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Review: Toyota Crown

I will provide some basics of the car before I go into a detail review,

Model Code: GRS182
Trim: Royal Saloon G
Engine: 3GR-FSE
Transmission: 6AT

•    Buddy Club coilovers
•    Monza Japan Wheels wrapped with 235/45R18 Goodyear Eagle F1 Directional tyres
•    V*P Table
•    Carrozzeria tweeters
•    Carrozzeria secondary head unit (You cannot replace the head units in these cars as the AC controls and other car settings are built into the head unit)
•    6000K low beam and 3000K fog lamps
•    Aftermarket exhaust until the muffler (It came from Japan with a complete aftermarket exhaust but had to fix an original muffler back in as it was deemed to be too noisy to pass the roadworthy, it also had flaps with a switch to adjust the loudness which is also illegal in Australia)
•    Every single interior and exterior light had been replaced with LED
•    Few Junction Produce goodies

I recently got myself a Toyota Crown GRS182 Royal Saloon G. The 182 is powered by the 3GR-FSE which churns out 256 horses and 313NM torque, the power is sent to the rear wheels via a 6 speed automatic tranny. The GRS182 was offered in two standard trims, Royal Saloon and Athlete. The Royal Saloon is the luxury comfy trim while the Athlete is the sporty version, sort of like Premio and Allion but in this case you get different suspension tuning as well. Mine being a G trim it gets few extras which the standard Royal Saloon didnt get or was offered as optional only. 

The Crown has plenty of power and its always eager to get up and go, its very responsive even when you are driving on the standard mode. Switch into power mode and it becomes even more sharp and rev happy. If you launch this hard you’ll notice  the traction control kicking in even with 235 thread low profile tyres, of course you can turn off the traction control if you want to do some burnouts. Handling and stability are spot on with coilovers and grippy tyres, it will go through corners without a worry. It’s also well stable and sits happily at freeway speeds, you barely feel the speed even when you are doing 100km/h. It’s a big car with a big heart but it’s still fairly economical, urban driving returns around 7.5km/l while highway driving returns around 14-15km/l, however it strictly requires 98 octane fuel.
The seats are very soft and when you sit down you sink into the seats sort of like sitting on a plushy sofa, also there’s plenty of adjustments on the driver seat for the driver to get the perfect driving position. In addition the rear passengers can recline the rear seats like in Premio/Allion but in this its done electronically with the press of a button.
Even on coilovers and low-profile tyres the ride doesn’t feel harsh.

The car is a complete feature fest, I’ll name a few:

Comfort access to unlock the car
AFS headlights
Dual zone fully automatic climate control system
Backup camera with front and rear sensors (You can even adjust the sensitivity of the sensors)
Air purifier
Rear AC and head unit controls for rear passengers
Fridge/Cool box
Sun blinds
Swinging A/C
10 speakers + centre speaker and subwoofer with an amp. Plus another pair of Carrozzeria tweeter has been added to my car. 
10 airbags
Front and rear electric seats (The rear seats can be tilted with the press of a button)
3 memory settings for driver seat
Electronically adjustable telescopic steering wheel
Cruise control
Wooden trim steering wheel (optional extra).
Tyre pressure monitoring
Speed sensitive door locking

Crown is an import to Australia so it picks up lot of attention on the road and at car parks, I have had people ask me what kind of car is it or what brand of car is it. Among the JDM community there’s a fair bit of following for the Crown and if you need any help regarding the car there are groups on FB with fellow Crown owners to sought out your problems (Haven’t had any yet though). For parts there are places who stock import car parts, of course prices aren’t cheap as parts for an Australian delivered car. Similarly, there are mechanics also who have an understanding of import cars. However, the problem with owning a JDM vehicle in Australia is that they are very popular among thieves so full insurance is a must and only a handful of companies provide insurance to JDM vehicles.

In terms of second hand market and resale value JDM cars are among the top, there’s a prominent fanbase for JDM cars in Australia and they tend to hold their value well. Lately JDM cars have in fact gone up in value during the pandemic.

Theres only one common problem with the 180 series Crown, that is dashboard cracks. Toyota used a very soft material for the dashboard which cracks as it ages, this problem was there on the 120 series Mark X and few other Toyota vehicles from this period as well. Only solution for this is to use a dash mat.


Some pics for you all















Work from home with the curfew being imposed gives me a bit of time to write on my new vehicle. 

I have so far owned only cars and I have always been am ardent fan of 4WD's so I was on the look out for a vehicle when I was getting rid of the Fit Gp1. I wanted something that is reliable and something that could be used as a daily drive. This time I didnt mind going for a 3 door vehicle as my brother was going to be out of the country for a years period and I could use his vehicle to transport my parents. So I had a look at the quick ad website and found a Toyota Land Cruiser BJ70 (Short wheel base coil spring model) ex army auction vehicle. It was advertised at a home so I picked up the phone and called him up only to find that he had given it to  car sale in Malabe to sell. Asking price was also ok so I went and had a look, vehicle was very well restored but when I took it for a test drive I was shocked to see how bad it was mechanically. It would pull hard to the left when I pressed the brake at low speeds and it was scary. So what I did was I spoke to my relative running a garage and asked how much I will have to spend to sort out the brakes, luckily for me one of his wife's relatives is a big LC fan and he had restored one of these and I was told to get in touch with him. No sooner I told him the details he gave the full back ground story, and he asked me to look a round a bit more.

Look around was what I did and low and behold this Suzuki Samurai pops out from no where. I have been an big fan of the Suzuki's and I had so much of literature on the Suzuki's but this was something new as the ad said coil spring. So I did a bit of research and was happy to see that they came with electronic fuel distribution and 82hp engine. I dug into my stash and then I found the original brand new catalogue which bought me down to earth as it said 64hp and carburetor. I didnt want to let go of the chance so I immediately took a call to the previous owner and ensured that it was a personal vehicle and asked if he was in around Colombo to which he said yes and when I tried to go see the car he said that he didnt bring it and the vehicle is in Ambalangoda. So I asked my brother to accompany me all the way to Ambalangoda, at first it was going to be only the two of us but since they were going away for a year they wanted to go on an outing so the whole family went with me.

