So you want a cheap car?
Answer the questions below to find a car that will take you places for less than R150 000
“WHAT is a cheap, reliable car to buy?” This is a question we get as often from young people just starting their careers as we get from pensioners.
The short answer is any used car bought from a car dealer that has been doing business for a decade or more and maintains its own workshop.
But for those who insist on a new car, answer the questions below to find a car that will take you to where you want to go for less than R150 000.
With one exception, these cars are hatchbacks — the second most practical shape for a car after a panel van — with small engines that just sip petrol. Safety systems are minimal, but on average still better than any of the many 15-year-old models still filling our roads.
The Changan is the mini-van among the hatches. Admittedly, this is not latest nor safest in technology from China. The robust 1,3 petrol (60 kW/102 Nm) offers 12 km/l, which is okay rather than impressive and the warranty is a short one-year or 60 000 km. But this little workhorse does offer entry into the world of vans for the young musician or pensioned pet transporter at only R155 000. Do you need seats, or seats and space?
Are you a bargain hunter, or a loyal brand valuer? For some, at R107 000, the Datsun Go is the, erm, go-to car for young and old buyers alike. Its 1,2 petrol makes 50 kW/104 Nm. Consumption is some 20 km a litre in the city, the doors open wide, while its three-year or 100 000 km warranty is a tad on the low side among the competitors.
Selling for about R125 000, the Renault Kwid has a little 0,9 engine that packs 50 kW and 91 Nm. Made for city traffic, it gives well over 22 km a litre and comes with a five-year or 150 000 km warranty. Renault is currently offering R2k/m balloon payments at 11,13% interest and a 35% residual. Do not use balloon payments unless you want to keep paying for life, even as you change models.
BAIC is, as yet, a dark horse in SA, but on paper this looks a very rewarding car considering the price. This one is for buyers willing to brave the unknown. A modern 1,3 petrol engine makes 75 kW and 128 Nm from a relatively low 3 800 rpm. It sells with a five-year or 120 000 km warranty.
The Mitsubishi Mirage is so rare on SA’s roads, it is almost a literal mirage. Selling for a recommended R150 000, dealers are offering substantial discounts, and this small hatch offers a high revving 1,2 petrol engine that makes a useful 57 kW and 100 Nm, yet gives over 20 km per litre. Like the Brio, it sells with a three-year or 100 000 km warranty and a twoyear 30 000 km service plan. ... or a brand valuer, but not that loyal?
Demo models for under R150 000 abound, but we can recommend either a Toyota Etios or a Renault Sandero. Both retail for over R160 000, but can be found for under R150 000. While you are kicking the wheels, check out the Tata Bolt because they have built a lot of economy in this little high-backed sedan.
With Chevrolet withdrawing from SA at year end, dealers are struggling to sell the Spark, which still offers excellent value. All Chevs sell with a five-year or 120 000 km warranty and GM will have parts available for at least a decade. Meanwhile, dealers are offering fantastic deals on its recommended retail price, starting at just over R141 000.
Honda officially wants R156 000 for its Brio 1,2, but as we like to remind you, its a buyer’s market and discounts are there for the asking. The sweet petrol mills out 65 kW and 109 Nm, with fuel economy just shy of 20km/l while Honda’s five-year or 200 000 km warranty and two-year 30 000 km service plan are standard.