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 automatic crossovers for under R225 000 each…
The current range of crossovers on sale today offer a dizzying array of technology and on-trend styling. But what second-hand alternatives are available out there?
Kia Soul 1,6
0-100 km/h: 12,04 seconds
Top speed: 182 km/h
Power: 91 kW
Torque: 152 N.m
CO2: 188 g/km
Fuel consumption: 9,50 L/100 km (fuel index)
An interestingly styled vehicle that stands out from the crowd of hatchbacks (and pseudo SUVs) is Korea’s Kia Soul. Introduced to us in 2009, this was a bold excursion into alternative niches. Box-shaped vehicles are usually unattractive. Think minibuses … only a few, such as the Chrysler Grand Voyager and the Kia (also Grand) Sedona have appealing shapes. But back to the Soul. Kia got it right in mixing interior space with an artistic shape and vertical rear end while managing to not appear van-like.
As with Minis, Fiat 500s and some Citroëns, appealing colour combinations – white with a red roof or a dark colour with a (much cooler) white roof – can be sourced. While only a 1,6-litre, you get 91 kW from a lively, rev-happy engine with peak power at 6 300 r/min. Transmissions are manual or automatic six-speeders. Boot size is acceptable at 248 litres, thanks to a higher-than-the-norm parcel shelf with utility space at 1 098 litres. Ground clearance is not that impressive at 150 mm, though. When we tested three automatic crossovers in 2016, the Soul was a clear winner.
Braking was consistently good but, unlike the Mazda CX-3, the fuel consumption was unremarkable with an index of 9,50 L/100 km. Our fuel route figure, using an automatic model, was slightly better at 8,90 L/100 km. If frugal fuel economy is important, there is a 1,6 CRDi with a fuel index of 6,30 L/100 km. One thing to bear in mind when buying a diesel is that these cars are often purchased for their low fuel consumption by owners who travel a lot. This shows up in the difference between mileages notched up by petrol derivatives versus diesel.
A four-year/90 000 km service plan was included so you could be buying a vehicle from an owner who can afford to trade in a car as its maintenance or service plan expires. Servicing should be straightforward with oil changes every 15 000 km. Few maintenance issues have been reported with these cars with even the complex diesels getting the reliability nod for a change.
Space: 4 seats, 248/1 096 dm3
Safety: 6 airbags, ABS, EBD
Cost of four tyres: R7 200
Road Test: September 2016
Mazda CX-3 2,0
0-100 km/h: 9,33 seconds
Top speed: 192 km/h
Power: 115 kW
Torque: 204 N.m
CO2: 146 g/km
Fuel consumption: 7,32 L/100 km (fuel index)
Introduced to South Africa in 2016, the CX-3 followed on the heels of the bigger and well-received CX-5. While the larger car was a bona fide SUV, this smaller rendition was dubbed a crossover. In reality, it’s somewhere between a hatchback and a crossover. This is because of the limited ground clearance of 160 mm, not much interior headroom and a surprisingly sporty bent. Its looks are not to everyone’s taste with a smiley grille and curves hidden inside other curves. However, since it’s the eye of the beholder that counts, we can leave criticism of the styling up to the individual.
The interior is taken largely from the Mazda2 and is rather sombre with a centrally mounted touchscreen tablet that briefly takes your eye away from the road to operate. Sporty instruments and a well-put-together cabin add to the ambience. A few more hints of hatchback roots are the small boot space of just 184 litres, notwithstanding the lack of a full-size spare wheel and the absence of roof rails, a common feature of crossovers that was adopted to bolster practicality and aid the SUV look. While the ride is supple, cornering is quick and the steering feel cannot be faulted.
The SkyActiv engine does impress with its fuel economy coupled with a good power output of 115 kW. An index of around 7,00 L/100 km is outstanding for a naturally aspirated 2,0 litre. It does lack low-down torque, however, and becomes strained at high revs. Most cars bought were automatic, a growing trend to reduce the hassles of traffic jams. Sport mode is fitted to this auto but it will not be used as the standard mode is sporty enough and higher engine speeds are unnecessary from the high compression motor that features variable camshaft timing. in true Mazda tradition, the mechanicals remain reliable while electrical and injector issues are too few to be concerned about.
A three-year/unlimited km service plan will have expired by now so remember the service intervals at every 15 000 km. As prices seem to vary considerably, take some time before making your choice.
Space: 5 seats, 184/776 dm3
Safety: 6 airbags, ABS, EBD
Cost of four tyres: R7 700
Road Test: February 2016