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Toyota Aqua Hybrid – The Most Economical Car in Trinidad and Tobago

by | Sep 4, 2020 | The Blog Shop, Trinidad and Tobago

Two years ago, it was time for me to purchase a vehicle.

Running a green initiative company (My Virtual Office) for the last 13 years, and being a person who consciously places attention on reducing my carbon footprint, I wanted to buy a fully electric car. I have had my reservations about doing that this time, mostly because, 1. I was not sure if Trinidad was ready for it – no stop-off charging stations, and 2. I live in an apartment building and there are no outlets where I park.

I have not totally dismissed this idea, though. Timing and environment – location, can change everything!

So, there I was, ready to purchase a vehicle. Something about the Aqua has always caught my eye, and my ears. I have always appreciated the lack of engine noise when she passed. That really caught my attention!

To hybrid or not to hybrid.

I also saw a flashy, red Ignis, with all the bells and whistles! It’s a small SUV-looking vehicle that screamed my name! What to do? What to do?

Some people said to go straight to the dealer! Buy brand new. Rotate the loan after 5 years. You deserve a band new car! But calm voices from two good people who always seek my interest said, “Don’t get tied into a 5 to 7-year loan. Live within your means. As soon as you drive that vehicle out of the dealer’s yard it devalues. Go foreign used. And take the shortest bank loan that you can manage so you can free yourself from that bank debt in the shortest time.”

I sat. I thought. I decided.

Foreign used – and an Aqua at that!

It’s the best decision I’ve ever made!

What I have learned from driving a hybrid vehicle

If you want to get the best gas mileage out of your hybrid, learn your dashboard and drive responsibly.

I get the most out of my hybrid driving in places like Chaguanas because there are few to no traffic lights. It is a residential and business mixed area so 80 and 100 km/h is not — should not, be an option, so evo clicks in more often, which means I use little or no gas.

She’s small, so parking is never an issue.

She’s small, but her trunk space blows my mind every time I need it.

She’s small, so sometimes while heading up the highway to Port of Spain I can feel her lightness with the wind shear – 2 hands on the wheel fixes that, but when I reach Port of Spain, by the market, and all slows down to a crawl, my battery is fully topped up, and I can silently and gracefully cruise on battery with no gas usage until I get onto the Foreshore.

Now let’s talk about Port of Spain and environs, like Diego Martin and traffic lights.

Remember, I said, “Learn your dashboard.”?

Every time you stop at a red traffic light you have to pull off when it turns green. Non hybrid people won’t understand that pulling off should be a gradual thing. Trinis like to mash and go! But in my hybrid Aqua, the dash tells me when I’m going into Power mode. Into the red. And Red = gas consumption. It shows me how I can do a gradual acceleration to reach my optimum speed without burning gas. But …if I do this on roads like the Foreshore, woe betide me! Blaring horns from behind! Hurry up! Mash gas! I mean, how far and fast do you really think you can go to reach 80 km/h before you hit the lights by Peakes?! After that the speed limit is 50 km!

I’m not saying people in Chaguanas don’t speed. I’m saying we don’t really have the stretch of road on which to do it. Roundabout here. Roundabout there. There’s only one way out to Port of Spain, so almost all vehicles have to head to the Medford gas station where you end up at a crawl, and I get to cruise through in evo mode. ALL battery!

Moral of the story is that I burn more gas in POS and Diego Martin than in Chaguanas, and put way less gas in my hybrid Aqua than in a regular vehicle.

Vehicle Features

  • Push-button start,
  • EV mode – city driving using electricity,
  • Eco mode – limits throttle response from heavy acceleration and can also limit the power used by your A/C,
  • Key free entry,
  • $90 to $100 TT$ every 2 to 3 weeks in gas, and that’s only because I don’t like a gas tank to go down to quarter,
  • BIG speedometer display so I can check to keep below the speed limit – there’s another blog coming on this topic,
  • Huge trunk area with rear seats that individually fold down if more is needed.

Have I mentioned that it’s a 4-year loan so I’m free from that debt after 4 years?

So if you are considering whether to go hybrid or not, GO HYBRID!

If you are looking for a vehicle that is economical on the pocket and on the gas consumption, GO AQUA HYBRID!

As I said, it is the BEST decision I have ever made!

Elise Farrell is the Principal Blogger at The Blog Shop.

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