easy to maintain, cheap to buy direct from Japan or from the Japanese car auctions, and when you put the rear seats down the load space is huge for what is really a small station wagon. (With a hard-wearing rubber and plastic interior and tie down anchor points to secure the load more safely back there.)
Indeed, for a small business that needs to deliver or carry a lot of goods, but does not need a full size van (with its higher running costs), the Probox is itQ.
The simple and easy-to-understand layout of the dash board and controls also make this a good company car since it’s easy to get used to quickly; and the very convenient hold-all bins under the dash on the driver’s side and the passenger’s side are an ideal place to put an order book or other business gear, or even just a bottle of water to grab quickly and easily when you need a drink on a hot day in traffic.
So with the Toyota Probox you get an almost van-like load
(but without the tippiness of a high van), in a car that has small exterior dimensions (only 4,195mm long and 1,695mm wide) and is light weight (only 1,030kgs for the base model with the manual transmission, but the 4WD option will add 80kgs to that).
You can have a 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission, and both give good gas mileage: 17.2km/l for the manual and 16.2km/l for the automatic. And yes, the 4WD option will reduce that gas mileage a bit to 16.2km/l for the manual and 14.0km/l for the auto. (These figures are for the 1.5 liter engine.)
Two engine sizes are available: 1.5 liter or 1.3 liter. Both straight four cylinders. But, funny enough, the 1.5 liter gives just a bit better gas mileage than the 1.3. I guess that’s because the 1.3 has to work harder and rev a bit higher. In any case, the 1.3s are a bit rarer to find than the 1.5s if you want to buy direct from the Japanese car auctions.
The economical and common tire size of 165/80R13 means that you’ll never have trouble finding replacement tires and wheels. And the tight turning circle of 5.2 meters makes the Probox maneuverable in a tight spot.
So this car is practical; practical but civilized. For a small businessman who wants to import a good used station wagon direct from Japan to Kenya to use for his work Monday to Friday, but for going out with his family Saturday and Sunday, we confidently recommend the Toyota Probox.
And for a middle class man or woman who wants to buy a quality but cheap good used car from the Japanese car auctions, again we recommend the Probox. You’ll never go wrong with it. It will give you many years of happy, reliable, comfortable, useable motoring; and it won’t cost you much.
Our president saw them all over the place when he went to Kenya, and we see them everywhere in Japan, too. And there are reasons for that. So if you want us to help you import a good used Probox direct from Japan to Kenya, to Tanzania, or to Uganda, just contact us and we’ll get you the best one from the Japanese car auctions and within your budget.