5 affordable used cars that won't drain your wallet at the pumps

11 November 2021 - 13:06
By Motoring Staff
With the price of fuel on the rise, more and more people are looking at buying affordable fuel-efficient used cars.
Image: panda3800 / 123rf With the price of fuel on the rise, more and more people are looking at buying affordable fuel-efficient used cars.

The fuel price in SA has been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons: petrol has risen by R1.21/l while diesel is up by R1.48/l — and expectations are rife that petrol could soon cost a whopping R20/l. There’s only one thing that motorists can do to counter these increases: buy fuel-efficient second-hand cars at excellent prices.

But which vehicles represent the very best deals?

Using AutoTrader’s most listed cars during the month of September 2021, these are the best all-round buys (in terms of fuel efficiency and price point) when it comes to multipurpose vehicles (MPVs), hatches, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and sedans.

They are listed based on their fuel consumption (starting with the very best) and include the average list price, mileage and registration year:

The Suzuki S-Presso
Image: Waldo Swiegers The Suzuki S-Presso

1. Suzuki S-Presso 1.0 GL+: 4.9l/100km

It would be impossible to compile a list of fuel-efficient vehicles with great price tags without including this diminutive crossover. For R147,185, you can get a 2021 model with 2,821km on the clock. If that’s not enough to make you smile just wait until you see the teeny fuel bill.

The Volkswagen Polo 1.0TSI.
Image: Supplied The Volkswagen Polo 1.0TSI.

2. Volkswagen Polo Hatch 1.0TSI Trendline: 5.4l/100km

The global downsizing trend has seen automakers shun thirsty multi-cylinder motors of old in favour of smaller two-, three- and four-cylinder engines. Boosted by turbochargers they offer similar outputs but — depending on how you drive them of course — better fuel consumption and less CO2 emissions. This Polo Hatch is a good example of the breed with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that has more than enough muscle on tap while remaining economical and reliable too. Expect to pay around R250,140 for this hatch (average mileage of 26,033km; average year of registration of 2020).

The Renault Triber.
Image: Supplied The Renault Triber.

3. Renault Triber 1.0 Prestige: 5.5l/100km

Seating up to seven people, this MPV ticks all the right value boxes for cost-conscious families buying on a budget. A 2021 model will cost a smidgen over R200,000 and you should be able to find one with a low mileage (around 6,270km). 

The Volkswagen Polo Vivo 1.4 Trendline.
Image: Supplied The Volkswagen Polo Vivo 1.4 Trendline.

4. Volkswagen Polo Vivo Hatch 1.4 Trendline: 5.7l/100km

At an average price of R189,909 for a 2019 model with a mere 32,553km on average on the clock, the Vivo 1.4 offers irresistibly good value. Cheap on fuel and not expensive to service or maintain, you can also bank on solid residuals when it comes time to sell. 

The Toyota Etios.
Image: Supplied The Toyota Etios.

5. Toyota Etios Sedan 1.5 Xs: 6.0l/100km

This is a super practical sedan with a large boot and the promise of bulletproof Toyota reliability. R142,488 should bag you a 2017 model with an average mileage of 77,531km.