When I got to the previous owners place I got to know that he has a few more Samurai's / Jimny's with him and restoring these were his past time. So I asked if we could take the car for a spin to which he agreed. The first impressions were quite good it did have good pulling power and when asked he said that he has taken it on the highway and reached 120kmph. I of course didnt want to take a risk on a completely new 20+ year old vehicle with a very high center of gravity. So we did the negotiations and finally paid about 75,000 more than I anticipated but for that money I had a few off road goodies included which altogether was worth about Rs. 300,000/- which was a pretty good deal.

Kit Included,

1. 2" lift kit

2. Original Warn winch bumper

3. Whinch

4. Work lights

5. Original Suzuki for lamps

6. Roof rack

7. A brand new set of Maxxis Radial (In Australia they go as AT tires)

8. Working snorkel




I was not a big fan of the external colour scheme and it was more of a "Thorombal Karaththe" look to it. I asked the previous owner why he went with that look and he said it was done during a phase of his life that he liked this colour scheme. Everyone has their own liking's. 

I took the car home through some scenic roads which included stops at some of my brother's friends and a waterfall and got back home in the evening. Very next day I took it to my relative and asked him if he could change the colour of the grille, door handles, wiper blades and mirrors as it was painted red and white instead of the original black. he agreed and so I proceeded to take off the stickers on the body.








A change of plan came during the next week as the original book said Mettallic Blue, which according to the catalogue was a colour called Reddish Blue. So I went back and asked the garage to change the colour to the original colour as per the tag bit with a change only with the final coat which should be matt. There were a few loose ends that needed to be tied up and it was left at the garage for them to attend to all.











The rains in October and November didnt help me one bit as it took them a long time to get it finished, and I was getting aggravated as I had planned to do the devil's staircase in November and was pushing them like crazy. It went to the extreme of me going and sitting in the garage on Saturdays observing the work. However two days before my trip I got the vehicle but disaster struck as the garage driver was stopped by police just taking the vehicle out of the garage without license and insurance. The next day I went and took the stuff and took the vehicle home and to fix a set of new wheels which I had planned. I took it all the way to bambarakanda but was not able to go up the devils stair case due to land slides etc. 





I had ordered a set of new LED headlamps but they got delayed to come so I couldnt fix it on the first go.







I wanted to add some blog entries to this forum for a long time as it had helped me a lot to make informed decisions. To start things with, I thought of writing about a small car which exceeded my expectations. That is the humble "Daihatsu Mira".

It was in the mid 2018 when I started to look for a second (small) car to use for urban commuting with a budget around 2.8 million. Back then, I had a Vezel RS hybrid as the main car. So the unregistered options were clear. It was either the Japan Alto mild-hydrid, WagonR FX or Daihtasu Mira. Test drove the Alto and felt that it was not comfortable and the interior quality was not good. WagonR seemed to be more comfortable but the "battery-risk-factor" drove me off of it. Therefore, I was left with the Daihatsu Mira LA350 and LA300 models. I didn't have a big issue with the brand Daihatsu since the loyal Toyota DNA was on-board with it. The decision between picking the LA350 and LA300 model was simple. LA350 was the latest, had superior acceleration and higher efficiency. However, the back door and front side panels were made of Resin (instead of metal). I was worried about the safety of the new model and decided to compromise efficiency and power to resort into the old model.

After a hunt of nearly 1 month, I found a dealer (ironically the same guy who imported my Vezel) who had an imported X grade 2017, LA300 with all documents. This had the following options added compared to the base model.

  • Full two-tone dashboard.
  • Retractable mirrors.
  • Rear head-rests.
  • Factory fitted alloys.
  • Multi-color meter display (base model has an orange display)

It had 5000 km on the clock with very minor scratches on the body. Negotiated with him and bought for a fair price.



Since then I've been using it for more than 1 and half years and had run more than 20k kms (the total is around 26k km). There had been no issues with the car up-to now. Since it came with Kobe warranty, I had to service it with A*to Miraj. Generally, they did a good job with the car.


External appearance

The car has a very cute (non-aggressive) appearance. To me, the front-end and side looks okay but the back-end looks a bit odd. If you want to make a statement, this is not the car for you. The 155/65/R14 tyres looks skinny and doesn't add well to the appearance (most common with small 660 cc cars). Overall, I guess it's alright for the price you pay. The silver body paint looks good on the car and needs little maintenance to keep it shiny. 




Interior appearance

Diahatsu Mira has a lot of leg space available for both front and rear passengers. For me, its identical to the Vezel RS. The seats are made of fabric (forgot to take a picture) and feels comfortable opposed to the Japan Alto. The dashboard looks okay with very basic controls. This minimalist feel extends to the steering wheel as well. I had it wrapped for better grip and protection. The gear leaver in the middle looks a bit odd and would have preferred it to be between the seats.


Unfortunately, Mira doesn't have a lot of rear boot space. Sometimes the weekly groceries alone completely consumes the entire boot space. Therefore, you cannot use this car for outings with friends. The rear headrests comes in handy and IMHO, its the best thing (apart from the factory alloys) about buying a X grade car.



The drive

This is the best thing about the Mira. It feels surprisingly comfortable for a car of this category. This is due to the perfect suspension balance setting. Even the steering feel is acceptable compared to typical Toyota cars with numb feeling. This is perfect for daily city commuting. However, taking bends with a bit of soul and moderate speed seems to unsettle the car. Moreover, it feels unstable after 90+ kmph. Therefore, be extra careful and responsible when using the car.

