Seven safe, small cars for your student’s driving needs
YOUR son or daughter is matriculating this year and the degree he or she wants to do is offered only at the University of the Free State.
If the student body allows universities to open next year, you would like your children to come home every now and then, but they don’t have a car.
You would like to buy one for them to use because your wife’s Mazda is 19 years old and only makes it to Howick if driven slowly and carefully.
Your children would love a car, preferably a red BMW 220 coupe.
As a responsible father you explain that, if you bought such a car there could be no higher education and they would immediately have to find a job delivering pizzas, or selling the new book on government in South Africa called Buy the Beloved Country.
So they agree to a cheaper car and you commence the search.
We would advise that you look at cars with a record of reliability and at least some safety features.
The AA in a recent research paper suggests that ABS, a body frame to protect passengers and air bags are the basic safety features to go for.
It should also be the kind of car that you would feel comfortable buying second-hand at two or three years old.
We have attempted to find cars that are under R150 000, if you can afford to go to R200 000 the list expands greatly.
Not all of the cars selected have the safety features the AA recommends, but they are good reliable vehicles with sound reputations.
Also the list is not exhaustive; there are many other good cars out there that you might look at. As to pricing, with the disappearing rand and rising costs our pricing should be regarded as approximate, but remember it’s a buyer’s market — so negotiate.
• Chev Spark. The 1,2-litre Campus is more sophisticated than its predecessors and nice to drive. At R137 400 it is good value.
• Citroen C1. This is a stylish and sophisticated city car but a little small at the back. The VTi51kW Feel comes in at R149 900
• Datsun Go. Very affordable and has the backing of Nissan. However, the entry 1,2-litre Mid has no air bags or ABS but costs only R104 900
• Honda Brio Hatch 1,2-litre Trend. Honda comes with a huge international reputation for reliability and durability. You could probably buy a two or three-year-old without worrying too much about breakdowns. The car comes in at R144 300 and after your daughter has finished with it, you could probably pass it on to a younger son.
• Kia Picanto one-litre LS. This car has excellent build quality, an upmarket cabin and adequate space for four adults. Don’t let the small engine fool you; it will make it home with ease. It comes in at R130 000. However, it has no ABS.
• Renault Sandero 66 kW turbo Expression is good value and has everything you need for a safe drive. The entry model is R142 900
• Suzuki Celerio one-litre GA. Robust little car made for the Third World, very popular in India. Pleasant to drive. It costs R129 900.
Good Luck and happy negotiating.
• Brian Bassett