Toyota Voxy: Strengths, weaknesses of this popular family vehicle

The first Toyota Voxy was manufactured in 2001. [Standard]

Toyota Voxy is a seven or eight-seater mini-van that is popular among motorists who have families.

The five-door vehicle comes in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive options.

The Voxy has three sitting rows, with the first two suitable for adult occupants, and the third suitable for children.

Toyota launched Voxy in 2001, succeeding the Townace. The vehicle shares quite a number of features with its identical twin, the Toyota Noah.

The two-litre minivan’s rivals include Nissan Serena, Mitsubishi Delica, Honda Stepwgn, Suzuki Landy and Mazda Biante.

In Kenya, due to the seven-year age policy on imported vehicles, the Toyota Voxy that is currently being sold at bazaars in high numbers is the 2015 model.

Depending on the trim, mileage and country of origin, a 2015 Voxy could set you back anywhere between Sh1.8 million and Sh2.4 million.

It is estimated that the Voxy accelerates from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in 10 seconds.

With restrained driving, the Voxy could give you some 10 kilometres per litre in urban driving, and 12 kilometres per litre on the highway.

With the current petrol prices at Sh178.30 in Nairobi, you’ll need Sh10,700 to fill the vehicle’s 60-litre fuel tank.

On full tank, you can drive the Voxy for some 600 kilometres before it runs out of fuel. That essentially means that you can drive from Nairobi to Mombasa, a distance of 480 kilometres, and still remain with little fuel.

However, this consumption can change, for the better or worse, depending on the condition of the car, driving habits, amount of load carried and the nature of the road.

While unoccupied, the Voxy has a ground clearance of six inches. Its relatively low ride height, especially when full, is one of its weaknesses.

The vehicle has limited luggage compartment due to the number of seats it has (seven or eight). However, to increase the boot space, you can fold the third-row seats to create more room.

The Voxy has 154 horsepower, which is good enough for swift overtaking and quick acceleration.

Clifford Wahome, a businessman in Ruaka, owns a 2012 Toyota Voxy. He says he likes Voxy’s high resale value, ease of maintenance and performance.

“It’s not a vehicle that would dent your pocket. If you maintain it well, it will serve you well,” Wahome said.

Elizabeth Nanzayi, a 37-year-old resident of Nairobi, said the vehicle’s sitting capacity, attracted her to it.

“I have four children. I find the Voxy practical in transporting my children to and from school five days a week. It’s also spacious, hence good for long distance travels,” said Nanzayi.

The Voxy owners, however, find its ground clearance inadequate when it’s fully occupied. Its kerb weight, 1,500 kilogrammes, further worsens its ride height.

To remedy the ground clearance frustrations, some owners usually resort to spacers to increase the ride height.

Motor vehicle insurance companies, however, discourage the use of spacers, saying vehicles fitted with the enhancers are less stable on the road.

Most insurance firms would refuse to compensate if they find out that the vehicle had been fitted with spacers after its last inspection.

The law allows insurance firms to shun compensating vehicles that were “dangerously” modified post-valuation inspection.

Some of Voxy’s common problems include unexplained stalling, oil leakage, higher fuel consumption in case of poor maintenance and starting problems.

Charles Okoth, a mechanic in Nairobi, says the Voxy is unsuitable for off-road driving.

“The two-wheel drive Voxy tends to lose traction and spins out of control on slippery roads. It’s bulky, yet mounted on a small engine,” said Okoth.