The 660cc power-house is alright for driving leisurely in the city. It feels nippy and feels excellent for driving in traffic. However, things starts to go south when you are in a hurry or a sudden need to accelerate arises. Overtaking at speeds over 50 kmph needs to be done with a bit of planning. IMHO the engine feels a bit more powerful and refined than a WagonR of the same year.  The Mira also managed to pull effortlessly on a steep hill upwards (even I had second thoughts before attempting the climb). The car is at its best in the 30 to 50 kmph range. I have accelerated till 110 kmph and progress after 90 kmph is very minimal. The idle-stop is alright but you feel the car while starting (not refined compared to hybrids). I usually turn it off during traffic. 

The brakes seems very progressive and linear. They do a good job to stop the car up-to moderate speeds. Braking during high speeds makes the car a bit unstable (maybe because I'm used to driving the Vezel which had way bigger tyres and all disk brakes) . 


Fuel efficiency

The guy who sold me the car claimed 20 kmpl which I was hilarious about. However, to my surprise the car did 16 kmpl on the very first run. Unsure about the results I topped it again and found out that it did the above amount continuously. After getting familiar with the car, I'm currently getting 17.5 to 18.5 (even though the car says 19.5+) kmpl during ordinary work days. This went up-to 23 kmpl during morning school holidays (and when I regularly came home during night with no traffic). To give a bit of context, during most days I drive 60+ kms daily via the Galle road with little traffic on mornings and moderate traffic (except the notorious Wellawatta block) on evenings. To compare with please find my previous vehicle's calculated efficiency below.

  • 1997 Toyota Corolla 110 Diesel 2.0 Auto - 8.5 kmpl (had 200+ kms on the clock)
  • 2003 Toyota Vios 1.5 Auto - 9 kmpl
  • 2007 Toyota Belta 1.3 CVT - 10 ~ 10.5 kmpl
  • 2002 Suzuki Alto Japan 0.66 Auto - 11 ~ 12 kmpl
  • 2016 Vezel RS hybrid DCT - 13 - 14 kmpl

Therefore, the car was very easy on the wallet for me. One thing I must say that, I'm not a very aggressive driver. I try to stick to the indicators and drive (most of the time).  Maybe its the reason I'm getting good efficiency. 




This car had required only the routine maintenance up-to now. Since the car came with free services, I had to pay about 12 000 rupees per service (average). Please refer the image below (yes, I maintain all records of the car). Tyres and brake pads are still in good condition after 26k kms of driving.


The insurance is a bit expensive. I guess its common for all the new cars. With C*linco V*P, I parted 80 000 rupees for a valuation of 2.9 million with all covers and 2 years of no claim bonus. Guess it's worth their service.


Overall verdict

Buy the car if...

  • You need to buy your first car/ needs a second small car.
  • You need a comfortable A-to-B car.
  • You need a car with less repairs.
  • You need a car with good fuel efficiency,
  • You need a car with plenty of interior space.
  • You need a car to tackle the daily traffic.
  • You enjoy the low engine vibration during idle (Opposed to cars such as 3-pot Vitz)

Do not buy the car if...

  • You drive aggressively (My friend does this and he claims his LA350 does 13 kmpl).
  • You need to make a statement with the car.
  • You need ground clearance.
  • You regularly drive up-hill.
  • You need a big boot.
  • You expect all fancy tech.


There you go! My honest review regarding the Diahatsu Mira LA300. Hope this will help people for making informed decisions. Cheers!!! ?


Care to share some enthusiasm? 
The swift needs no introduction. Along with the Jimny, it's Suzuki's biggest money maker. It's a popular car among young enthusiasts, Tuners and ricers alike in Australia, Pakistan, India, Japan, Europe, Thailand and even here in Sri Lanka. It's the best selling hatchback in some of those countries. 
Alot has been documented on these cars in the internet due to its popularity as a grocery getter, learner-mobile and fun to drive machine. Suzuki took it rallying too and it is a popular budget track/autocross car. 

Image result for suzuki swift rally


The Go
The base JDM version has the M13A (equipped with DOHC & VVT, pushing 91hp) while our car having been the indian ZXi, had the G13BB engine (SOHC & Non-VVT, 86hp) , which is shared with the Zen, Gypsy, Jimny, Cultus & Esteem (not to be confused with the iconic G13B in the Cultus GTi). It's a simple engine, reliable and very economical. Nothing special here. It was discontinued after 2010 but new parts are plenty. Can be ordered from India, Japan, China and some other Suzuki engine parts are interchangeable.
The gearbox is a 5-speed, smooth and is nice to use. The clutch on the Indian version is known to be weak though. Our car had an Exedy set on it and it was decent.

The Looks

It's a carbon copy of the Japan swift. The only differences are:
1) The antenna on the Indian version is upfront while it's on the back on the JDM version
2) The Wheel wells have a bit more gap due to the slightly taller suspension 
3) There's a VXI/ZXi badge & ABS sticker on the trunk

A smart looking hatchback, and the Azure gray paint suited it well. Not a Pininfarina product but not an ugly little bread loaf either. Only gripe for me were the 14 inch rims and the wheel gap which needed a bit of reduction. 

Shifting the Swift

Swifts are stiff cars, this is a well known fact. Ours even had a set of KYB Excel Gs upfront so there goes. Body roll is minimal and the car is stable but they are uncomfortable for very long trips. But who cares when you are tackling the corners with joy and making the passengers sick. Compared to a March or Vitz, it's slightly more spacious and it's tall so visibility is awesome. I'm 5'8" and my dad is 5'10" and both of us fit well in the driver's seat and had ample headroom. Space and dimensions are exactly the same. Interior is the same too except there is no fuel economy calculator & external temperature thermometer. The Indian version is prone to rattles when it ages, they did exist in our car but it wasn't annoying and occured only when traveling on rough roads.


