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 under 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. Haval H1 – R179 900
With the local arrival of Chinese SUV brand, Haval, in South Africa in 2017, its parent company GWM rebadged its M4 as the Haval H1. 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/100 000 km warranty and 2-year roadside assistance that sweetens the deal. There’s good ground clearance (185 mm) and the H1's 1.5-litre petrol engine produces 69 kW and 130 Nm and uses a 5-speed manual transmission to drive the front wheels.
2. Mahindra KUV100 Nxt 1.2 G80 K6+ - R191 999
The updated Mahindra KUV100 Nxt came to market in 2018 with the range comprising 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 Nxt G80 K6+ is powered by a 1.2-litre, naturally aspirated petrol engine with 61 kW and 115 Nm and mated with a 5-speed manual transmission. The KUV100 comes equipped with 2 airbags and ABS with EBD.
3. Renault Sandero Stepway Expression – R193 900
Although it's not as generously equipped with features as the top-spec Plus derivative, the Renault Sandero Stepway Expression is still well-worth considering if you are looking for a basic, small crossover. The Stepway Expression is powered by a 0.9-litre turbopetrol engine that offers 66 kW and 135 Nm of torque and mated with a 5-speed manual transmission.
Key features for this derivative include 16-inch alloy wheels, CD player, Bluetooth, USB and aux input, front electric windows, multifunction steering wheel, 2 airbags, ABS with EBD, brake assist and electronic stability control with traction control.
If your budget can stretch to R213 900, then the Sandero Stepway Turbo Plus is a good buy and includes additional features such as navigation, cruise control, rear park distance control and 4 airbags. 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.
4. Suzuki Ignis GLX – R196 900
The Suzuki Ignis 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 with the front wheels driven via a 5-speed manual transmission. 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. The Suzuki Ignis GLX was also a semi-finalist in the Budget Car category of the 2018/19 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank.
The entry-level Ignis GL is the previous #CarsAwards champion and is priced from R176 900. Ground clearance on the Ignis is 180 mm. Watch our video review below for more details...