Used budget babies fight it out
Yes, it’s that time of the year again and we’re flat out choosing this, that and the next Car of the Year for 2020 and one of those duties is to vote on Gumtree’s Pre-Owned Car Awards. Considering three used cars sell for every new car to drive off the showroom floor and that there is not much out there in terms of pre-owned car media, the Gumtree awards are quite unique and significant among a literal oversupply of new car info.
The five finalists in each if the 12 Gumtree Pre-Owned Awards categories are the five two-year old cars in that class that best retained their new value and which of them the Jury rates best in each class, will be revealed on 24 October. In the weeks until then however, Auto Bakkie Race will individually investigate and compare the five finalists in each class in a series of comparative features, where we will also choose our own class favourites.
So, let’s see how close – or how far we are versus the full Jury’s decision come end October! Auto Bakkie Race editor Michele Lupini has been a Gumtree Pre-Owned Car Awards Juror from the outset and he’s already evaluated this year’s finalists and submitted his dossier to the auditors ahead of final scoring and the October announcement of the twelve category winners.
60 Finalists, 12 Classes
Mostly 2017 models, the 60 Gumtree Pre-Owned Car Awards Finalists are already all winners in their own right, as based on Unitrans pre-owned car sales data. So the five finalists in each class are the cars that best retain their new value among all category rivals. So, every car listed here has earned its place in the sun – if it’s not here, the car loses value faster than any of these rivals.
Let's start at the bottom end of the used car market with these five Budget City Cars that cost under R140K and work up from there, so keep an eye as we roll each category out every second or third day for the next few weeks. We will include links on each page as we go to enable you to easily navigate through each category evaluation as we load them.
So, in alphabetical order, the Kia Picanto, Renault Kwid, Toyota Aygo, Toyota Etios and Volkswagen Take Up! are the cars that best maintain their value among all entry level used budget city cars in South Africa. But that’s a moot point – value retention is great of you are selling, while used buyers may be happier to opt for faster depreciating rivals that today offer more, for less.
However, before we take a look at what these cars represent insofar as pre-owned bargains go, let’s first look back at what we said about them new a year or two back…
Kia Picanto – Entry Special
Entry-level cars are crucial. More of these will sell more than most others on the range, simply because more people can afford them. So, carmakers often choose a bang for buck approach to deliver the most car for least money.
That works – some of the bargain-basement automobilia flying off South African shelves is, well, quite astounding. Among them are a generation or two behind the game, others are of dubious origin and in certain cases, we can happily buy cars that even the FIA warns consumers against driving, because you put your life at risk every time you drive them.
So, there’s plenty cheap out there, but how much of it is worth the risk? Seems the Kia Picanto is one of those cheapies that was actually developed in the 21st century for the 21st century. Picanto has always been pretty good and now it’s even better – there’s a lot of car in it and it rides well too, even though it offers a pretty sound bargain off a rather wide range.
Renault Kwid – Don’t Laugh
It is easy to snigger at the Renault Kwid Dynamique. Bargain basement, to be kind, it is also the cheapest car on the SA market and for those to whom that makes a huge difference, who cares?
Kwid also has other advantages – it’s frugal and it gets on with it pretty well – don’t worry, you won’t hold up the traffic. It’s also surprisingly spacious, has a most impressive boot for this neck of the woods and packs a few luxury items like power windows and a pretty cool little infotainment screen too.
Never mind that it’s pretty cute and its modern looks help hide its bargain basement auto cred, but at the price, you won’t do much better than this for a new car.
Toyota Aygo – Zooting ‘n Scooting
The perfect car for student zooting and scooting, the robust and mean looking Toyota Aygo certainly has the X-Factor. But does it bring the game on the inside and under the bonnet?
The interior is ship-shape with a leather-trimmed steering wheel, touchscreen infotainment and auxiliary, USB and Bluetooth connections; there’s remote central locking and a 12-Volt power socket. Add confidence-inspiring Vehicle Stability Control for those winding roads and Hill Assist Control for farm-land adventures.
Perfect for gallivanting with an impressive sound system crooning, Aygo will make you proud of your fuel efficiency and while its 1-litre naturally-aspirated 3-cylinder petrol engine takes a little winding up, it’s a pleasure to drive in town or country.