Don't be fooled by the 200km/h speedo. V-max is 165km/h, 0-100 takes nearly 12 seconds but that's not the point. This car is all about the 'driving a slow car fast is fun' philosophy. It's no slouch either, as it is lightweight, it can pull off overtakes pretty well and has decent torque at low rpms to compensate for the 86 pony powers. 
It's a fun little bugger, never failed to make me smile. Some reviews compare it to a go-kart, it kicked off an affordable tuner culture in India, Jeremy Clarkson said the Sport version is better than the Mini of that year and James May said the 1.5 is a fun thing. What it lacked in power, it made up for in handling. 

Bells and whistles
The ZXi has dual airbags, ABS/EBD, Auto AC with LCD screen, multifunction steering, rear defroster, rear wiper, 14" alloys including the spare tyre(same ones as the JDM 'Style' edition) shod with 185/70/R14 tyres. All these options are absent on the VXi and the tyres are 165/70/R14, hence I do not recommend the VXi for safety reasons. Indian cars have a reputation for being death traps,but the ZXi is an exception. It may not be solid as the JDM swift but its worlds above any other Indian hatchback. Like stated earlier, it's stable and solid enough for its size and weight, which is 1010kg (dry). Do keep that in mind when considering a car for a budget of under 2 million. Frankly, it's the only Indian car I'd recommend. 


Care to Mod? 
Alot of possibilities but If I could, I'd put a nice cat back exhaust & Cold air intake, flash the ECU, put 195/60/R15 tyres with a good set of 15" alloys as the chassis' potential is restricted by the stock wheels. Then for cosmetics, a Swift Sport Bumper front and back with a twin exhaust muffler, a subtle spoiler and a set of projector headlamps is more than enough. 

Or just swap in an M16A from a Swift Sport/SX4 and call it a week. 

A check through the TeamBHP forums will show guides on DIY mods and cases of turbocharging, engine swap and tuning too. 

What to specifically look for when buying
*The interiors are of good quality but find one which hasn't been baked under the sun.

*It seems overheating is a common issue of all Swifts (Indian and Japanese), so inspect the engine bay for any oil leaks or stains which are signs of gasket/seal failures. Inspect the paint on the hood, if there are tiny dots of popped metal/paint, it could be a sign of an overheated car. 

*These cars can be cornered and used hard, so keep an ear out for rattles and clicks from the suspension during the test drive. This is a 12 year old car afterall.

*Check the engine bay, sills, underbody, wheel wells, under the rear seat & spare Tyre compartment for rust. Due to age and quality of the metal used in the Indian version, it's not scary but it's inevitable. Ours was well maintained yet had a tiny spot of rust in the spare tyre compartment and engine bay, still miles better than what I have seen in recent model Altos. 

Obviously the Indian is cheaper to buy than the JDM, parts are cheaper/similar pricing as the JDM and fuel economy is better. 
*JDM manual does an average of 10-14kmpl
*JDM auto does around 8-11kmpl
*Indian manual, does an average of 11-16kmpl

As of 2020, Expect to pay 1.85 - 1.9 mil for a 2008 ZXi (150k less for the VXi). All 2008 cars will have the magical 80k - 100k mileage on the odometer so don't bother believing that. 

If budget permits, a Japanese manual is a better equipped choice (provided one comes up for sale, as they are rare here). Expect to pay around 1.9-2.0 mil for a 2006 version. 

It's a shame to see the swift ZXi included in the 'Indian cars are crappy tin cans' package, just because the build quality isn't upto jap standards. No point in arguing with the bayyas and sales people either. It's a decent all rounder, as reliable as a japan swift, was alot of fun and proved to be good value for money. Ours was with us for a short time but I'll really miss it

2020-02-17 16.58.50.jpg



Toyota Vitz 2016 2017 till 19


Well I’m not going to get too technical or sound like the fan club here

But it’s a long story.

Despite being a popular car, it’s a very bland machine, but has its perks

Hence they are like the cockroaches of the current car scene.


The car is so popular at the moment that I have seen 2 instances unregistered cars were exchanged for money for the market value and for lands, for debts etc. between businessmen as they considered the vitz to be equal to money in the bank. 


Well as for my Vitz tale, I purchased a car, yes full cash deal, wife went crazy over it, 

 found the mileage was tampered 

Raised hell, returned the car, cash refunded got another car used it for 3months, 

saw a better car being imported , exchanged mine a small loss during the whole sales dip this year, got the new car cheap. so lost a few, gained a few.

So tasted both waters 2016 and post facelift 2019


So the popular grades in Sri Lanka are the F and Fm being the entry level , not heard of a U grade car,

 There is a Gr or an Rs here, not sure and a proper Hybrid Yaris from Australia with a known gent

The F has a Start stop model, with a pretty led display and rpm gauge  



Fm has no power Mirrors and has window winders in the back, and no rear wiper

Mostly all these are 1000cc 1KR powered 


Lesson learnt, 

Do a through check on auction records prior to purchase of a car, I caught my cars issue through the Jevic reading, it had done 88000km, 2 auction sheets one with the altered odo and the other with the real odo, car read 34000 odd km, and boy it looked new,  brand new

My trusty mechanic couldn’t tell it was run either. Tyres matched blah blah, they played the game well, do note I will not reveal the seller as post conflict he took the car and refunded every cent, only thing I lost there was about a week of my time. So the vitz is a properly beat up car in Japan, so most here are too good to be true, heavily run.


Always secondly go for a Toyota Lanka Inspection even if it’s a car off the factory, just to be safe




Well the basic frame and shape has been here since the 2011 model, but is the 1000cc tax cut that made these models common here, it’s a good looking layout true, 

Personally I feel the 2016 model looked better and the 2017 odd models look like a scary grandma on the front, the rear looks cool, 

Especially if you got the led package, it looks like an audi, 


Headlights are either h4 halogen, horrible or the lovely leds with auto dipping and levelling. The styles are different with the years


Also the bumpers are far more securely fastened in the 2017 facelift models but still they tend to hang front and rear both after going in our pillaged roads. So for those with that ocd, it’s never ending, I have it and I know, took apart 3 bumpers, the clips are pristine, the bulk of the bumper and humping the pot holes make them warp a few mm, so u have a noticeable panel gap on the sides.


