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 R545 800, 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. Kia Cerato Koup 1.6T
The Kia Cerato Koup is the most affordable car with over 150 kW on offer in South Africa. The 1.6-litre turbocharged engine develops 152 kW and 265 Nm of torque and is claimed to accelerate from zero to 100 kph in 7.7 seconds. There is an automatic version in the range that claims to be slightly quicker (at 7.4 seconds) to 100 kph, but our experience with that transmission was disappointing. For R390 995, the Cerato Koup constitutes great value (considering its very stylish looks). The Cerato Koup automatic is priced from R403 995.
Read: Kia Cerato Koup Review
2. 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.
3. Hyundai Veloster Turbo
The Hyundai Veloster Turbo offers 150 kW and 265 Nm of torque from its 1.6-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the same engine used in the Elantra Turbo Sport Elite (above). With a claimed zero to 100 kph sprint time of 7.8 seconds, Hyundai's 4-door hatchback offers useable (if less-than-scintillating) performance. The Veloster Turbo manual is priced from R419 900k. Stick with the manual version as it is more affordable and more involving to use than the dual-clutch automatic version which is priced from R444 900.
4. 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 R419 900.
5. 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. R440 000 gets you into an ST1, but to upgrade to the ST3 will cost R481 900.
Read: Ford Focus ST Review
6. 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 R457 900.
7. 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 R471 104.
Read more: Mini John Cooper Works Hatch (2016) Review
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 R479 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 R499 238.
10. 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 R499 900.
Read: Hyundai Tucson Sport (2017) Quick Review