BUDGET BUYS

These are SA’s 10 most affordable SUVs

Looking for a subcompact crossover on a budget? Here’s the bang you get for your buck

30 August 2021 - 16:19 By denis droppa
Mahindra KUV 100 Nxt.
Mahindra KUV 100 Nxt.
Image: Supplied

They’re small, stylish and practical, and they’re taking the market by storm. Subcompact SUVS, otherwise known as crossovers, have boomed in popularity due to their combination of eye-catching styling, keen pricing, frugal running costs and that all-important elevated ground clearance for mounting kerbs.

Here’s a look at the 10 most affordable subcompact SUVs in SA:

Mahindra KUV 100 Nxt 1.2 G80 K2+ — R158,999

The name is a mouthful but the price isn’t, and the India-built vehicle is the country’s most affordable crossover.

The G80 K2+ is the entry-level model but comes with essentials like dual airbags, ABS brakes, power steering and aircon.

There are better-equipped derivatives in the range and the flagship K8 version, with items like park distance control and Bluetooth, is priced at a still-attractive R224,999.

The KUV 100 Nxt isn’t the most refined car, however, with a vocal engine and significant wind noise. Its 61kW/115Nm 1.2 three-cylinder petrol car is capable of cruising at 120km/h but the car is happiest in city driving.

Warranty: Three years/100,000km

Service plan: Optional

Renault Kwid Climber.
Renault Kwid Climber.
Image: Supplied

Renault Kwid 1.0 Climber — R183,900

The bright and trendy styling is targeted at young first-time buyers, who will also enjoy its touchscreen infotainment, navigation, rear parking camera and remote central locking.

Dual airbags and ABS are part of the deal but the Kwid’s poor structural integrity saw it scoring only a one-star crash safety rating.

There’s more style than substance here. The 50kW/91Nm 1.0l three-cylinder engine is quite rough and won’t get you anywhere in a hurry, while the ride quality suffers on rough surfaces.

Warranty: Five years/150,000km

Service plan: No

Suzuki Ignis.
Suzuki Ignis.
Image: Supplied

Suzuki Ignis 1.2 GL — R198,900

The small but endearing Ignis has gleaned a number of awards and it was recently facelifted with a new grille and restyled bumpers.

It’s a pleasant little car with better-than-usual refinement in the budget class.

The entry-level GL comes standard with electric windows, aircon, central locking and a sound system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, while a dual-tone dashboard gives the interior some styling panache.

A 61kW/113Nm 1.2l engine provides decent commuting pace in the urban playground it’s designed for.

Warranty: Five years/200,000km

Service plan: Two years/30,000km

Suzuki Vitara Brezza.
Suzuki Vitara Brezza.
Image: Denis Droppa

Suzuki Vitara Brezza 1.5 GL — R244,900

Positioned between the smaller Ignis and larger Vitara in Suzuki’s range, the Vitara Brezza offers good value with its roomy cabin and extensive features list. The entry-level 1.5 GL comes standard with climate control, a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, reversing camera, and keyless entry.

At 198mm this Suzuki has one of the highest ride heights in the segment, for owners keen on more gravel exploration.

It has a four-star crash rating and comes with ABS brakes, dual front airbags and Isofix mountings for child seats.

It’s an appealing package all round and the 77kW/138Nm 1.5l petrol engine is punchy enough to escape the city limits.

Warranty: Five years/200,000km

Service plan: Four years/60,000km

Ford Figo Freestyle.
Ford Figo Freestyle.
Image: Supplied

Ford Figo Freestyle 1.5 Trend — R251,600

Based on the budget Figo hatchback, the Freestyle is raised to 190mm off the ground and is decked out with SUV-style design cues like roof rails, black wheel arch mouldings and plastic skidplates.

It’s one of the most powerful crossovers in the segment with the 1.5l petrol engine sending 91kW and 150Nm to the front wheels.

The entry-level Trend model is well stacked with conveniences including electric windows, remote central locking, reverse parking sensors and a Device Dock that incorporates Bluetooth, USB and Aux connectivity and a receptacle to hold a smartphone. Safety comprises dual front airbags and ABS brakes.