The tail gate is very well thought after, they open with like minimal protrusion from the bumper length, maybe 1 foot at most, and doors open very wide, and easily, handles and mirrors are shared across the whole Toyota line. Mirrors are kinda wide for a small car, so they ding up easy. Remember to buy a few extra lights.





again no ,major difference between the  2016 and post facelift model, just a change in colour schemes, grey to gloss black, jewela had the fancy colors 

The 2015 model the air vents were different, thereafter they landed with axio style propeller like vents, which break very easy, 


Do note the multifunction wheel buttons are original in the car only if it has the 6 speaker sound system. The swap is very easy, 20min job cost about 10000lkr, but with Chinese parts, the replacement Chinese ribbons last only few 1000km and show airbag lights. Oem parts cost 80000 odd (may vary)

the 6 speaker (tweeter)



Seats, Nicely contoured, bit hard, bland fabrics,  front headrests are sown into the seat bulk up to the f grades, there are many variations on the vitz line, so nothing is certain. Dealer level upgrades and variations as well 

There is space, even when you are 120kg


The double din gap and the steering wheel I find well designed and well placed, giving it a bit of a dynamic vibe, the rest of the dash is like the designer sketched the aqua dashboard in a hurry.


The gauge cluster in the f grade is really dated but does it’s thing ok, nothing to be happy there unless you get the f smart stop or a bigger engine.


Most cars here do not have climate control, despite it being fossil parts, it works well, keeps the region cool, yes you loose a bit of low end power and ears hurt a bit more.


Light colored roof liner, headrests in the rear, typical Toyota stuff. Leg room is ideal  for the size, 

The door cards and dashboard remind you of a plastic dustbin though, they scratch like a lottery and love dust. 


Cargo area, quite large actually. Can accommodate the luggage of like 4, seats 4 easy, if you go 5 you gotta be closely related and malnourished. 

Below the cargo deck there is either a useless puncture kit or a space saver wheel, kit varies with car so I suggest a spare wheel. 


The jack is hidden under the drivers seat, not in the tray, so note that before your curse the fellow who stole the jack during a puncture 


Engine and drivetrain 


Yea so the 1000cc agony, no turbo. No isg, just groaning with the cvt box, 

Well it pulls, after a while, and if you floor it, it can keep up the guy who overtook you for going too slow and showed you the finger, and if you keep flooring it it can shift down and pass him. 

It’s just slow to respond, but certainly not a crawler, but no race car either. It’s just enough for traffic, feels brisk between 30kmph and 100kmph, thereafter it just sits.


It’s the noise, it’s not like this huge engine revving noise, this is like a blown exhaust, leaking cat or a cow giving birth,  something, loud and agonizing, the accelerator pedal is very flimsy, no feel, the car responds late to throttle, thereby it’s like asking a question and waiting for an answer.

The vibration is more prominent on the 2016 models, the 2017 onwards ones have a completely different gel mount, we ll get to know more as the cars age.



They’ve gone really stingy on the sound proofing on the f grade, so it’s like only 50% sound proof thanks to the engine. 

Cold starts give you the creeps, it’s that noisy, Reminds you of a 90s elf.


So in Japan cars come with 0w20 oil, here Toyota recommends 10w30, there’s 5w30 as well so pick your poison, parts are cheap, the oil change costs between 10k to 16k depending on the joint, with genuine parts and synthetic oil. Approx 3.2l

You shouldn’t be driving a car if you don’t know the intervals, 

Tip- almost all new jdm cars have a sticker under the hood, with oil change spec, so start translating

 oil change costs like 16k, agents can handle and recommended, at 40000km

PCV valves get clogged easily, so keep an eye, same goes for the throttle body.


So there are many variants of the 1KR engine, this having the 1KR Fe, 

The competition, Wigo and the Perodua cars have variants, so if interested dive in,




The drive,


The suspension 

Well this is why this thing sells so much. The handling is really nice, feels a bit like a hot hatch (before you start cursing just the HANDLING) , but there is zero compromise on the comfort, it’s sedan matching comfort in a cheap hatch, in local context that’s my bottom line here. 


Road noise is very poorly insulated, has the pathetic dying bird horn, 

A63E8958-CA90-4DA0-AFDD-D98810688938.jpeg.7e0ababa39ac6a9cfc48d80ddb53f11c.jpegUsually the 14 tyres are chunky, so manage to cushion even more, 


The ground clearance is PATHETIC, so unless careful, it rubs everywhere, a good option is to fit mudflaps, they make a noise so you won’t bottom it out suddenly 

The front lip is more or less a sacrificial element, or a painters monthly allowance if you are conscious about the car


They have had no concern on driveways and steep descents when they sketched that.

As I write this, my car has been parked for 2 weeks as they’ve started meddling with the road.

It can manage long journeys with comfort if you have a good stereo and if you drive “Normal”

Do note road presence is less, so from biker to bus driver, no one gives a damn and tend to abuse you, being the small car slogan now.


Turning radius is like a bicycle, so cops will start to smile while they write you up when you do that illegal U turn 


Fuel economy is like 11kmpl in traffic, my first Vitz did 18kml in the highway, yet to test the new car, 

92Oc is specced, 



Toyota Safety Sense

Impressive bit of tech here, extremely intelligent, doesn’t try to kill you, warns many times before braking, lane Change assist, auto wipers and headlights  work very well, I’m sure the high beam algorithm was programmed by a very polite Japanese gent as it never sets high beams, even when it’s needed, good stuff.


Pointers not to get yourself screwed

Carry a spare wheel

Do not go off road, steep slopes and avoid bigger potholes, and rocks on the road, you will feel the impact on your groin and pain on the wallet. If you do well you ll need a new sump or a bellhousing 

Don’t over load the car. 


