Considering that the petrol gods long gave up on the South Africa and its exorbitant fuel levies; you, as a savvy car buyer, with R100 000 in hand, have decided to scale down to a more affordable, efficient vehicle. Not to be confused with an uber driver each time you pick up your friends, you decide on a hatch over the sedan. As all the cars in this bracket will most likely be out of factory warranty and maintenance plan, running and repair costs linger in the back of your mind.
The safe option: 2013 Polo Vivo 1.4 Trend Line
The Polo Vivo entered the market as the super sub to the departing Citi Golf, leaving behind a memorable legacy to further on South African roads for low-maintenance motoring. Common problems mainly revolve around appearing utterly mundane in a carpark, in addition to above average cabin noise. Warning: Things may feel depressingly basic when it comes to the interior’s look and feel. This was an entry-level car after all, and not forgetting that it’s a stripped-down polo; however, what you will get in return is the reassurance of reliability that Volkswagen brings to the table. Running costs are well within manageable means with a set of tyres setting you back R5 270 and a major service at approximately R3 500, the equivalent of your entertainment budget for the month, without the hangover. Bonus. If you’re in search of many no-issue kilometres of motoring, and robust practicality over style, then the Vivo is a good choice.
Price – R99 900
Power/Torque – 63kW/132 Nm
Performance – 12.2 seconds 0-100 km/h, 177km/h top speed
Fuel consumption – 6.2 l/100km
Tyre cost – R5270
Service cost – R3500
The good option: 2010 Ford Fiesta Titanium 1.6
Entering the conversation is the seventh-generation Fiesta which was aggressively redesigned in a pleasing way. Since that model’s introduction in 2008, it’s aged gracefully much like an automotive version of Jennifer Lopez. Common issues are less of a concern as opposed to general wear and tear form careless previous owners. The interior was rather futuristic for the time, even if it felt rather artificial, but all that is forgiven as this is a fun car offering all-round comfort, efficiency and safety with a zesty hint of performance. Impressively specced for this segment, coming with 7 airbags as standard, multiple adjustable settings for the driver position along with a sync option for your phone and the audio system, which means you could end up being that person in full disclosure mode at the traffic light for everyone to hear your conversation. A set of tyres and a major service will set you back around R5 890 and R2 600 respectively. Winning.
Price – R95 000
Power/Torque – 88 kW/149 Nm
Performance – 9.9 seconds 0-100 km/h, 193 km/h top speed
Fuel consumption – 5.9 l/100km
Tyre cost – R5890
Service cost – R2600
The wild card option: 2011 Renault Clio Gordini III RS
This is the car that you know may initially upset your significant other and have a high probability of breaking but it’ll be fun, so you’ll consider it anyway. And that’s what ‘rainy day’ reserves are there for anyway. Renaults are meant to be fun and the French have had a flare in building pocket rockets through the years. With its rich racing history and pedigree, the pint-sized Clio Gordini reaffirmed that. There’s no doubt that your street cred will be notched up through knowing nods of approval around the water cooler from the office petrolhead council. French cars do offer great value for money second hand, equally matched by the hostility from naysayers who slate these cars around everything from the price of parts and their availability to the notion that the French eat frog’s legs for dinner. If you find one that has been well looked after, you shouldn’t have too much to be concerned about. You know… one old lady owner…only driven on Sundays…full service history, that kind of thing. Unicorns, yea right. But they are out there. Four new tyres will cost you R8 806 and a major service comes in around R4 865. With a 2.0-litre power plant so meaty that even some vegetarians will consider it an indecent proposal, the Clio Gordini RS is the risk takers move in this price bracket.
Price – R 99 900
Power/Torque – 145 kW/215 Nm
Performance – 6.9 seconds 0-100 km/h, 215 top speed
Fuel consumption – 8.9 l/100km
Tyre cost – R8 806
Service cost – R4 865