Why Uganda's security agencies have fallen in love with the "Drone" van


You have probably seen a tinted, box like van pursuing Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine on the campaign trail. It is usually packed with security operatives trying to monitor each and every move of the youthful politician.

The van is locally referred to as "a drone" because it is compact and stable under extreme conditions. It is also very fast. Technically though, it is a Toyota Hiace, which is usually used for commercial purposes.

It was introduced to the world market in 1967 by Toyota company. There have been many iterations of the vehicle, including a minibus, panel van and MPV. Around the world it has been used as a light carrier as an ambulance as a taxi and even as a touring van.

Engine and mileage

There are various powerful engines with the Toyota Hiace line with each new release increasing in power and improving fuel consumption.

The most popular ones are the 2.0L 1RZ and the 3. OL turbocharged 1KZ-TE. The Toyota Hiace has a very enduring vehicle and is useable even at higher mileage of 150000km and above.

Models and generations

Each Hiace model comes with a certain feature added. The base model is the DX, with the GL and super GL being upmarket versions. The model number also relates to the engine.

Toyota Hiace are in generations from, 1967-1977 H10, Toyota Hiace second generation H20-H40 (Dec 1977-Nov1982) Toyota Hiace third generation H50 (Dec. 1982-Jun.1989, 2004, 2009,

Power and space

Every Toyota Hiace comes with the power needed for commercial and commuter needs. The newer versions come with twice as much as horsepower as the original Hiace with a cargo space increased.

Reliability and maintenance

As with Toyota vehicles, the Hiace reliability is exemplary. It can take a lot of punishment from the road and elements before requiring repairs and it can work with most synthetic oils and lubricants, a quality desirable in commercial vehicles.

Let’s focus on the Toyota Minibus Also called: Hiace Bus, Hiace Commuter Drone

Common Uses

Hospital van, School van, Company staff bus, Public transport vehicle.

Features: SRS Airbags, ABS braking, and vehicle stability control, 2.0L gas or 3.0L turbodiesel engine, five speed manual or 6 speed automatic transmission, can carry either 12 or 14 passengers, air-conditioning.

This was launched and marketed as a people carrier. It was the comfort option of the Hiace and was designed to ride better than the commercial van, with relatively the same amount of power. The commuter Hiace in the third generation can be touted as the precursor of sorts to the minibus.

This was confirmed with the launch of the fourth generation 15 seat super long wheel base high roof minibus in 1989. This came with either a 2.0L gas, or 3.0L turbodiesel engine.

The newer versions came with more power up to 160HP and a 5-speed manual gearbox. The diesel version gets a four-speed automatic with the gas variant getting a 6-speed automatic instead.

There have been improvements to the original minibus, with focus being on comfort and passenger space. The amount of seating has been reduced for the 2019 version for instance with focus on passenger space and leg room. You get a choice between a 12 and a 14-seater.

It comes with air conditioning as standard and foldable second row of seats for more active luggage space. There is more space in the front for the driver, with storage cubbies and cup holders.

You also get a 3-inch display with connectivity and rear camera view. Safety features include ABS braking, airbags and vehicle stability control.

You also get reverse sensors, hill and parking assist as standard. The minibus also comes with air conditioning for the rear seats as standard, and a power sliding door with the controls reachable by the driver.

In Uganda, drones have been in spot of being used by kidnappers and security intelligence task force picking up suspects of different cases filed or alleged against them. With recent rampant kidnaps especially on people aliened to the opposition fiercest party National Unity Platform (NUP).

It is alleged that drone cars have of late been feared on sight by the people in the public domain. When seen people flee for lives. Images starting to circulate on social media urging people to run when one sees drone cars.

Reader's Comments