Sun Oct 22 17:29:38 SAST 2017

Can I get a small diesel car for under R200k?

2012-02-05 10:31:32.0 | Dear Morgan |

HELLO Morgan, I'm about to buy a new car and need something small and light on fuel. I would like to find a new, small, diesel car for under R200000.

What is out there and can you point me in the right direction? - Namhla Majola, Botswana

Morgan responds:

Small diesels under R200 000 are not very common but I can suggest Volkswagen's Polo BlueMotion as one option.

The car comes fitted with a 1.2-litre turbo diesel engine but I was pleasantly surprised by its nippy performance around and about town.

The BlueMotion is slightly lighter than the standard Polo and has a sporty, aerodynamic feel and kit-out.

This is Volkswagen's most efficient car in the range next to the Golf BlueMotion and when I drove it I managed to achieve a fuel consumption of 25 kilometres a litre.

Another new car to enter the market is the Chevrolet Sonic that offers a range of petrol engines and a frugal 1.3-litre diesel mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

The Sonic's interesting design sets it apart from the run-of-the-mill and it's a bit larger than the Polo though it's not quite as much fun to drive.

Both cars sell for about R175000 so see which one you prefer.

To Morgan,

Does Honda plan on introducing a Civic hatch this year?

Also, do you have an idea what the pricing will be and what engines will be in the range?

Would you recommend it as a family car for my two daughters? - Xoliswa, Pretoria North

Dear Xoliswa,

The sedan model was launched earlier this year and I can confirm that Honda will add a hatch model around April.

The new model will carry the same engines over from the sedan - a new 1.6-litre and the more powerful 1.8-litre.

I've driven both and they are brilliant engines and come with either an automatic or manual set-up.

The new Civic is slightly more spacious than its predecessor, with increased leg and shoulder room, while the boot is much bigger so it's perfect for the family.

However, I would also look at the new Ford Focus sedan and the Hyundai Elantra as good alternatives.

Pricing will be similar to the sedan model which starts at R209000 for the base 1.6-litre manual and goes up to the full-spec 1.8-litre automatic.

Dear Morgan,

What is the difference between the Mini 1 and a normal Mini?

I see they are advertising the Mini 1 for under R200000 which is about R30000 cheaper [than the normal model].

I've always wanted a Mini but they say if it's too good to be true, it usually is. - Patrick Nortman, Stellenbosch

Dear Patrick,

To make the Mini 1 more affordable the usual bits of chrome and colour-coded trim are now in a less expensive but durable black plastic.

This includes the grille, wing mirrors and several pieces in the interior.

However, the good news is that the Mini 1 still feels and drives like a Mini should.

The 1.6-litre motor is slightly less powerful than the 1.6-litre found in the Cooper but, with over 70kW on tap, it is more than ample and complements the firm and responsive chassis.

I can recommend this car for the price - it's loads of fun to drive and still looks good.

My only criticism is the lack of rear leg room which is an issue on all Minis but boot space is reasonable thanks to the 50/50 rear folding seats.

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