Bang for your buck. It’s an expression often thrown about by potential buyers sniffing around the new vehicle market. Typically, the “bang” refers to value and the “buck” to money.
But what if the “bang” signified peak power instead? Well, we decided to dig around South Africa’s new car market and unearth the five least expensive vehicles with 200 kW or more (an exercise we last performed back in October 2016).
As was the case back then, the resulting list makes for rather interesting reading, and comprises a trio of hot hatches and two ageing off-roaders…
1. Renault Mégane RS 280 Lux/Cup: R569 900
Yes, the least expensive vehicle with 200+ kW that you can currently buy new in South Africa is the front-wheel-drive Mégane RS. Interestingly, the Lux (with its six-speed dual-clutch transmission) and the Cup (with a six-speed manual and more focused chassis set-up) are priced identically, while the upcoming Trophy will sit at the summit of the range. The RS 280 employs a turbocharged 1,8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine sending 205 kW and 390 N.m to the front axle, allowing a 5,8-second dash to three figures (says Renault), regardless of transmission.
2. Honda Civic Type R: R648 300
Next up is Honda's Civic Type R, another front-driven hot hatch (and one that competes against the Mégane RS above, despite costing nearly R80 000 more). Under that outrageous exterior styling you'll find a turbocharged 2,0-litre four-cylinder engine worth 228 kW and 400 N.m, driving the front wheels via one of the best six-speed manual gearboxes in the business. Claimed zero to 100 km/h time? Also 5,8 seconds...
3. Audi S3 Sportback: R651 500
Yip, another hot hatch, although this one from the folks over in Ingolstadt is a little different to the two above, since drive is sent to all four wheels (in this case via a seven-speed dual-clutch arrangement). Interestingly, here the VW Group's turbocharged 2,0-litre four-pot develops exactly the same outputs (228 kW and 400 N.m) as the Type R's above, although with the added Quattro-flavoured traction, the five-door hatchback boasts a claimed 4,6-second sprint to three figures.
4. Toyota FJ Cruiser: R655 800
Yes, the FJ Cruiser is still very much around (featuring every month in Naamsa’s sales statistics, despite long-running rumours of its impending discontinuation), with its naturally aspirated 4,0-litre V6 sending a pleasingly round 200 kW and 380 N.m to all four corners via a five-speed automatic transmission. Despite its size, weight and off-road chops, the FJ will hit 100 km/h from standstill in a claimed 7,6 seconds, before topping out at 175 km/h.
5. Jeep Wrangler 3,6L Sahara: R658 900
The final 200+ kW vehicle to make the list (which no longer features the Volkswagen Golf R, priced at R667 700) is the base model in Jeep's outgoing JK-generation Wrangler range. This long-in-the-tooth Sahara model employs a naturally aspirated 3,6-litre V6 directing 209 kW and 347 N.m to all four wheels via a five-speed automatic gearbox (with low range). For the record, the firm claims a 0-100 km/h time of 8,1 seconds.