Warranty: Four years/120,000km

Service plan: Four years/60,000km

Mahindra XUV 300.
Mahindra XUV 300.
Image: Supplied

Mahindra XUV300 1.5TD W4 — R254,999

The XUV300 takes Mahindra’s quality a notch upwards while the price remains competitive.

The cabin has a neat and modern vibe, and standard fare includes a multifunction steering wheel, navigation and Bluetooth connectivity. ABS brakes and dual airbags comprise the safety and the XUV 300 impressively achieved a maximum five stars in the Global NCAP crash test.

The 86kW/300Nm 1.5 turbo diesel engine is one of the punchiest and most frugal performers in the segment. The 180mm ground clearance provides a “command” view of the road and the ability to tackle rough gravel.

The car’s also available in 81kW/200Nm 1.2 turbo petrol guises starting at R261,999.

Warranty: Five years/150,000km

Service plan: Optional

Toyota Urban Cruiser.
Toyota Urban Cruiser.
Image: Supplied

Toyota Urban Cruiser 1.5 Xi — R255,300

The Urban Cruiser is a rebadged Suzuki Vitara Brezza in a partnership that sees rebranded India-built Suzukis selling as Toyotas in certain markets.

It’s essentially identical to the Suzuki but the Urban Cruiser costs slightly more due to being equipped with the Toyota Connect telematics system with an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot and complimentary 15Gb data.

The choice comes down to brand loyalty and aftersales support: Toyota has a larger dealer footprint and Suzuki the better warranty and service plan.

Warranty: Three years/100,000km

Service plan: Three services/45,000km

Nissan Magnite.
Nissan Magnite.
Image: Supplied

Nissan Magnite 1.0 Turbo Acenta — R256,999

The Magnite is right on point with snappy styling and the latest technology and connectivity. It’s very well equipped, and the baseline Acenta grade comes with push-button starting, multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, automatic air conditioning, reverse camera, a digital instrument panel and touchscreen infotainment.

At 205mm the Magnite has the highest ground clearance in the league, providing the elevated seated position so craved by SUV buyers.

Impressive safety (it has a four-star crash rating) includes stability control and tyre pressure monitoring in addition to ABS brakes and dual airbags.

The 74kW/160Nm  1.0l turbo petrol engine is reasonably perky too.

Warranty: Six years/150,000km

Service plan: Three years/30,000km

Kia Sonet.
Kia Sonet.
Image: Supplied

Kia Sonet 1.5 LX — R269,995

Pronounced “Sonnet”, Kia’s new India-built crossover should appeal to first-time buyers and empty-nesters with its slick styling, generous list of features, and one of the segment’s best warranties.

Touchscreen infotainment and a digital instrument panel add to the modern appeal, as does a full-connectivity infotainment system incorporating a reversing camera, and front and rear USB ports.

The 392l boot (containing a full-size spare wheel) is one of the largest in the segment and the Sonet perches 190mm off the road.

It has stability control, dual airbags and ABS in its safety repertoire.

Warranty: Five years/unlimited distance

Service plan: Four years/60,000km

Honda WR-V.
Honda WR-V.
Image: Supplied

Honda WR-V 1.2 Comfort — R289,900

This Jazz-based crossover has a 173mm ground clearance and an SUV-style body makeover, and for a small car the WR-V is impressively spacious.

Along with ABS brakes it has six airbags — the most in its price segment.

The basic Comfort version has features like remote central locking, automatic air con, electric windows and mirrors, rear parking sensors, and a basic audio system with Bluetooth, but you’ll have to buy the more expensive Elegance (R327,300) to get a modern touchscreen system.

With outputs of 66kW and 110Nm the WR-V is outgunned by its price rivals and it’s also the only segment car without towing capability, though it partially makes up for this with its Magic Seat folding system with numerous cargo-swallowing configurations.

Warranty: Five years/200,000km

Service plan: Four years/60,000km

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