Toyota Etios – More Than a Banger
On the face of it, the Toyota Etios is a bit of a banger. But hold on a second – there’s far more to it than that. Yes, it is old school and its Indian origins have earned it a bit of flak, but in typical Toyota style, you need to look past those frumpy looks to figure its advantages.
First and foremost, at the price, you’d expect to be faced by a cramped little three-pot tiddler, but not only is Etios cavernous by comparison, it is also more powerful with a half-litre more capacity and an extra cylinder for extra pulling power, it is strong – especially at power-sapping Reef altitudes.
And then it’s a Toyota, so it has all the backing in the world, will probably keep its value better than most and will deliver seamless service for decades anon. Come to think of it, remove those perceptions and you end up with a lot more car, rather than less…
Volkswagen Take up! – Taken Up!
Here’s an interesting little car that we found delivered pretty well. OK, it’s slow – our tester was almost a second off its already tardy claim, but it gets along just fine.
Take up! is frugal though – we ran close to its impressive claims, but there’s more to this big little car than just a quite cheap little Beetle remake that certainly looks the part. It’s adequately spacious and quite well equipped.
Its conventional headlamps among the best reflective lights we’ve driven with, it’s agile and zippy around town. And it makes a neat statement too – modern, fresh and chic, we really enjoyed Take up!
Stop the clocks!
Of course, how they perform relative to each other is also vital and while there there’s a certain pecking order that changes dramatically depending on how you are looking at each of these little bargains.
Remember what we said about Etios being a lot more car in different ways? Well, its performance certainly sets it apart. Significantly faster in every respect than its tiny litre 3-pot price rivals, the torquey four-cylinder Toyota is the drag strip champion. But Etios is also the heaviest on fuel by some margin, so it’s a case of swings and roundabouts, while the rest are quite closely matched in overall output and performance.
There are a few surprises when it comes to practicality – like the Kwid that has the biggest boot, never mind a snazzy little infotainment system that only Aygo, also the most frugal of these tiddlers, can match. In fact, the Aygo is mighty impressive all round, except for performance and it’s out of service plan and warranty parts basket, where it comes close to matching the VW in being notably dear to maintain.
That was new, this is used
So, how do these cars shape up two years down the line? Well there’s another dark horse when it comes to value retention, as the Picanto all of a sudden comes to the fore, so it you want your car to best keep its value, the Kia is the winner. But that’s no good for used car bargain hunters, who may prefer the up!’s greater depreciation, never mind a few cars off this list that could well offer secret bargains...
So, how do we rate the entry level as used car bargains? Well, somehow, we like the edgy little Toyota Aygo best and that came out in our scoring too. The Kia proved a surprise, helped by its best value retention, but all five were pretty close in the end.
That of course is only our own opinion and there are a good few subjective aspects that may considerably alter the landscape when the opinions of the broader palette of the full Jury are tallied up. That final verdict is the result that counts, and we will know which of these fine little cars is Gumtree’s under R140K hatchback come Thursday evening 24 October… - Michele Lupini
HAVE YOUR SAY - WIN A CAR!
Gumtree is offering South African motorists the opportunity to win a car by simply placing their vote for the People’s Choice Award. To vote simply go to click here
and follow the prompts.
Gumtree Pre Owned Awards Program & Links
Budget City Cars
Medium Luxury Saloons
Double Cab Bakkies
Auto Bakkie Race has revised its Road Test Rating System to deliver a more versatile 1-10 score. Over the past few years, very few cars tested ever achieve less than 75% in our previous scoring system and hardly any more than 95%. The new ABR Rating works in a 1 to 10 basis, where 1 represents a traditional score of 75% or less and 10 is 95% or more.
Auto Bakkie Race road tests all cars using state of the art Racelogic VBox test equipment, both at coastal altitude or at the Reef. All cars are tested starting at the same point on the same test road in all tests. Reef tests are differentiated by (1500m ASL). Where we have tested both sides, both sets of figures are published. Coastal acceleration data most often delivers quicker results due to the higher oxygen content of air at lower altitudes.