We list the most fuel-efficient, budget-friendly cars currently available in South Africa!
Fuel prices in South Africa have reduced drastically as a result of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant global lockdowns and crash in demand.
As lockdown restrictions are gradually eased, more South African motorists will be back on the road but household budgets, however, remain under huge pressure. One way of saving money is to reduce the cost of motoring, which means streamlining the cost your car incurs on your pocket. By choosing to drive a more fuel-efficient car, you can cut your fuel costs and save money.
We recently reported that now may be the best time to buy a new car (if you have the means to do so) as new car prices are expected to rise sharply in the coming months. In an effort to cut cost, you would be wise to prioritise fuel economy in your purchase so that you can save money over time.
We have created a fuel efficiency list that’s not only more relevant but also more diverse. Considering that most people can’t afford expensive cars, we decided to list the most fuel-efficient cars with an asking price under R300 000.
Note that claimed manufacturer fuel consumption figures are used here and that real-world consumption figures will differ depending on a number of factors such as driving style, road conditions and so forth.
Pricing is accurate as of May 2020.
There’s something for everyone on this list...
3.7 L/100 km - Fiat Tipo 1.3 Multijet Easy
The Fiat Tipo hatchback and sedan came to market in 2017 and the 1.3-litre turbodiesel sedan derivative is particularly fuel efficient with a claimed fuel consumption figure of 3.7 L/100 km. This engine offers 70 kW and 200 Nm of torque to deliver perky performance. Unfortunately, this engine is only offered on the Tipo sedan. The Fiat Tipo 1.3 Multijet Easy sedan is priced at R287 936.
3.8 L/100 km – Fiat 500
The cute 500 is the breadwinner for Fiat in South Africa and is offered as a hard-top or convertible. The 63 kW/145 Nm 0.9-litre TwinAir turbopetrol engine is particularly efficient with a claimed fuel consumption figure of 3.8 L/100km (for automatic derivatives). The Fiat 500 can be had in 2 trim levels, namely Star and Rockstar. A 5-speed manual or automatic transmission adds further choice.
4.2 L/100 km – Fiat Panda 0.9 TwinAir Easy/Lounge
The Fiat Panda made its return to South Africa in 2017 and the 2-cylinder, 0.9-litre turbopetrol offered on the Easy and Lounge derivatives offer 63 kW and 145 Nm of torque. The front wheels are driven through a 5-speed manual transmission. Fuel consumption is claimed at 4.2 L/100km. For those looking to go off into the dirt, there are also Panda 4x4 and 4x4 Cross derivatives on offer but claimed fuel efficiency rises to 4.9 L/100 km.
Pricing for the Fiat Panda starts at R205 452 for the Easy derivative while the Lounge is priced from R220 452. The Panda 4x4 is priced at R251 452 while the Panda 4x4 Cross is priced from R271 452.
4.3 L/100 km – Toyota Aygo
The Toyota Aygo is a good choice if you are looking for a frugal budget city car. Toyota claims an improved fuel consumption figure of 4.3 L/100km for the Aygo and it is powered by a 3-cylinder, 1.0-litre petrol engine with 53 kW and 93 Nm of torque. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard.
Pricing starts at R182 000.
4.3 L/100 km – Ford Fiesta 1.0T Trend
The new and hugely popular Ford Fiesta has arrived in South Africa and the entry-level Fiesta 1.0T Trend (manual priced from R296 200) offers a claimed fuel consumption figure of 4.3 L/100km. It's powered by a 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder turbopetrol engine with 74 kW and 170 Nm. If your budget can stretch to R329 300 then the diesel-powered Fiesta 1.5 TDCi Trend derivative is the most fuel-efficient in the Fiesta range with a claimed fuel consumption figure of just 3.3 L/100km. Power comes from a 1.5-litre turbodiesel which now produces 63 kW and 175 Nm of torque.
Search for a new / used Ford Fiesta on Cars.co.za
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4.3 L/100km - Peugeot 108 Active
Peugeot introduced its new 108 budget car to market in 2019. It's powered by a 3-cylinder, 1.0-litre petrol engine with 53 kW and 93 Nm of torque and comes mated with a 5-speed manual transmission as standard. Peugeot claims a fuel consumption of 4.3 L/100km.
The Peugeot 108 Active is priced at R189 500.
4.3 L/100 km – Peugeot 208 1.2 Active
The Peugeot 208 1.2 Active is the most frugal in the 208 range with a claimed fuel consumption figure of 4.3 L/100 km. This derivative is powered by a naturally aspirated 1.2-litre petrol engine with 60 kW and 118 Nm and is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission.
Pricing for the 208 1.2 Active starts at R256 500.
4.3 L/100 km – Mahindra KUV100 Nxt 1.2 D75 K6+/K8
The quirky Mahindra KUV100 Nxt has been updated and it's a frugal offering from the Indian carmaker with a claimed fuel consumption 4.3L/100 km in K6+ and K8 guise. Power comes courtesy of a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine that delivers 61 kW and 115 Nm of torque and mated to a 5-speed manual transmission.
The KUV100 D75 K6+ is priced at R219 999 while the range-topping K8 derivative is priced at R239 999.
4.4 L/100 km – Renault Kwid Automatic
The automatic version of Renault's popular Kwid is claimed to consume 4.4 L/100 km. It is powered by a 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine with 50 kW and 91 Nm of torque. A 5-speed automated manual (AMT) transmission drives the front wheels. There are 3 automatic Kwid derivatives on offer across 3 trim levels including Expression, Dynamique and Climber. Pricing starts from R160 900.
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4.5 L/100km - Volkswagen Polo 1.0TSI Trendline/Comfortline Hatch
The Volkswagen Polo remains a popular choice for compact hatchback buyers in South Africa and the turbocharged 1.0-litre Polo Trendline (R262 800) and the Polo 1.0 TSI Comfortline (R293 700) both offer a claimed figure of 4.5 L/100km. This engine has outputs of 70 kW and 175 Nm of torque and is mated with a 5-speed manual transmission.