Bud­get buys

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - SIBONELO MYENI

iTHALA Bank has a new PS2PS Ve­hi­cle Fi­nance Pack­age.

A R3 800 monthly in­stall­ment (no de­posit, no resid­ual) qual­i­fies a buyer to buy a hatch worth R190 000.

We se­lected the three best hatch models at this price i.e. Re­nault San­dero Step­way Dy­namique at R189 900, the Toy­ota Etios Sprint HB at R174 300 and VW’s Polo Vivo Hatch Street at R185 800.

The most ex­pen­sive in this group, the Step­way com­petes with the higher spec Vivo Maxx and Etios Cross but those are above R190 000 and there­fore don’t qual­ify.

Ex­te­rior

The San­dero is the best looker of the 3 how­ever the Vivo Street has more street cred.

We found more ladies loved the San­dero and guys loved the Vivo with most stat­ing its eas­ier to mod­ify. The Etios comes 3rd to the tied 2 ri­vals.

In­te­rior

The San­dero is a clear win­ner in this cat­e­gory even out­class­ing its more ex­pen­sive nat­u­ral ri­vals (Maxx and Cross).

The San­dero and Etios have more space in­side than the Polo; which strug­gles to fit five adults com­fort­ably. All models come stan­dard with re­mote cen­tral lock­ing, A/C, USB/CD/Blue­tooth/Ra­dio.

The Vivo gets tilt and reach ad­justable power steering whilst the Etios and San­dero are only tilt. Man­ual win­dows & mir­ror con­trol let the Vivo down as com­pared to all elec­tric set-ups for its ri­vals.

The San­dero gains a big chuck over its ri­vals with stan­dard Touch­screen In­fo­tain­ment with Nav­i­ga­tion, on board com­puter, satel­lite con­trols for its au­dio, Cruise con­trol, speed lim­iter, park­ing sen­sors, height ad­justable driv­ers seat, arm rest (fid­dly though and looks like an af­ter­thought).

The Vivo gets a nice to hold leather steering wheel.

All three models have fold­ing rear seats with the San­dero and Etios hav­ing bet­ter boot space.

Safety is catered for with front airbags, ABS, 3-point seat­belts, Isofix Child restraint sys­tem com­ing stan­dard but the San­dero takes things fur­ther with Hill­start As­sist, EBA, ESP, ASR and front side airbags.

Per­for­mance

The 66kW/132Nm 1.5-litre 4-cylin­der en­gine Etios Sprint feels more sprightly, rarely need­ing changes on in­clines even with a load. The en­gine does suf­fer on re­fine­ment though. The 63kW/132Nm 1.4-litre 4-cylin­der en­gine Vivo is more re­fined but it feels less ea­ger to main­tain speed.

The 66kW/135Nm 1.0-litre 3-cylin­der en­gine San­dero is on par with the Etios on per­for­mance and ahead of both on re­fine­ment.

Its power sap­ping Eco mode is use­ful for sav­ing fuel but blunts per­for­mance. At high alti­tude (GP), the San­dero will lose less power due to its Turbo motor. All models are quite ef­fi­cient on fuel.

Drive

The Etios and San­dero bet­ter cope with Mzansi’s bad roads whilst the lower sus­pen­sion Vivo will likely pre­fer tar only.

The Etios’ buzzing en­gine does im­pact neg­a­tively on longdis­tance travel how­ever long gears made it easy to drive.

The spec-laden San­dero of­fers bet­ter re­fine­ment but its higher ground clear­ance, so good for gravel roads, makes it sway more than the other two in spir­ited driv­ing.

Value for money

The San­dero is the most ex­pen­sive of the trio (R25k dearer than Etios, R4 100 dearer than Vivo) but it does counter with a much higher spec kit.

Both the Etios and San­dero come stan­dard with a ser­vice plan (2 year/30 000km) whilst the Vivo has none.

The San­dero comes with a 5-year /150 000 km war­ranty, Etios with a 3 year/100 000km war­ranty and the Vivo Street of­fers a 3 year/120 000km.

Which one for you?

The cheaper Etios makes more sense for the com­muter who just wants to get to point B re­li­ably with air­con and power steering.

The Vivo is the street cred model, which con­tin­u­ally out­sells its ri­vals.

Most of th­ese models are pimped up al­most as soon as they leave the show­room floor how­ever their pop­u­lar­ity with thieves is a let down.

The San­dero of­fers the most stan­dard kit and safety equip­ment, while its ride height make it eas­ier to live with on tar and gravel roads. As a com­plete pack­age, the San­dero wins on the virtue of its spec list and re­fine­ment.

• Tune in to Sibonelo Myeni on Ukhozi FM, Thurs­days from 7.45 am.

PHO­TOS: SUP­PLIED

From left: The Polo Vivo, Toy­ota Etios and Re­nault San­dero hatch­backs all of­fer good value, but over­all, the Re­nault leaves the other two be­hind.

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