Try to upgrade to factory multifunction steering, or don’t 

92 is enough 

Jewela is just a trim level, gaudy with chrome


Avoid FM models, they are like lorries, and used for mostly cargo and deliveries all over 

Mileage is almost always faux, get a personal import or a TL verified car 

Or just be very very very thorough, jump all the hoops when buying one. And pray it’s a good one.

If you need help with auction sheets, ask 


It may burn a bit of oil after 50000km ish, 

Use genuine parts.  




It’s a crazy platform, we get a boring variant, like that cousin who became an accountant 

when the others are cardiologists, astronauts and rock stars

Overall it’s a good car, not that refined, reliable, old time true tested stuff. 


Suzuki Hustler 2016 G

2019 Suzuki Hustler Review


Though I had to let it go, this little vehicle made a huge impact on my life, during a difficult time

It deserves a review, it was that good,



Well it’s like this, some like it, some don’t, and I didn’t at first

We had lost almost 2 mil after buying a leaf, into depreciation, so in retaliation this was the only

Reasonable thing I could afford in its place. So giving into my dads idea I did bring her home,

It was red with a black roof, on those puny steel rims


With time I decided to bin the cute look and make it look a bit macho,

Found a set of Suzuki rims, off a sedan, 0.5jj larger making it 5.5jj and increased the tyre size,


I’m sure I gained at least 3 to 4 cm in clearance.

Added a set of tiny low cop radar led fog lights, as I was frequently traveling to hill stations at the time, and a reverse fog as well.

Had to make do with an ornamental roof rack, few carbon fiber wrap work, and matte black paint on the wheels

Loud little Hella Horn was fitted as well, window visors, made a little runt of an suv, 2 door of course lol.


The factory styling,

mine was a G grade, none of the J style bling, but had the fancy led headlights with halos, believe me they turn on when you unlock the car, like a beamer!

It was a matte black village, every exterior plastic was matte to give that off road intent, had a small sill trim that extended up to wheel arches as well,


Rear bumper was again no nonsense, wrapped very close to the body, with a nice trim in the middle,

The bumpers seat very high on these, almost showing off the tyres, giving this rock crawler vibe


It was one confused car,


The interior,


It has this tiny Dox matrix display in the gauge cluster, shows little videos of a hustler going places, adds to the cheer, has a hidden menu, of course in Japanese, has many settings to play with. This is shadowed by the huge speedo, which is the only thing in there


Again heavily influenced by the FJ cruiser, painted plastics, very solid gloss, no play, some panels had a miniature chequer plate pattern, to add, 2 glove boxes and one with a kg mark to allow you to place a laptop,



There is no center floor console, like on those ancient suvs, one can walk across the driver and passenger areas, upon folding the tiny armrest. Which has a tiny hidden compartment as well.


It came with a Chinese head unit, Which I intended to replace but never got the chance, however I installed front and rear cams, for show obviously, as it has so many large  windows for its size, you feel like you are in an aquarium, I used to get murdered by my wife for looking at younger models you know!

It felt so revealing that I had the 4 door shutters heavily tinted and was cursed by my dad repeatedly when he drove it in the night. It had these tiny quarter windows which I left untinted, cops can get a glimpse of inside, thereby had zero issues!


I did manage to upgrade the front speakers with kenwood 2 way speakers, rear door speakers were not there, so did a retrofit of the same, also mounted a set of hertz tweeters to the factory slots,

All into the factory wiring.

I mean there was nothing marvelous with the sound proofing, but it held the sound well, just enough for usual radio and Bluetooth audio,

Mine didn’t have the multi-function steering or cruise control, Auto headlights were ok, self leveling very useful here and there,


The space, that is what it was, that tall boy design, it was like a room inside rear seats move back, compromising inside luggage space, but leg room and headroom, again basically a room for 4

No contours on the seats, making them flat, nice pattern, but hard, and waterproof..


Apparently it was designed to have a makeshift bed at any given time, the front passenger seat has a adhered table on the back, so upon folding flat forwards it can be a table. If you do the same with the corresponding rear set, you have a 6 foot is platform, which Suzuki calls a bed, and gosh the accessories they have for this car, 6 brochures!


Being a kei , rear cargo room is scarce, but redeemable with angry passengers with less leg room.

The luggage area is again heavily cladded with the same mini chequer plate plastic, giving it this premium suv boot feel, and it has these flaps that adjust accordingly to leave a flat surface,

Below this deck, you get a rigid foam pack, with the tyre kit,


And yes you can fit a 15” space saver in a hustler, matter of sliding the rear seats forward

Pull out the foam pack, hide it under your bed, slide the wheel in, then pull the seats back, leg room is reduced by a tiny amount, no one notices it either, the seat tugs the rubber and it is held firmly in. The flaps cover the wheel, and you have the luggage space.


It has a nice roof liner, light color, easy to clean, and 2 tIny dome lights

Even a 12v socket in the very back , suv cues all over.


Rear foot wells are flat, you can basically open the doors and blow the grit away, front may need a vacuum but can survive with a brush,

Sadly the hustler comes with a plush oem carpet set, mine were stolen at port,


Engine and drivetrain,

Well yea with 660cc, cvt and no turbo, one would say it was slow, The difference is the ISG, that thing manages to hold the revs up like an electric turbo, thereby it’s not slow, wagon R owners have told me the hustler is faster, probably the ecu tune as everything else is the same, besides the body and suspension which is entirely different,


The 3 cyl engine was a bit noisy, but no vibrations, and idle stop worked with the isg, thereby no start motor noises, it just instantly kicked the engine in


The hustler never had the adjuster issue as the engine bay is crazy well shielded from below, unless you wake up from a coma and hose the engine bay no issue there, the gearbox feels fine, just a continuous drive, I mean not fast but no jerks, manages hills easy.

