BUY­ING A 4x4 FOR UN­DER R200 000

Leisure Wheels (South Africa) - - MAIL - Jo­hann Smal­berger Mos­sel Bay

Your re­cent ar­ti­cles on buy­ing spe­cific ve­hi­cles be­low a cer­tain thresh­old, made me de­cide to write this let­ter about my own ex­pe­ri­ence in buy­ing a sec­ond­hand 4×4 SUV for be­low R200 000.

To­wards the end of last year, I de­cided to de­crease our fixed monthly ex­penses and the axe fell on my Amarok Dou­ble Cab 4Mo­tion, which was the only ve­hi­cle on a lease in our fleet of five. My plan was to use what­ever was left over af­ter the bank had been paid off to buy an­other ve­hi­cle.

I sold the Amarok on the in­ter­net eas­ily and with R200 000 in my bank ac­count, I started search­ing for a ve­hi­cle over the Christ­mas pe­riod. My only way of find­ing a suit­able ve­hi­cle was through the in­ter­net, as I live in Mos­sel Bay.

I HAD VERY SPE­CIFIC CRI­TE­RIA:

Max­i­mum pur­chase price to not ex­ceed R200 000. Must be a 4×4 with low range. Must have a full ser­vice his­tory. Prefer­ably less than 100 000km. Prefer­ably diesel and man­ual trans­mis­sion.

Any brand, bar Chinese and In­dian, as long as the above cri­te­ria are met.

I looked at thou­sands of ve­hi­cles, across all brands on the in­ter­net and soon re­alised that most ve­hi­cles were ei­ther in very bad con­di­tion or had done in ex­cess of 200 000km. It was mostly the brands with a lower re­sale value that met my cri­te­ria. I drew up at least three short­lists and com­man­deered all friends and rel­a­tives, liv­ing in Gaut­eng or the West­ern Cape to in­spect and test drive the ve­hi­cles on my short­list.

In the end, I set­tled on a 2009 Jeep Chero­kee 2.8 CRD Lim­ited for R196 000 and 97 000km on the clock. It was one of the few ve­hi­cles that met my cri­te­ria 100% and that was still in a very good con­di­tion. Sure, it is by no means per­fect, with some scratches here and there, but it is me­chan­i­cally sound with no rust, has not been in an ac­ci­dent and has 4x4 ca­pa­bil­ity with low range.

SOME LESSONS THAT I LEARNT THROUGH THIS PUR­CHASE:

Never pur­chase a ve­hi­cle with­out a full ser­vice his­tory. I found many in­stances where I was al­most cer­tain that the odome­ter was turned back and in ev­ery in­stance there was no ser­vice record.

Do not be­lieve pho­to­graphs as they can be ma­nip­u­lated to hide scratches dents and rust.

In­sist that the ve­hi­cle be in­spected by a rep­utable com­pany, be­fore you pur­chase.

Do not get fix­ated on a spe­cific brand, there might be other brands with bet­ter value for money.

Draw up cri­te­ria and stick to it.

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