A growing number of buyers are looking for a little bit extra from their small hatchbacks, such as a modicum of added ground clearance and eye-catching off-roader inspired kerb appeal. If you're in the market for a new car, here’s how you can get "a lift" while sticking to a budget of R200k.
If you’re looking for a car that's slightly raised because you travel on dirt- or badly maintained roads or just like the "ready-for-action-looks" of a faux-4x4 crossover then we’ve compiled a list of interesting models for you to consider. R200k doesn’t go very far, but thankfully a few manufacturers have got creative with their standard models and given them a "raise".
1. Renault Sandero Stepway Dynamique – R194 900
Offering excellent value-for-money with a comprehensive features list, the recently-facelifted Sandero Stepway Dynamique is well worth considering if your budget is around the R200k mark. The Stepway Dynamique is powered by a 0.9-litre turbopetrol engine that offers 66 kW and 135 Nm of torque.
Key features include navigation, cruise control, rear park distance control, 4 airbags, ABS with EBD and stability control with traction control. The raised ride height of the Stepway gives it 193 mm of ground clearance, more than enough to traverse a panhandle or hop a kerb.
2. Suzuki Ignis GLX – R189 900
Suzuki recently introduced its quirky Ignis crossover in South Africa and offers buyers something a little different in this segment of the market. The Ignis is powered by a naturally-aspirated 1.2-litre petrol engine that develops 61 kW and 113 Nm of torque. As we discovered during its test period with us, the Ignis offers perky performance in the city and its interior is relatively spacious for its size.
The Ignis GLX is equipped with the features such as a Radio/CD player (can upgrade to a touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), rear park distance control, climate control air conditioning, LED headlights and daytime running lights, 2 airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist. Ground clearance on the Ignis is 180 mm. Watch our video review below for more details...
3. Volkswagen Cross Up! – R196 800
The Volkswagen Up! is a popular choice in the budget hatchback segment, but if you are looking for crossover appeal, then the Cross Up! adds a touch of extra ground clearance (162 mm) to the city car's packaging. The lift is only 15 mm but thanks to the plastic "outdoorsy" bumpers around the wheel arches, it looks rugged. Its 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder engine produces 55 kW and 95 Nm of torque.
Key features for the Cross Up! include 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth radio/CD player, air conditioning, 4 airbags, ABS with EBS and stability control with traction control.
4. Toyota Etios Cross – R196 200
Toyota added the Cross derivative to its Etios line-up in an apparent attempt to attract more male buyers to its budget-oriented product. The Etios Cross isn’t actually raised over the standard model, but with all the extra cladding it certainly looks more capable at tackling some gravel. In fact, Toyota claims that the Etios was built with extra ground clearance already so it didn’t need an additional raise. With 155 mm ground clearance, it’s still a touch low to be a real crossover, however.
The Etios Cross is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine with 66 kW and 132 Nm of torque on offer. Key features include a Bluetooth radio/CD player, air conditioning, 15-inch alloy wheels, 2 airbags and ABS with EBD
5. Mahindra KUV100 R154 995–R205 995
The Mahindra KUV100 is a purpose-built crossover hatch and the range comprises petrol and diesel-engined models. It's surprisingly spacious inside with plenty of areas to store odds and ends. The ground clearance stands at 170 mm and its high-profile 185/65 14-inch tyres should render it quite competent at negotiating small obstacles, certainly gravel roads. The KUV100 is powered by a 1.2-litre turbopetrol engine with 57 kW and 190 Nm of torque. Lastly, the KUV100 comes equipped with 2 airbags and ABS with EBD.
6. Haval H1/GWM M4 – R189 900*
With the local arrival of Chinese SUV brand, Haval, in South Africa, its parent company GWM's M4 has been rebadged the Haval H1 (in July 2017 GWM/Haval was offering the M4 at a tantalising reduced price of R169 900 in celebration of the Chinese brand's 10-year anniversary in South Africa)*. The H1/M4 is a reasonable rendition of a crossover hatch. It’s made more to look the part than act it, but it's reasonably equipped and, yes, good looking. Those daytime running lights are standard, as are the roof rails and 16-inch wheels, plus a 5-year or 100 000 km warranty and 2-year roadside assistance now sweeten the deal. There’s good ground clearance (183 mm) and the H1's 1.5-litre petrol engine produces 77 kW and 138 Nm.