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 Expression – R189 900
Although it's not as generously equipped with features as the top-spec Dynamique 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 R209 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.
2. Suzuki Ignis GLX – R193 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 is 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 R173 900. Ground clearance on the Ignis is 180 mm. Watch our video review below for more details...
3. Toyota Etios Cross 1.5 Xs – R198 400
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. A 5-speed transmission is standard and key features include a Bluetooth radio/CD player, air conditioning, 15-inch alloy wheels, 2 airbags and ABS with EBD
4. Mahindra KUV100 1.2 D75 K6+ - R199 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 turbodiesel engine with 57 kW and 190 Nm of torque while the petrol derivatives offer 61 kW and 115 Nm. The KUV100 comes equipped with 2 airbags and ABS with EBD.
5. Haval H1 – R179 900
With the local arrival of Chinese SUV brand, Haval, in South Africa, 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 (183 mm) and the H1's 1.5-litre petrol engine produces 77 kW and 138 Nm and uses a 5-speed manual transmission to drive the front wheels.