The Toyota WISH is the new Toyota Ipsum; the most sought after car by Ugandan car buyers. The reason for the love being showered on the new car on the road is perhaps easy to see. Like the Ipsum, the WISH is riding on the Toyota name in a market where the belief is that one cannot go wrong with Toyota.
The WISH is one of those cars that as successful in Uganda as they have been in Japan. It has consistently been ranked in the top five best-selling cars in Japan. Locally, it has out-muscled the Mazda Premacy as it has done in Japan. The car was marketed under the `Wish Comes True’ slogan.
Specifically, however, the WISH has done better that say the Toyota Fielder, Toyota ProBox, or even the Toyota Gaia and Nadia. Like all these, the WISH is a Compact Multi-Purpose vehicle (MPV) but within the family of compact cars, it is smaller than them but bigger than the Toyota Spacio.
The WISH’s biggest attraction appears to be fuel economy. Almost every car dealer peddles its VVT-i engine and goes on and on about how it only needs to sniff petrol to get rolling. The engine and gearbox design have been criticized as old-fashioned but they are reliable. It has an estimated fuel consumption of around 14kms per litre depending on make and driving style where most cars offer only 11kms per litre.
In fact, it is here that the WISH’s real pedigree is revealed as it is closer to the early 2000s Toyota Caldina than the Ipsum. This is especially so for the first generation WISH; manufactured between 2003 to 2009. These are the most common on Ugandan roads.
This one had a smaller a 1800cc in the first generation Toyota 1ZZ-FE engine. It is only available with four-speed automatic. This effectively means this generation of WISH sacrifices power for fuel saving.
It also means missing out on Toyota’s D-4 technology. Variants with the 2.0 D-4 engine are only available with a CVT gearbox.
For a little more acceleration power, one needs to move into the second-generation WISH bracket which was manufactured from 2009 to date. This one often carries the oval Toyota NETZ; similar to some Toyota Rav4s and the trending Toyota ist, instead of the usual three oval Toyota logo. This is simply because when Toyota released the Second Generation WISH in 2009, it offered it for the Japanese domestic market through its Toyota NETZ dealership. It is powered by Toyota’s Dual VVT-i 2ZR-FAE and 3ZR-FAE engines. All models come with Toyota’s 7-speed Super CVT-i transmission.
But the other main attraction of the WISH is its roomier feel. This is achieved, as in most MPVs, by cutting on bonnet length, and ensuring that seats have a more upright positioning than in regular cars. The exterior dimensions remain similar to the previous generation, except for the length which has increased slightly. The seats may also be easily folded or removed individually. It is comfortable for 6-7 occupants, efficient in function, especially fuel consumption, and pocket friendly at purchase. The cargo space is tiny, though. But it offers a smooth, low noise ride as gears shift effortlessly. Althyough it looks great outside, it is basic inside. The 3rd has no AC, the dashboard is plastic, and wheels and rims a small 15”.
The WISH was updated at the end of 2013 with the introduction of a face lifted model. Cosmetic changes to the headlights and rear lamps featured LED insets, revised front grille, rear tailgate garnish and dashboard meter cluster were made. Sales of the WISH was discontinued in in some markets in 2016 and replaced by the Sienta.