Well below the passenger seat on the front, the hybrid battery lives, more or less a house of capacitors, hence why It can be repaired easily. Never had any issues, charged up fully and discharged as well,

The fuel economy, I used 92, it was as per spec, it did 20kmpl at most given times, with idle stop off


The drive,

Well this is the sole reason why I decided to write this review,

The drive feels really nice, composed, firm, tad bit of body roll, bumpy suspension

Handles very well, It was genuinely fun, going to nuwara Eliya to Kandy In it, it was a memorable trip, climbs are nothing, I mean it doesn’t sprint up but 30 to 40kmh it scoots on,


It’s on bad roads and muddy roads that the whole wannabe suv thing comes to play, it has amazing grip and ground clearance, feels like a true off roader, mine was not 4wd either

Where I live the roads are being constantly raped by various govt projects, the workers used to smile when I go about in the hustler as it just skips over mud and ruts they pillage on the road, the floor Pan is flat, so it can fair really well, my dad accidentally parked it on the first stair at my local bank, approach angle that crazy!

Those tiny wipers do a great job cleaning off mud and rain,


What I don’t like,


Very little in fact,

The smart key, makes a  complete fool of the car, tried both keys, halfway across the commutes the car starts looking for the key, so once I flash it near the start button it shuts up, changed many batteries, it’s inherent.

The base carpet is very cheap, and easy to tear, they’ve used a heap of ridged foam to make the floor flat, basically every footwell has a ridged foam insert, if you spill it’s going to seep way down,

And yea a drunk friend spilt a beer, finally had to take all 4 seats apart and put a nice carpet to cover everything, this helped with the road noise too, a style carpet that was intended for the Kdh.


The safety system – sheer hate

If a bus overtakes you, the car decides to stop, simple as that, stop in such a way that you , your passengers and the guy tailgating you; all to have a heart attack, no buzzer warnings

Also it has this great love for bikers, almost with pure emotion. Does anything to spare a bike, even whilst sacrificing its own butt to the route bus or yoghurt lorry , as we’ve all seen on videos. And seeing the bikers we have here, all the adventurous stunts they perform the only solution is to reach for the auto brake off switch.


The 12v battery, the electronics and start stop system really strangle the 12v lump, you ll need one every year, a safe measure would be to turn off idle stop, as it reduces engine. Wear



I really do miss the car, it was a joy in the city, can park in a 3 wheeler space, large doors, easy to climb in and out, extremely easy to clean and wash, nippy on the lights, very unassuming yet also gets a lot of attention. Almost regret the sale, but life is too short to drive a single car.






92 is enough,


Buy the highest grade you can,

Below 30000 to 50000km is the safest

Get the one with the led headlights,

Check the roof, black roofs flake paint easy, thin metal meaning they rot the same.

Check the mileage usual blah, auction sheets,

Make sure the battery is in the car before you purchase it, or clear it from port

If there is a yellow blinking light continuously, indicates charging system fault so first replace the 12v battery, if it doesn’t go away means isg or battery failure. Run

Check the tyres, the oem Dunlop enasaves don’t last long, sidewalls bubble in months

Those steel rims are not that strong, a big pothole can warp them, fellas are selling them by the dozen after this, buy alloys, not those


I suggest maintenance at A*W, they know the car in and out, and use the 5w30 Castrol synthetic oil, change at 10000km, 0w-20 is too thin for our temperatures , up to you

Please Use genuine parts,


Never physically leave your car at the agent or any mechanic, the hybrid battery internals can be removed in 5min with 2 tools and will fit in a pocket,



Buy a spare wheel


Brake pads need replacement every 20000 to 30000 km


Rear liners 60000km


Be careful when leaving parked, They can’t be harvested like wagon R s but mirror covers and the mirror plate are stolen like any car. Whole mirror assembly can’t be removed as the bolts are inside unlike the wagon R


Parts are rare and expensive, especially the 4 lights, worse if led.


175x65x15 tyres will fit the oem 165x60x15 and will have no rub issues, no big speedo error.

Learn how to use google translator


Join the wagon r and hustler fb pages.








Suzuki Vitara 2019 SZT


The Review

So it all started when I decided to replace my Suzuki Hustler,

Nice little car, thus the little part got to me, needed something bigger

Pondered with playing my budget, sell something that I own? Or go new, went behind Merc CLAs, GLB 200s, Nissan Patrol, 150 Prados, CHRs so on, while in the works, a colleague on a visit to my workplace bought one, caught my attention, decided to go see one, then next day that was sold as another colleague took my word for it, saw it and advanced. Well finally after an extended hospital stay due to dengue hemorrhagic fever and its complications, finally made up my mind and imported a new one, fresh off UK.

As usual this won’t be the brochure, so please do tolerate, this is going to be long though,

Please note as I don’t have a professional cam, I’ll use professional promotional pics to make my point

The exterior,

In my personal opinion, it has a boxy look, just like an old school SUV, no sloping roofline, coupe looks etc, plenty of headroom and leg room is also tolerable, my family being mostly obese can fit in,

It has pretty normal looking wheels 17”, with road tyres, 40psi and cladded wheel arches, giving this mild off roady yet practical look, it has lock nuts from factory, discs all around,

One thing you would notice the door sills are huge, about 8 ” wide,

My most favorite feature is the ground clearance, the way they’ve protected the undercarriage gives it ample ground clearance for even mild off roading, wheel articulation is not that good though. Tyres float easily, cross axling is certain

Being the SZT trim, headlights are halogen, same with the fogs, it does have a very appealing set of drls, again it has a practical appearance, nothing fancy, almost a dinosaur when you look at newer pugs and the chr, hence why I love it, I went with the complete white, rather than the fancy 2 tone colours.


The rear door handle is In the right place, in line with the front!

The doors and the clamshell hood close with a very reassuring thump, this model does not have the panoramic sunroof or the safety / autobrake radar guidance kit.

The rear is very simple, huge hatch, button operated, manual pull up and down. Led lights large and simple, I do like the fact the blinkers are hidden in the red taillight


It has a large single reverse light, with an integrated red rear fog light, UK stuff!

Its got large mirrors, power but they don’t fold, no winker lights, just fender indicators

Folks in UK have heaps of good reviews all over as well. One reason I went ahead with it as they abuse their cars mostly.


