Know how much you can spend on a car but haven’t made up your mind which one to buy? Here, we track down two used budget compact sedans for under R100 000 each…
Not everyone is concerned with the appearance of a car. For them, practicality, space, affordability and reliability is all that matters. If you’re in that bracket, here are two excellent used buys to consider.
0-100 km/h: 10,60 seconds
Top speed: 188 km/h
Power: 80 kW
Torque: 153 N.m
CO2: 174 g/km
Fuel consumption: 8,68 L/100 km (fuel index)
The Tiida uses an extended platform shared by the Nissan Micra and Renault Modus. Being taller than most sedans and hatches of the time, it almost fits into a crossover genre. It may not sport the best Italian styling or come in a range of pretty colours but don’t write it off just yet. The sedan’s boot lid, for example, could have been styled by a certain controversial Mr. Bangle but it hides lots of luggage space. Tiida – second i and all – means “sun” in the Okinawan language, so it fits right into the Nissan Sunny theme, a vehicle it effectively replaced. We knew the first Datsun Sunnys as the 1000 and 1200 in sedan and bakkie forms back in the 1970s. These culminated in the Nissan 1400 Champ that remains a common sight on our roads today. In South America, the Tiida was badged as a Dodge Trazo from a collaboration with Chrysler.
When launched, the spec versions included Visia, Visia+ and Acenta. Whoever thinks up these weird designations should be kept secret for fear of reprisal … but the differences revolve around the inclusion of ABS and an audio system. Visia does without these while the top-spec Acenta adds a useful feature: a sliding rear seat to adjust legroom and luggage space according to your needs. Although criticised as old-fashioned in our test, the facia layout is neat and functional with a built-in CD player, easy-to-reach air-conditioning and lots of storage bins. A much-appreciated modern item, steering wheel-mounted controls, is absent.
A fuel index of 8,68 L/100 km was satisfactory when compared with the Tiida’s rivals and the bulletproof 1,6-litre engine used in several models is a proven success. Here, it produces 80 kW and has a good torque flow of 153 N.m, peaking at 4 300 r/min. Combined with a quick-acting five-speed gearbox, it provides sprightly acceleration to 100 km/h in just over 10 seconds. A four-speed autobox is available only in the sedan. Because most models were sedans and thanks to lots of fleet sales, there are more sedans than hatches on the market.
Space: 5 seats, 280-408/1 008 L
Safety: 4 airbags
Cost of four tyres: R3 920
Road Test: September 2006 (Tiida 1,6 Acenta hatch)
0-100 km/h: 12,71 seconds
Top speed: 188 km/h
Power: 91 kW
Torque: 154 N.m
CO2: 153 g/km
Fuel consumption: 8,04 L/100 km (fuel index)
General Motors has come and gone but its products will survive. At least the dealerships had the well-loved Isuzu brand to allow them time to branch into other income avenues. With robust sales of the smaller Spark and Aveo models, the Cruze arrived during the previous economic downturn in 2009 which didn’t help matters, especially in a segment dominated by the Japanese and one that continues to see dwindling sales. These Cruze units were all sourced from Korea after General Motors bought out the struggling Daewoo company.
Most are 1,6-litre featuring 91 kW but there is a 1,8-litre as well with 104 kW. This was fitted to our first test car in 2009. It featured the automatic gearbox which was not good for the test report but we can suggest now that you avoid the auto. It was difficult to drive cleanly. We would much prefer a manual derivative. The engines are rather shy on low-down torque so the five-speed manual gearbox needs to be used spiritedly. Fortunately, it is relatively quick shifting. The automatic gearbox has six speeds but the manual just five, which is unusual. Where the car does shine is perhaps hidden in the name. It is great at cruising speeds with the ability to soak up our poorer road surfaces with ease. This ability is enhanced by comfortable seats, lots of interior space and an upmarket facia and instrumentation layout. If you like the frugality of diesels, there are a few examples fitted with the 2,0-litre turbodiesel. This came in top-spec LT form only with a choice of auto or manual gearboxes, this time both with six forward ratios. Saving the best for last, the 1,8 was dropped in favour of a 1,4 turbo in 2015. With 103 kW and 200 N.m, this is indeed the best but present pricing is beyond our budget for the moment.
In unfortunate GM/Opel Ecotec fashion, a cambelt requires renewing every 100 000 km, better than some but be sure not to neglect this important schedule as your car gets older; the dealer or garage does not provide reminders. Mechanical parts supply should not be too much of a problem.
Space: 5 seats, 288/1 048 L (hatch); 328/984 L (sedan)
Safety: 6 airbags, ABS
Cost of four tyres: R6 400
Road Test: December 2012 (Cruze hatch 1,6 LS)