It's interesting to note that in South Africa there are well over 5-million people between the age of 18 and 24, many of whom are students, hipsters and soon to be car buyers. Being young and impressionable, this particular demographic is a lucrative market for car manufacturers, who spend much time, money and effort to capture their attention and lock them into their brand. Manufacturers set the bait with clever marketing and strategically priced products and inevitably, sales follow (or don't).
The perfect student car, however, must tick a number of boxes in order to make our Top 5 Student Car list. Money is tight for many students and affordability is a major factor when considering a new car. Cheap isn't always best, but a student car must be affordable. We have therefore capped the spend at R150 000 to account for this. Fuel efficiency is critical too, because a penny saved at the pumps makes a big difference in the life of a student.
Another factor to consider is what we call the 'Funk Factor'. A good student car must have a bit of flair, a touch of youth and a dash of good looks. That said, a skedonk on campus doesn't win points. Space also needs to be factored in, especially if you consider that students cruise around with buddies and go on holiday on a regular basis. Students are also generally tech savvy and things like USB/Aux inputs for charging devices, Bluetooth and a banging sound system are also important. Lastly, no one wants to drive a death trap on our roads, so our top choices must have comprehensive safety features on offer too.
Top 5 Student Cars currently available in South Africa.
1. Renault Sandero 66 kW Turbo Expression - R129 900
The Renault Sandero 66kW Turbo Expression, in our opinion, is the best student car on market at the moment. The Sandero Expression is keenly priced at R129 900 and comes packed with features including a multi-function steering wheel, information display, Bluetooth, USB and Aux inputs, CD player and front electric windows. There's a big boot in there too with a capacity of 292-litres. The Sandero Expression doesn't skimp on safety features either and comes fitted with driver and passenger airbags, ABS with EBD and Brake Assist (BA). Combined fuel consumption is claimed to be 5.2L/100km, making it an economical car to run.
2. Hyundai Grand i10 1.2 Motion - R149 900
The Hyundai Grand i10 1.2 Motion is a solid offering with a comprehensive list of features and a price tag of R149 900. The Grand i10 is big on space with the boot measuring 256-litres, which can be extended to 1 202-litres with the rear seats folded down. In terms of tech, there's a multi-function steering wheel, information display, Bluetooth, CD Player, USB and Aux inputs and front electric windows. Safety is up to scratch too with a driver and passenger airbag and ABS with EBD. Fuel consumption is rated at 5.9-litres/100 km. If you are a student, you can't really go wrong with the Hyundai Grand i10 1.2 Motion.
3. Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL - R143 900
The Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL is a great student car and is an excellent value-for-money offering at R143 900. The Swift 1.2 GL is well equipped and comes fitted with a multi-function steering wheel, information display, USB and Aux inputs, CD player and front and rear electric windows. Safety features include ABS with EBD, Brake Assist (BA) as well as a driver and passenger airbag. In terms of space, the boot offers 210-litres which extends to 533-litres with the rear seats folded down. Fuel consumption is rated at 5.7L/100km. The recently launched Suzuki Celerio 1.0 GL is also worth consideration if you are after a bit more space and comes in with a price of R124 900 and a combined fuel consumption figure of 4.7l/100km.
4. Kia Picanto 1.2 EX - R149 995
With its good looks, the Kia Picanto is perfectly suited for life on campus. The Picanto 1.2 EX is priced at R149 995 and comes with CD player, Bluetooth, USB and Aux inputs, multi-function steering wheel and electric windows. There's 200-litres of boot space which extends to 605-litres if you so wish and combined fuel consumption is claimed to be 5.0L/100km. ABS and EBD is included as is a driver and passenger airbag. Read our comparison between the Kia Picanto and Suzuki Swift here.
5. Volkswagen Move Up! - R143 000
For students who want to make a bit of a statement, you may want to consider the Move up! as an option with a price of R143 000. The up! scores big points in terms of Funk Factor with it's cute looks and stylish euro-styling. With a combined fuel consumption figure of 4.7L/100 km, the up! is an economical ride too. In terms of features, it's pretty basic, with a CD player included and the up! is also fitted with ABS and four airbags. Read our review of the VW Move Up! here!
For something on the bigger side, you may want to look at the Volkswagen Polo Vivo 1.4 Blueline with a price tag of R149 900. Although the Polo Vivo is often accused of being overpriced and somewhat featureless, it does save some face when you consider its excellent resale value and it's one of South Africa's most popular cars. Many of the features are optional, but the Polo Vivo does offer decent space with 270-litre boot space which expands to 635-litres. ABS, EBD and two airbags are also included. Take a look at our video comparison between the Polo Vivo and the up! here.