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Car doctor: 'I'm a student, what car should I buy?'

2018-02-04 00:00

Justus Visagie

If you can afford to buy new, the Kia Picanto 1.0 MT Street is a great first car. Picture: Supplied

Cape Town - This week, resident #Trending car expert Justus Visagie gives advice about buying a second-hand SUV, trading in your vehicle and the best cars for students.

Karabo: I’m starting first year at university this year and I’m looking for a small car that’s good value for money. What would you recommend?

Justus: The Toyota Etios hatch represents excellent value for money, and is safe, reliable and cheap to run. You’d be able to find a used Etios for about R110 000, depending on its age, mileage and condition. If you can, buy the Xs version rather than the Xi. The Xs has central locking, electric windows and a basic sound system. The Xi doesn’t. You can consider the Etios sedan, but it’s rather hideous.

Other good pre-owned student cars are the Hyundai i20, Toyota Yaris, Honda Jazz, Mazda 2, VW Polo, Kia Rio, Chevrolet Spark (even though Chev is leaving South Africa), Opel Corsa and Nissan Micra. Only buy a car equipped with ABS brakes and at least a driver’s airbag. If you can afford to buy new, test-drive the Kia Picanto 1.0 MT Street (R153 000). It’s super light on fuel and equipped with two airbags and ABS brakes. It has a five-year, unlimited-distance warranty.

Andre: I’m looking to buy a good second-hand SUV that I can drive to work and use during weekends away. My budget is about R160 000. What would you recommend?

Justus: Consider the Mitsubishi ASX, Nissan Qashqai and Nissan X-Trail. Also look at the Renault Duster (2015 onwards), Kia Soul II (2014 onwards), Daihatsu Terios and Subaru Forester.

Erica: I bought my first car new because it just seems like a safer option because I don’t know a lot about cars. If I do consider buying again, what are the essential questions to ask should the car have been pre-owned?

Justus: Firstly, ask if it was regularly serviced by the agents and examine the service booklet to be sure. The so-called cambelt service is of vital importance and is usually performed around the 100 000 km mark. If the cambelt still has to be replaced, it will cost you a whack. If it snaps, it will cause extensive and costly damage to the engine.

Secondly, ask when the warranty and service or maintenance plan expires, and what servicing will cost thereafter. Often, luxury cars can be had for a bargain because the warranty or maintenance plan is about to run out. If one of these seduces you, you’ll have to get a second job to pay for its upkeep.

Thirdly, ask if spare parts and tyres will be readily available, and at what cost. You can consult kinseyreport.co.za for the parts prices of popular car models. Call a tyre dealer such as Tiger Wheel & Tyre and ask them to quote for a new set of tyres for each car on your shortlist, and ask if they are readily available.

Lastly, to make sure you’re not buying a stolen car, ensure that the car’s Natis registration certificate is in the seller’s name and that the licence is up to date.

  • Do you have car questions you’d like Justus to answer? Using the words CAR QUESTIONS in the subject line, email justus.visagie@media24.com. You can also SMS the keywords CAR QUESTIONS and your question to 35697. Please include your name. SMSes cost R1.50. Remember to be as specific as possible – the more details you supply, the better Justus will be able to answer your question


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