The interior,


The SZT trim comes with Key start, which again I prefer


Honestly love the interior, very plain, simple lines, the gauge cluster is very pretty functional, old school needles, pleased with the led display in the middle, shiny plastics easily scratched though



Seats are hard but comfortable enough, they are very stingy on carpeting though, but gone ninja on soundproofing, door cards are wide but very plasticky, the upper half of the dash is padded,

Paddle shifters move with the wheel – not a fan, well the steering is telescoping and adjustable and a very nice bit of kit, got all the multifunction luxuries, all lit in a nice red



I feel the interior is extremely well insulated, being UK spec, as It tends to hold a temp for upto 6 hours in the cabin.

There are very recognizable deep footwells, allowing dirt to collect, a vacuum is a must, rear being a bit small but can easily accommodate,

Rear headroom is like in a van, zero issues, and you can easily look out the window unlike the CHR and vezel, or go all german shepherd with it down

The glovebox is nice, the movement is damped, its lit, door cards have some storage,

Rear seats do fold to give a slanted surface and does come in line with the boot, this model doesn’t have a spare wheel, hence the rear load tray can be placed at 3 levels, in one level you can hide the parcel shelf in the floor! Plenty of space in the boot, more than enough for 4 sri Lankan(s)  luggage, again very stingy on the carpet, plenty of storage pockets, the repair kit is also rather small and tiny,


It has a normal headliner, light colour, but very thick door seals,

Overall rear and door trim feels plasticky yet, I mean not even comparable to a euro, but definitely better than a typical new jap, trim parts are firmly fixed, zero play

Geek stuff

Well its got TPMS, fancy MID, nice graphics there, torque power graphs, stuff of swifts! And IDLE stop, which can be delayed permenantly,

Programmable lights, warnings, footwell lights, various blinks on rear lights, wiper timing, aircon levels,

Infact there is a geek fest hidden menu in the MID, many settings to play with, including thank god! UNITs, it has the metric option on demand, and the clock has gps mode and manual mode!

Its got 6 airbags, and fancy seatbelts, and a fest of isofix mounts




This is where the interior shines, the head unit is bosch, with Suzuki software, speakers I’m yet to confirm myself but my sales contact in UK, the sudda said they are sourced off JBL. The sound quality speaks for itself, go test one, don’t believe me. Zero distortion! This will be my first car where I have not replaced the door speakers or head unit, no need for a sub either, the factory software is epic, I had a leaf with BOSE gear, yet I did some changes but this, let it rest

Nothing fancy, no graphics, fancy bits, but loaded with everything, within 4 squares, its even got carplay and android auto, I’m yet to find a way to install a local map to the gps, BT SD cameras, USB, etc it has all

Call integration on this is better than a high end pioneer unit, has a separate steering control pad as well



The engine well, all 1000cc’s of underpowered goodness? Well no, actually I can’t thrash it as its still run a few km and need a break in, doesn’t feel slow, turbo is very responsive, but tiny in person, fits on your palm tiny! With a cute little BOV that whispers

Being a 3 cyl. The engine ain’t noisy, no vibrations either, very impressive, I mean its enough for an SUV, I live up a almost 30 degree incline and it does climb up in 2nd or 3rd gear, the all grip system, is a poor excuse for 4wd, honestly other than auto whatever the mod, its like a dog on skates, sends too much of torque to wheels, everything starts to slip, yet I’ve never got the requirement to run it in 4wd under normal circumstances! Being FWD it just crawls on, just tested it


The gearbox, this thing is like its on meth, constantly playing with the gears, revs the nuts off the engine, its not cvt, conventional, and noticeably jerky, moves gears too fast, very rev happy, loves to kick down and hold a low gear, bad recipe for breaking in

I’m yet to get in sync with it, it loves to run the engine on high revs 2000 and up, which I don’t, it has enough gut to go in low revs, the best part is the paddles respond even when on D, allowing me to go in higher gears at will.

Fuel economy- its got a PPF, so specced at 95 OC , lot of horror stories to come.

10kmpl that’s it for me, near far wherever you are

Brakes, 4 moderately sized discs? What more do I say


Well this is where things change, most people like this, but was a let down for me, It handles like  a car, suspension is not very soft, extremely comfortable, null body roll, very tight on corners, a very fast steering rack, I expected the whole boat bubbly SUV feel which this doesn’t have, probably shares something with the swift, brakes are superb, the engine has a nice little hum, can’t say roar, hell no

Aircon, really good, no drop in power when its on, basic climate control system, simple display works well, no rear vents though but no complaints. Yet to try in Colombo


Very good grip on 2wd mode, putting it on Auto is ok but on other modes is like sticking it in 2nd gear forever, doesn’t freewheel


The horn, sounds like an orgasming cat,

Carpets, it’s an SUV? Why the bloody kei car carpets

Those wide door sills, will break an ankle shortly

Yellowish halogen lamps, many telepathic communications regarding the mom of the guy who decided to put em.

Wheel size, I prefer a chunkier tyre, smaller rim,

Rear seats, can’t slide front and back, hence they’ve permanently left a large boot

That center reverse light, I like a bit of symmetry! UK things,

Bit of padding on the upper part of the doors?

The antenna, of course its got GPS Glonass and all that, but a sharkfin? No option now

The center arm rest flips up to reveal a small bin, where you can’t even shove a wallet in



Again honestly I’m very pleased with it, finding every excuse to put a few km in to ease the break in mileage, it was a win-win for me, as I got it during the GBP dip, I’m hoping to keep this for a long time, probably a decade, and its got bucketloads of accessories online from UK, hence will manage keeping me broke for a long time, and yea I pissed the wife, she liked the small car, buying this I had to leave ‘her vitz’ in the rain as my garage got too crowded, after much torment ended up making a DIY cantilever extension, which managed to hold in this torrential weather and ended me falling of a 8ft ladder, cheers!










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