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If you’re serious about off-roading, you’ll want a vehicle equipped with low-range. That, though, tends to come at a cost.
But what if you are determined to purchase a new vehicle with low-range but cannot spare much more than R250 000? Well, we’ve had a dig around South Africa’s new vehicle market and identified the five cheapest vehicles with low-range.
Sure, they may not be the most glamorous, but they’re undoubtedly the cheapest – well, this side of turning to the second-hand market for something a little more mainstream, that is. For the record, three are from India, one from China and one from Japan…
1. Mahindra Bolero 2,5TD 4×4: R204 995
The Mahindra Bolero takes the crown of SA’s cheapest vehicle boasting low-range gearing. This workhorse is powered by a 2,5-litre turbo-diesel mill worth 74 kW and 238 N.m, connected to all four corners via a five-speed manual transmission. Ground clearance comes in at 185 mm, the lowest number on this list. Take note, though, that for a little more cash, you can pick up the double-cab version.
2. Mahindra Thar 2,5CRDe: R209 995
The Thar – an SUV (with a removable soft-top) that draws more than mere inspiration from early Jeeps – takes second place on this list, and uses the same powerplant as its Bolero sibling above. In this application, though, the four-cylinder oil-burner makes 79 kW and 247 N.m. Ground clearance is rated at 200 mm.
3. JMC Boarding 2,8TD double-cab 4×4 Lux: R222 880
This Chinese double-cab employs a 2,8-litre turbo-diesel heart churning out 84 kW and 235 N.m. Ground clearance comes in at 220 mm, while a five-speed manual transmission is standard. The Boarding features an interesting specification list that includes the likes of leather upholstery and rear parking sensors, but excludes airbags.
4. Mahindra Scorpio Pik-up 2,5TCI 4×4: R246 995
Yes, the Scorpio Pik-up is the third Mahindra to make the list, and like its brethren, its urge comes from a 2,5-litre turbo-diesel. While peak power is the same as the Bolero (at 74 kW), maximum torque sits at a slightly loftier 258 N.m. Ground clearance, meanwhile, is a respectable 210 mm.
5. Suzuki Jimny 1,3: R251 900
Just on the wrong side of R250 000, the diminutive Suzuki Jimny is more capable off the beaten track than many may at first assume. It’s the only petrol-powered vehicle to make this list – using a 1,3-litre four-pot worth a meagre 63 kW and 110 N.m, linked to a five-speed manual gearbox – but it has the ability to go where larger vehicles simply can’t. Ground clearance is a claimed 190 mm.