New vehicle prices in South Africa have rocketed skywards over the last year as a weaker Rand drove the costs of importing vehicles to our market ever higher. We investigate whether there’s still some real bang-for-buck value in the market.
With new car prices soaring dramatically over the past year in a volatile economy, your money buys you less, particularly if you are looking for a more performance-orientated car. Take the latest Volkswagen Golf GTI as an example. With a lofty starting price R548 600, the GTI is now an expensive proposition.
Nonetheless, for the purpose of this list, we have set the performance threshold at 150 kW as that’s certain to result in willing performance in combination with a compact body shell. Obviously, we aren’t accounting for weight or a sporty chassis at this point, but it’s interesting to see where the power bargains are hiding in the new car market. Take a look!
Top 10 Cheapest New Cars in SA with at least 150 kW (in ascending price order)
1. Hyundai Elantra Turbo Elite Sport
The new Hyundai Elantra was launched earlier this year and the range-topping Elantra 1.6 Turbo Elite Sport offers the practicality associated with a sedan while also delivering some thrills behind the wheel. Powered by the same turbocharged 1.6-litre 4-cylinder engine found in the Veloster Turbo, buyers get 150 kW and 265 Nm of torque with a claimed sprint time of 7.7 seconds in the run to 100 kph using a 6-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission. The Elantra 1.6 Turbo Elite Sport is priced from R399 900.
2. Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy
The recently-launched Clio RS 220 Trophy is a scintillating road-going track car that offers no less than 162 kW and 260 Nm of torque from its turbocharged 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine. Using a 6-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission, the Clio RS 220 Trophy offers performance kicks with a zero to 100 kph sprint time of 6.6 seconds. For the amount of thrills, this Clio 220 RS Trophy offers decent value starting at R438 900.
3. Ford Focus ST1
Ford Focus ST1 is still a relative bargain in the market with 184 kW and 360 Nm of torque on offer from its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine. It will sprint from zero to 100 kph in approximately 6.5 seconds and will top out at 248 kph. The ST1 is the entry-level ST, so there are a few luxuries missing, such as leather seats, daytime running lights and climate control. It’s a bare-bones performance bargain in most people's books. R457 800 gets you into an ST1, but to upgrade to the ST3 will cost R501 100.
Read: Ford Focus ST Review
4. Renault Megane GT
With its stylish and sporty styling, the new Megane GT offers good performance with 151 kW and 280 Nm of torque developed by from its 1.6-litre turbopetrol engine. Zero to 100 kph is dispatched in 7.1 seconds with a top speed of 230 kph using a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. The Megane GT is all yours for R461 900.
5. Mini John Cooper Works Hatch 3-Door
The JCW is an eminently wieldy "pocket rocket" and (relative) performance bargain. With 170 kW and 320 Nm of torque on tap from its 2.0-litre turbopetrol motor, the JCW is said to catapult from standstill to 100 kph in just 6.3 seconds. Beware of the optional extras list, however; things can get pretty expensive if you specify many of the goodies that Mini offer. The basic JCW costs R491 095.
Read more: Mini John Cooper Works Hatch (2016) Review
6. Hyundai Tucson Turbo Executive Sport
Hyundai's decision to sell a sportier version of its Tucson family SUV seems to be paying off as customers are taking a liking to the beefier Tucson Turbo Executive Sport . The Tucson Turbo Executive Sport is the only compact family SUV to make it onto this list with 150 kW and 295 Nm of torque offered from its 1.6-litre turbopetrol engine. The Tucson Turbo Executive Sport is priced R504 900.
Read: Hyundai Tucson Sport (2017) Quick Review
7. Ford Kuga 2.0T AWD Titanium
The revamped Kuga was introduced midway through 2017. This top-of-the-range model features a 2.0-litre turbopetrol engine that thumps out 177 kW and 340 Nm of torque. Mid-size SUVs are certainly turning up the wick on what are essentially family cars. Zero to 100 kph takes just 7.6 seconds and it has a top speed of 212 kph. With all of the Kuga's issues, pricing on this model is quite generous throughout the range, this model retails for R508 100.
8. Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1750TBi Veloce
Alfa Romeo recently updated its Giulietta and this range-topping Veloce derivative is claimed to be the fastest car on this list with a zero to 100 kph sprint time of 6.0 seconds. The 1.75-litre turbopetrol engine churns out 177 kW and 340 Nm of torque and is mated to a 6-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission. The Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1750TBi Veloce is priced from R512 900.
9. Volvo V40 T5 Momentum
Volvo isn’t known as a bargain performance brand, but in T5 Momentum guise, the V40 offers excellent value courtesy of its 180 kW/350 Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol motor mated with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. Acceleration from zero to 100 kph is achieved in a claimed 6.3 seconds. The starting price for the Volvo V90 T5 Momentum is R519 000.
10. BMW 125i MSport Sports auto
The baby Bimmer creeps onto the list at number 10, sneaking in ahead of the Golf GTI by a few thousand rands. Facelifted back in 2017, the 1 Series got a bunch of new names for its engines to confuse everyone. This 125i unit boasts a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol with 165 kW and 310 Nm of torque. The 100 kph sprint takes just 6.1 seconds thanks to the automatic gearbox. Starting price, before options on a 125i is R545 665.