So you want a nice hatch?

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

The Fiat 500 Abarth 595 Turismo 1,4T sells for R371 990 with an auto box, which in­cludes a 3-year/100 000km war­ranty and main­te­nance plan. The Abarth out han­dles, out ac­cel­er­ates and out jeeh-haws any other lit­tle hatch out there to­day. Its only mi­nus point is that the Ital­ians added a lot of lightness to make all that re­spon­sive hand­ing pos­si­ble, and it shows when com­pared with the com­pet­ing Opel Adam S 1,4T (be­low), which sells for R330 000, or a grand less for the S-less but equally fun Adam 1,4T. There are five Adam mod­els, all with a 5-year or 120 000km war­ran­tee and a 3-year or 60 000 km ser­vice plan. Wheels rec­om­mends the 1,0-litre, which is fan­tas­tic. Note, none of the Adams come in auto — you have to give them stick. The build qual­ity is bet­ter and even the en­try level Adam 1,0T packs more gad­gets than the Abarth, but this also make the lit­tle Opel a tad slower and the fuel-ef­fi­cient ra­tios mean even the most ex­pe­ri­enced il­le­gal drag racer will strug­gle to snap-shift the Adam R’s gears from first to third. The Hyundai i10 (left), shown here af­ter driv­ing a wet Sani Pass, is a favourite on the rental car floor and has been our bud­get hatch of choice for sev­eral years run­ning. The 55 kW/99 Nm i10 au­to­matic now sells for R169 900, with a 5-year/150 000 km war­ranty, which is also of­fered by the Kia Pi­canto 1.0 auto, but for R95 more. The edges on the facelifted Pi­canto, how­ever show where the money went. De­spite these two Kore­ans’ hard­earned rep­u­ta­tion, their re­sales are only slowly catch­ing up with their new prices. Even a used City Golf, like this 1986 1600 Sport, still rates as one of the most re­spon­sive hatches to heel­toe-heel out of a corner, and is yours for R19 500 on OLX, with bucket seats. Parts to fix a Golf are in ev­ery store. Just be sure to park this model in a garage, for thieves also still love these 1980 clas­sics. In SA, no hatch is cheaper, or cuter, than the Geely LC 1,0 — yours for R92 990 with a 3-year/100 000 km war­ranty. In­side there are hug­ging seats, air­con, a ra­dio with a USB slot and even park dis­tance con­trol. The best sur­prise, how­ever, is how it all comes to­gether when you push the en­gine be­hind 3 000 revs. The skinny 165/60 R14 tyres pull hard up front while the light cabin sits well on a rear hy­brid link to re­mind one of the City Golf’s glory days. The re­sale value on this lit­tle Chi­nese? You are kid­ding, right? The VW Polo (shown above as raced by Shel­don van der Linde in the Polo Cup) is SA’s top-sell­ing car. Last month, 3 459 peo­ple bought a Polo in SA and 6 004 units were ex­ported. Thanks to this de­mand, the hatch retains its value bet­ter than most hatches on the used mar­ket. The 63-kw Polo Vivo Hatch Trend­line costs R189 450 with a six-speed Tip­tronic, which can give about 20 km/l thanks to 175 Nm from just over 1 500 revs. Large 215/45 R16 tyres also do not no­tice pot­holes that much. VW’s 3-year/120 000 km war­ranty is re­spectable, as is the 3-year or 45 000 km ser­vice plan. • If you do not de­mand an auto, Wheels rec­om­mends not a Polo, but the 2015 Best Bud­get Car, Toy­ota’s Etios, (shown right in race mode). Toy­ota wants R152 000 for the 1,5 Xi. Granted, the measly 66 kW/132 Nm from the ro­bust 1 496 cc en­gine in the Etios will not blow any­one’s hair back, and nor is Toy­ota’s 3-year/100 000 km war­ranty and 2-year/30 000 km ser­vice plan as good as that of VW, but Toy­ota has more deal­ers and this hatch from In­dia does thrive as a Wit­ness staff car. At R154 700 with a 2-year or 30 000 km war­ranty, the Suzuki Cele­rio is the cheap­est “au­to­matic” hatch in SA, with 50 kW and 90 Nm from the 980 cc en­gine. The gears are shifted elec­tron­i­cally by an elec­tro-hy­draulic shift ac­tu­a­tor mounted atop the reg­u­lar five-speed gear­box that re­port­edly works well on In­dia’s clogged roads. On SA’s faster roads, the re­sults are less pleas­ing, with glacial gear changes, much like those in the first Smart car. Un­less your knees de­mand an auto, pay only R138 900 for a man­ual Re­nault San­dero, which comes with a 5-year/150 000 km war­ranty and a 2-year/30 000 km ser­vice plan and is, as we re­ported in Wheels last week, able on the N3 and eager on dirt roads, with boot space and leg room to spare. Ideal then, for the re­tired cou­ple who go away on week­ends or the young friends on their way to Splashy. Fen. If you are also still lik­ing the City Golf, may we rather rec­om­mend the Dat­sun Go (right) and the Tata Bolt (be­low). Com­pared to the ever-pop­u­lar City Golf, both the Dat­sun for R104 900 and the Tata for R146 995 are the bet­ter cars by far, even in a crash, thanks to mod­ern crum­ple zones. (But bear in mind, small cars al­ways come sec­ond.) Se­cu­rity com­pa­nies love the Dat­sun for its low price and lower run­ning costs. The Go now sells on a 72-month plan R2 499/m for the Go and R2 799/m for the Lux. Wheels, how­ever, prefers the Bolt, for in that R40 k price dif­fer­ence are ABS brakes, (which do help on wet roads), and a 5-year or 100 000 km war­ranty and 2-year or 30 000 ser­vice plan. On the same wet spot the Go’s brakes will just lock up and its war­ranty is shorter — 3 years or 100 000 km, with op­tional ser­vice plans avail­able. We still ad­mite how, when the Bolt launched, the im­porters chal­lenged all mo­tor hacks to see who could get the most from each litre, in the process prov­ing any care­ful driver will get over 20 km/litre in a Bolt, a claim that can­not be made by many of the Bolt’s com­peti­tors that sell for un­der R150 000. Good in­dus­trial de­sign means less is more and form fol­lows func­tion. The three-door VW UP! for R152 500 epit­o­mises these de­sign tenets and the fru­gal­ity from its 1.0 55 kW en­gine has to be ex­pe­ri­enced to be be­lieved. But three doors are two too few for most South Africans, which is why VW added four new mod­els — all with five-doors as shown. The Cross UP! costs R181 400 with its big­ger wheels and 166 mm ground height. Stan­dard safety and con­ve­nience fea­tures on all in­clude four air bags, ESP, power steer­ing, front elec­tric win­dows, re­mote cen­tral lock­ing and ra­dio/CD, with a war­ranty of 3 years or 120 000 km, and op­tional ser­vice plan.

PHOTO: QUICKPIC

You want all the air bags you can get for the leasr money

PHOTO: AMIR WALD/KIA

PHOTO: GEELY

… or do you want some re­sale value with that?

… with proven his­tory and a long war­ranty?

PHOTO: OLX

PHO­TOS: SUP­PLIED

PHO­TOS: SUP­PLIED

PHO­TOS: SUP­PLIED

PHO­TOS: SUP­PLIED

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