MAKING IT EASY: Need to choose a new ride? Here are 24 options for less than R200 000 in South Africa. Image: iStock
Cape Town - With Matriculants still riding high following the success of their final school year, parents are already thinking about their children's lives after high-school.
Whether your child is choosing to study at a university, taking a gap year or completing an internship, chances are they'll need a car.
With several options available in South Africa's new car market, we look at models priced from R100 000 to R200 000 in SA.
Included in this article is a list of car-buying advice ranging from what to look for in terms of vehicle safety, as well as how to go about searching for the perfect model.
A word of caution to parents though - without proper budgeting and research, purchasing a car (whether used or new) can become a debt trap. We urge parents and matriculants to give a new car purchase serious thought and also consider the used car market.
READ: Matriculant in the family? Your guide to buying a first car
But first, let's look at the 'entry-level' options.
R100 000 - R150 00
The number of options are available in the R100 000 to R150 000 price bracket can make choosing the right vehicle a daunting task.
The Datsun Go 1.2 Mid is by far the cheapest (R106 900) though only the higher-specced version is fitted with an airbag as standard. Renault's new Kwid, which performed well in its first month (launched late in 2016) offers two derivatives at R119k and R129k, respectively. Another Renault, the Sandero, is perhaps the safer option on the list despite a price tag just shy of R148 000.
READ: Renault's budget Kwid: A unique approach to ‘entry-level' car
Suzuki's Celerio is another budget-beater, being the first car on the list to offer two airbags for nearly R8000 less than the Chevrolet Spark
The Mahindra KUV100 is the most expensive slightly less than R150 000 but it is a good alternative, and larger, than its rivals - albeit quirky.
Many models have derivatives that also fall within the price bracket below:
Regardless of the thousands of vehicles sold each month, many South Africans are unable to purchase a vehicle at current prices, even those labeled as 'budget/entry level'. There are many options in the used-car market provided you do your research before purchasing. Car ownership involves much more than monthly repayments; there's insurance, fuel and maintenance to consider.
A more affordable second-hand car will ease your monthly budget.
Maintenance goes hand-in-hand with affordability. Chances are that a used-car will be out of a maintenance and/or service plan - this means that all necessary repairs will have to be paid for. Choose a car with a Full Service History (FSH) and a strong national dealer network. Research what basic maintenance costs you might incur - don't choose a vehicle based on looks and perceived quality.
READ: These are SA's most common car problems - What's yours?
From new tyres to transmission issues, ensure that your budget can cover an out-of-warranty vehicle if repairs are needed.
Gone are the days when drivers had to contend with a YOLO attitude behind the wheel of a vehicle with minimal safety features. Considering South Africa's horrendous road death toll, it has become a necessity to purchase a vehicle with airbags and ABS.
READ: And SA's top vehicle brand for customer service is...
Check the following when purchasing a new car:
• Strength, intensity and resistance of all safety belts.
• Ensure that there is a legal amount of tread on ALL the tyres - including the spare wheel. If needed be, push the dealer/seller to fit new tyres on your car.
• Test the hooter and all the lights on and in the car.
• Ask for a report on the car's accident history report. Some dealers may not tell you this, unless you ask.
• Research the vehicle's NCAP safety rating.
Finding an affordable car is one thing but if it is unbearable to live with it can be nothing more than a huge frustration you could be stuck with for years. Consider what your child might need a car for - travelling to and from college? travel across SA on road trips? Used to carry loads during an internship?
READ: Ipsos 2015 results - Bakkies vs. passenger cars in SA
Ensure that the boot is big enough to carry at least three suitcases for a weekend away. A two-door car might seem cool but practically it's a pain to load/unload rear passengers. If your child is tall consider the headroom and conversely, if he/she is short, consider whether the seats are able to be raised/lowered.