Worthwhile new cars to consider under R300k | The Citizen

A decade or so ago, paying more than R300 000 for a Volkswagen Polo would be branded unheard off or called widely overpriced for what is basically a small hatch.

As is well known today though, the price of the cheapest Polo starts at R329 900, while that of another South African motoring staple, the Toyota Corolla, kicks-off at a whopping R502 600 for the recently refreshed hybrid only sedan.

A decade ago, South Africa’s cheapest new car, the frankly awful Chery QQ3, carried a sticker price of R74 900. Today, that role is filled by the Suzuki S-Presso that retails from R156 900.

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In 2012, R300 000 would have been enough for interesting bit of kits such as an Alfa Romeo MiTo QV, a Polo GTI or Opel Corsa OPC, a Ford Fiesta ST and even a Fiat 500 Abarth, Mini Cooper S or an entry-level Toyota 86.

Fast forward to 2022, and R300 000, frankly, doesn’t get a lot in the same league as the figure has become the standard of sensible buying.

As such, here are five options, not necessarily the best in-class, but still worth considering when buying a new car for under R300 000.

Launched earlier this year, the funky Celerio is also the cheapest new car on-sale today with Electronic Stability Control.
  • Suzuki Celerio 1.0 GL – R198 900

The entry-level or A-segment is one of the tightest with lots of model vying for attention. Frequented by the Hyundai Atos, Kia Picanto and Toyota Ayga, the Celero comes on tops for its standard inclusion of Electronic Stability Control in addition to a comprehensive list of kit.

New cars on-sale in South Africa for under R300 000
Swift remains a popular option seldom out of the top 10 come the monthly Naamsa sales figures.
  • Suzuki Swift 1.2 GLX – R232 900

One size up from the Celerio, the Swift competes in the upper A-segment despite being a B-segment size hatch. A perineal top 10 best seller come the monthly Naamsa sales figures, it is honest, well equipped and simple motoring without breaking the bank.

New cars on-sale in South Africa for under R300 000
New Suzuki Baleno, although trounced by its sibling, the Toyota Starlet, has been better received than its predecessor.
  • Suzuki Baleno 1.5 GLX – R281 900

The full-on B-segment presents an interesting debate as it is home to not only basic versions of the Mazda2, Volkswagen Polo Vivo and Hyundai i20, but also the Fiat 500 and to some extent, the funky Suzuki Ignis.

It is, however, the joint venture models of the Toyota Starlet and Suzuki Baleno that rule the segment and while the former is, unsurprisingly the most popular, the top-spec Baleno GLX has a slight edge as a result of featuring a Heads-Up Display system and surround-view camera system while being R13 000 cheaper than the comparative Starlet Xr.

New cars on-sale in South Africa for under R300 000
Magnite has been a success story for Nissan
  • Nissan Magnite 1.0 Turbo Acenta – R290 500

Bluntly put, the Nissan Magnite rates as an oddity as it competes in a section of the “starter SUV” market dominated by the Toyota Urban Cruiser spun off of the Suzuki Vitara Brezza, and to a fair degree, by its twin, the Renault Kiger.

Facing also competition from the entry-level Chery Tiggo 4 Pro and Hyundai Venue, the Magnite is nonetheless a worthwhile consideration if not “going with the flow” is not required.

New cars on-sale in South Africa for under R300 000
Although based on the previous generation model, the Corolla Quest is a solid choice boosted by a big boot.
  • Toyota Corolla Quest 1.8 Plus – R298 400

Just under a decade ago, the same price of the Corolla Quest would have gotten an 86, which in itself makes for a somewhat depressing realisation.

And while many are likely to exclaim the same about the locally built Quest, it is however, a solid offering with a big boot and proven reputation unlikely to be faulted.

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