Starting from R139 900, the Suzuki S-Presso is a new-car bargain. What about the second-hand market? Here, we look at two great alternatives for R100 000...

Know how much you can spend on a car but haven’t made up your mind which one to buy? Well, our youngest and oldest team members recommend two sensible options.

Jarryd's choice: Ford Figo 1,4 Ambiente

0-100 km/h: 13,62 seconds
Top speed: 169 km/h
Power: 62 kW
Torque: 127 N.m
CO2: 156 g/km
Fuel consumption: 7,92 L/100 km (fuel index)

Based on the underpinnings of the popular fifth-generation Fiesta, the Indian-built previous Figo was introduced in South Africa as the Blue Oval’s budget car. First available in 2010, the small Ford battled the first-generation Polo Vivo. In terms of outright sales, the Vivo beat the Figo hands down. Despite this, the Ford remained a popular purchase, thanks to its sensible safety features and quality. As a result, the second-hand market is littered with good examples available for R100 000 or less. At this price, the Ambiente will be your best bet. Better equipped, the Trend model sells at a premium.

Still, the Ambiente model comes with a moderate level of standard features. Two airbags along with ABS and EBD keep you safe and a trip computer, air-conditioning and radio with Bluetooth/MP3/aux-in compatibility add convenience.

Practicality is impressive, with the folding rear seats affording up to 704 litres of utility space. Trimmed in durable cloth, the seats are comfortable. Despite competing in the budget car category, the Figo offers impressive levels of space, with rear legroom eclipsing some larger cars’.

While the Ford’s interior does not have the upmarket ambience of its German rival, it nevertheless feels well built; the doors shut with a reassuring thud and the well-placed controls feel as though they’ll last a lifetime.

When new, the Figo had to make do without a service plan. A four-year/120 000 km warranty was standard, ensuring any defects or problems a Figo would have suffered would most likely be sorted by now. As always, check the service history. Daily running costs shouldn’t be a concern. The 1,4-litre four-cylinder is capable of achieving 6,6 L/100 km courtesy of the vehicle’s relatively light mass (1 072 kg as tested).

Servicing is comparatively inexpensive with an oil service costing around R1 600. Bigger jobs – like a cambelt service – can be costly at around R7 500. With a vast network, finding a conveniently located dealer is a cinch.

Size: 4/5 seats, 240/704 L
Safety: 2 airbags, ABS with EBD
Cost of four tyres: R3 114
Road test: March 2013 (1,4 Ambiente); April 2014 (1,4 Trend)

Peter's choice: Suzuki Celerio 1,0 GL

0-100 km/h: 16,10 seconds
Top speed: 145 km/h
Power: 50 kW
Torque: 90 N.m
CO2: 110 g/km
Fuel consumption: 5,64 L/100 km (fuel index)

When the average consumer feels the pinch, many opt to buy down, a trend assisted by many manufacturers turning to their assembly plants in India and Thailand to source better-value vehicles. One of these is Suzuki, which offers a number of vehicles sourced from India, including the S-Presso as well as this Celerio, the most wallet-friendly option on the used market among a fairly large stable from the Japanese manufacturer.

At the time of testing in 2015, the GL’s price was R124 900, which represented great value considering the inherent quality and standard specification on offer. After a few years on the used-car market, this model is now within our budget. The trick, like with any second-hand buy, is to find a cherished example with low mileage.

The main issue motorists may have with the Celerio is the low power output from the three-cylinder, 1,0-litre engine. Still, the thrummy three-pot is just strong enough for commuting, particularly near the coast, and fuel consumption promises to impress. We’d avoid the automatic-manual option, however, which shifts tardily.

The price of spare parts won’t break the bank which becomes more important with age. Just look at how inexpensive luxury cars become after a decade or so due to fear that repairs may cost more than your purchase.

Interior space is impressive with above-average leg- and headroom in the back. The boot space does suffer but in turn there is more interior room plus the option of collapsing the 60:40 backrest if required.

A soft ride with generous ground clearance of 165 mm allows you to tackle our poorer roads without trepidation but the steering lacks feel and has a high number of wheel turns (3,5). The two-year service plan will be over by now so budget for services every 15 000 km.

While some budget cars omit airbags and ABS braking, the Celerio comes with both features.

Size: 4/5 seats, 168/864 L
Safety: 2 airbags, ABS
Cost of four tyres: R3 560
Road test: February 2015 (1,0 GL)

By: Peter Palm and Jarryd Neves

Second hand cars for sale