With the right mechanic, my car is easy to maintain

By Joan Salmon

Small and compact, one would only compare the VW Golf 5 GTI 2005 to a Subaru WRX because it has got the pecks and twists that anyone in love with a powerful German car would love.

Robin Byaruhanga is a proud owner of a 2.0 litre Turbo FSI machine that rattled its hatchback rivals such as the Mini Cooper S upon unveiling because it is bigger, more refined and even quicker. He has had it for the last four years and attests to it being fast, saying it reaches 245km/hr (stock).

“However, I have tuned/mapped it to go up to 300km/hr as per the dashboard. Nonetheless, I have not driven it to those speeds but love the thought that it can when the need arises,” he says.

Besides, the car has torque of 208Nm compared to 130Nm from its predecessor, sprinting 100kmh in eight seconds. “I have tuned the horse power a bit so mine gives even more power than 197hp which is the industrial mark,” he adds.

Thrilled by the car which he says is still worth holding on to, Byaruhanga also added wider and bigger rims and tyres because of bumpy and pothole infested roads.

One who has driven German cars since 2007, with his first car being a VW Golf MK3 1997 model, Byaruhanga says these are precision machines built to be loved and taken care of at whatever cost.


He laughs about a time he borrowed a friend‘s Toyota Raum but could not drive it. “I had an errand to run but did not have my car. However, the Raum felt too light and every time I braked, I felt like there was no effect so I stepped on the pad harder. With such uneasiness, I had to give up until I got my car back,” he says.


Save the general aspects, Byaruhanga was drawn to his current car by virtue of its colour. “Black is elegant and masculine, making the car worth having. Also, being a hatchback makes it easy to manoeuver and find parking space in small places. “Parking spaces in Kampala are not easy to come by but with my car, I struggle less,” he says.


With a list of equipment such as leather wrapping on the steering wheel, air conditioning, six-stack CD sound and more, the GTI’s interior is top notch. However, Byaruhanga says, the headliner is a deal breaker as it sags and sometimes falls due to the higher temps. He also shares that the seats are comfortable and the interior has enough legroom so you will not feel cramped after a long drive.

On the road

On the road, this hatchback is stable, hitting the high speeds even in corners. For those that love sound as cars change gears, this car will give you that as the unburnt gases are fired by the turbocharger.


Despite all that goes into manufacturing these cars, Byaruhanga believes that his GTI is cheap to maintain. He also believes his hatchback is one of the most reliable and cheapest cars in the VW line although many do not agree.

“Many say that I can only make such a comment because I am a mechanic for the same cars hence incurring no costs regarding fixing anything. But let’s face it, I have driven it for four years and haven’t had any major complaints. However, carrying out maintenance on time is a must,” he says.

Byaruhanga adds that brake replacement is after one-and-a-half or two years depending on his driving style while other cars do it sooner. He adds that with German cars filling the market, even their spare parts are readily available. He also believes that many face high maintenance costs because they do not have the right mechanic. “Several German car owners still take their cars to be fixed by trial and error mechanics. However, an OBD diagnostics tool, synonymous with German car garages would save you the trouble,” he concludes.