These are South Africa’s most affordable 4x4s
HOW IMPORTANT is four wheel drive? That depends greatly on where you live, where you drive, and whether you think Timberland is a brand of boots or a hip-hop artist. Four- or all-wheel drive is often associated with burly bakkies and expensive SUVs, but there are some affordable options right down at the bottom end of our price guide. Here’s a list of the five cheapest four-wheel drive vehicles available in South Africa:
1. Mahindra Thar - R219 995
The Thar may look like a blatant rip-off of a Jeep, and indeed it is, but it does come with some genuine bundu-bashing credentials. Power comes from a fairly basic 79kW/247Nm 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine, but its five-speed manual gearbox drives through a robust Borg Warner 4WD transfer case with low range gearing. Approach and departure angles are quoted at 44 and 27 degrees respectively and it can wade in water up to half a metre deep, meaning this Indian-made Wrangler lookalike should be able to hang with some much more expensive machinery off the beaten track. 2. Fiat Panda 4x4 - R229 900 The new Fiat Panda range officially only launches locally next week, but when it does the base 4x4 model will slot into this list in second place. The new Panda 4x4, like the original Panda Climbing from 2005, is a micro-softroader based on the regular five-door hatchback’s underpinnings. It’s predominantly a front-wheel driver, with 63kW coming from a tiny two-cylinder turbo engine, but some power is automatically sent to the rear axle when extra traction is needed. Continued on Page 3
Fiat Panda 4x4 (left) starts at just under 230 grand.